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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Even Homais Nods

Even Homais Nods

Nabokov’s Fallibility; Or, How to Revise Lolita

(p.297) 22. Even Homais Nods
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes what literary critics say is an inconsistency in the internal dating of Lolita. On the last page of the novel, Humbert says that he started work on his manuscript in captivity fifty-six days ago. In John Ray Jr.'s foreword, we discover that Humbert dies on November 16, 1952. Counting back fifty-six days from there, we reach September 22, the day Humbert receives the letter from Lolita. But since he is not in prison on that date, since over the next few days he drives first to Lolita in Coalmont, then to Ivor Quilty in Ramsdale, and finally to Clare Quilty at Pavor Manor, he has no time for these visits and composing the text we are reading. This chapter argues that Vladimir Nabokov could indeed make mistakes by citing some examples of his fallibility, especially in dating, and goes on to show how little is required to eliminate the revisionist interpretation of Lolita and how plainly it contradicts itself and the rest of the text.

Keywords:   dating, Lolita, novel, Vladimir Nabokov, mistakes, fallibility, revision

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