Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Humbert Humbert. Now More Than Ever

It has been years since I last re-read Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in its entirety. It became a task, and a difficult one, after my first daughter was born. But sometimes there are good reasons to undertake difficult reading, and here D.G. Meyers presents the most compelling argument on behalf of Nabokov and Lolita I've encountered to date.

I came to it via OGIC, who links to DGM's "Meet Humbert Polanski".


paul bowman said...

I've avoided the clamour — both sides — around Polanski's arrest. High profile crime-&-justice has been pretty distasteful to me since O.J. For me, this case is especially distasteful because of Polanski's unusual history, the exceptional heights & depths of his life apart from his crime — above all, that he's himself one of the victims of one of the most horrifying crimes in history. There's too much to his story. I don't really want to think about it.

That said, I'm grateful to see that there are some clear heads (not just right-wing screamers) out there saying unequivocally that there's no statute of limitations here, that rape for God's sake is rape, that the belated loss of Polanski to the art world — great a loss as it is — is nothing beside the failure of justice on behalf of children, in particular female children, that his ultimate escape means.

I can't get over the way Polanski's celebrity & Euro-left defenders seem to have walked right into acting the stereotypical part the right expects of them in the reductive terms of culture-warfare. Are the simple-minded versions of our post-1950s social history really so close to the truth?

Whisky Prajer said...

wasn't keen on entering the fray, either, but following it (somewhat) introduced me to Myers' larger piece on Lolita, which I found a great deal more thought-provoking and personally challenging than either side of the Polanski debate.

But since you now touch on the issue I artlessly tried to dodge, my response to the Polanski controversy is in line with (and about as articulate as) Kevin Smith's.