Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lolita discussion: book version

Vladimir Nabokov and his wife, Véra, 1966
Picture source

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

(The opening lines of Lolita)

A note on the version I’m reading. I received The Annotated Lolita: Revised and Updatedfor Christmas (although don't be surprised by the looks you get in public when reading it). The book is an elaborate game between Nabokov and the reader, so knowing too much about the book in advance may spoil some of the fun of discovering and uncovering what is going on behind the text. If you’re the type that would lose some pleasure from having too much revealed in advance, you might want to use a different version of the book. Even if you skip the introduction, the notes may reveal too much. In addition, don’t read any of my discussion posts until you've read the book—I never announce “spoiler ahead” since I’m discussing my thoughts about a work...I figure it goes without saying.

If you plan only one reading of the book and want to “get” as much as possible, then this version is definitely for you. Whichever version you choose, I also highly recommend the audio book as read by Jeremy Irons. A true delight. His reading helps reveal things not always apparent on the page. Irons masterfully voices the playful text to the max. It’s a little pricey (well, to me), but hopefully your library carries it. Again, very highly recommended.

And with that out of the way, I’ll actually get to the work as soon as the new job allows…

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