- Year Published: 1955.
- Pages: 317.
Lolita Summary of Chapters
Without a doubt, we could find out somebody, who didn`t read Lolita novel, written by Vladimir Nabokov, but the majority of literature connoisseurs did it. The novel belongs to the list of the best 100 English novels of the XXth century, though, at first, it was published in France.
The most powerful feature of this novel is its belle –lettres style of language. The author of it, originally Russian, got a brilliant Oxford education. He didn`t want to be just a storyteller, all his life long he aspired to be a world known writer with a unique style, impressive literary language, and original usage of different stylistic devices. As a top notch literature magician, he coined his author metaphors, double entendres, cross-cultural puns, irony figures, anagrams, innuendoes, aposiopesis, and paradoxes. That`s why, while reading V. Nabokov, I caught myself on a thought, that I paid much more attention to his highly unique language, to the brilliance of his inner world, and just after that I tried not to loose the thread of his plot events. How did he manage to do it, nobody knows, because still now, nobody could write in such a-la-Nabokov style. I guess, that in all his chef-d’œuvre works he fused the stylistics of English, French and Russian literature, which he loved the most.
As for the plot of Lolita novel, it is also nonstandard and just balances on the verge of human morale. A middle-aged man Humbert falls in love with a 12-year-old girl, called Dolores, later nicknamed by him as Lolita. It is not surprising that at first, all American and British publishing houses refused to print it in the 1950s. Paris made an exception and did it in 1955.
Lolita Part I. Chapters 1-10.
Humbert starts telling his life story and calls Lolita a precursor, and himself he calls as a murderer. According to his story, he was born in Paris in 1910 and had a mixed European background. He remembers Annabel, one of his cousins, who was just only several months younger, and with whom they had a completely mad love summer. Just several months later his girlfriend died of typhus. Twenty-four years passed, nevertheless, he was still under her spells. As a college student, Humbert spent a lot of time with prostitutes and came to the conclusion that the best girls for him are the so-called nymphets, from 9 till 14 years old, cause they have a fantastic power. He started dating a nymphet prostitute Monique, but she turned into a woman rather quickly. Soon he married some Polish doctor`s daughter but was deeply disappointed. Four years later, his Polish wife, Valeria, started relationships with some Russian Taxi driver. Humbert vowed to kill Valeria but failed to do it. Later he immigrated to the USA, where he got two nervous breakdowns while working in some Arctic exhibition. After the mental hospital, he went to a small New England town, where he met Charlotte and her daughter Lolita.
Humbert agrees to stay in the house of Charlotte and to start tutoring her in the fall. Once, staying with Lolita alone, he puts her on his lap and starts singing happy songs. Charlotte Haze prevents Humbert from being close to Lolita, she even sends a letter, in which he threatens Humbert to leave her. Humbert decides to marry Charlotte. They often went to Hourglass Lake in summer. There Humbert realizes that he wants desperately to kill her. Nevertheless, he fails to do it.
Charlotte suspects Humbert that he covers something in his locked drawers. Humbert says that these were his old love letters. She does not believe in it and after opening them, she takes a diary, revealing the deep feeling of Humbert towards her daughter. In a shock, she runs away from her house and gets right under the wheels of some speedy moving car. After the death of Charlotte, Humbert does not tell the truth to Lolita, he takes her from a camp, buys her a lot of dresses, and just only in his car reveals the truth, planning to check in a hotel room for him and Lolita. Humbert tells the jury that he regrets what he had done, and Lolita was completely different from Anabel. The whole night Humbert looks at Lolita, not trying to touch her, but at 6.15 she seduces him, for her, it is like a game with her Charlie boy. After that night, Humbert paints lake murals in the hall of The Enchanted Hunter Hotel. Humbert buys a lot of things for Lolita, and at night she comes to his room once again.
Lolita Part 2. Chapters 1-10.
Lolita and Humbert start traveling across the USA. They travel from New England states to the Dixie States, from there to the Western Coast, and after that to their Beardsley. Humbert describes the trip through the eyes of a European traveler, Lolita, at this time, suffers from heavy consumerism. Humbert tries to accustom his nymphet to various sports activities. At first, she goes to a roller-skating rink, then to a swimming pool, after that to a tennis court. Wherever they were, Humbert felt the subliminal bursts of jealousy. Lolita behaves indifferently to the attention of Humbert and weeps any time when he makes an impression that he is asleep. Humbert comes to a decision that it is time to come back to Beardsley and to behave as a good father. Humbert and Lolita move to a house, which resembles the house of Haze. Lolita goes to a Beardsley school for girls. Humbert trains in his smart word playing puns and idioms, trying not to attract the attention of new neighbors. Humbert befriends with Gaston Godin, a teacher of the French language, and plays chess with him from time to time. As it is found out, Godin pays more attention to the school boys that to their peer girls. Lolita gets more and more gifts from Humbert, and her allowance increases several times. Humbert behaves as a well-respected professor and a loving father, and at the same time, he is afraid that she would run away from him.
In winter, the headmistress of the school, complains Humbert that Lolita pays no attention to the surrounding her boys, she asks Humbert to convince her to socialize more. Humbert buys her a bicycle, some American painting book, and permits Lolita to take part in a school play “The Hunted enchanters”. Humbert and Lolita look through the plot of this play. They realize that the title of the play is the same as the name of the hotel, where they stayed together. Lolita should perform the role of a farmer`s daughter who enchanted 6 hunters, and the seventh one is convinced that all of them are just the result of their imagination. Lolita takes some piano lessons, but several times she intentionally missed them. As Humbert finds out, she walked with one of the boys, who played in The Enchanted hunters. His name was Mona. Humbert takes Lolita and goes away from Beardsley town. While going to the West, Humbert suspects Lolita a lot, he notices some red convertible, moving after them, and even buys a .32 caliber gun. Humbert finds out a letter from Mona in the hands of Lolita and gets nervous. Later, he understands that the red convertible was not a miracle. It`s driver Trapp started chasing him and changing cars to mislead everybody.
Humbert decides that Trapp was just a hallucination. Nevertheless, Lolita disappears all half crazy efforts of Humbert are just in vain. Three years passes but Humbert still misses Lolita. Humbert befriends with Rita, a divorced woman of his age, and starts seeking Lolita once again. Suddenly, he gets a letter from her. As it turns out, Lolita married a man, called Dick Schiller, and is going to have a baby. At first, Humbert wants to kill Dick, but later, after seeing this sincere guy, he changes his plans, he gives Lolita $4000 and starts seeking Claire Quilty, the real kidnapper, who proposed Lolita to be shot in his porn films. In the end, Humbert finds out Quilty`s house, after a long surrealistic fight, with piano playing and poem reading, Humbert kills this man, dressed in a purple bath gown. Finally, Humbert is arrested, at first, for wrong driving, and, later, for the murder of Quilty. After an impressive speech about the immortality of art, Humbert is taken to the prison, where he dies right after finishing his memoirs. Lolita dies after Christmas while giving life to her baby.
Surely, on the one hand, you could rely on various critics, but the best option for you is just to take Lolita novel and to read it from the first page till the last, and not to forget to share your own vision of this controversial world literature masterpiece.