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Old 08-02-2002, 09:39 AM   #16
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Haha Shriek, thankyou, I think we all do that sometimes. If it helps any though, of the 3 or so posts I have read from you, they have been wonderfully concise. Including the 2 in this thread so far.

Fors, you got me puzzled again. You mention artists and the 2 trains of thought on adolescent sexuality and Lolita. I'm not sure if the artists you mention link directly back to the second train of thought where Lolita becomes a symbol of female sexuality. On a side note, just quickly, how old is Lolita at the end? I am wondering how a teenager is all their naivety and youth can symbolise such a developed ideal? I dont think this is clear. I guess what I mean is, how can one which is fact, become another which is fantasy? An adolescent female is generally not a symbol of such a thing. I would think that it is the potential for what they can become which is easily eroticised. In your usual romantic sense, a teen is filled with awakening, potential to be the ultimate sex bomb so to speak. There is little knowledge with most teens, this is the time where the fantasy takes over and it is the possibility of unbridled animal instinct coming to the fore...I really suspect this isn't making any sense and sounds like Mills and Boon trash so I'll leave it and hope you can elaborate further lol.

If Humbert were a woman? And Lolita still being a young girl, same thing. A young boy, again, same. You have the adult with age, experience and wisdom and a young naive adolescent.

What if it was not fiction and Lolita was your sister or daughter? Would you accept it as love from Humbert? If this happens in reality we are quick to decide its moral faults. With art, we are freer to explore the idea more. But I still have trouble with the idea that it could very well be an acceptable relationship between the 2.
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Old 08-02-2002, 09:43 AM   #17
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Hey, just found this excerpt from an interview with Stephen Schiff who wrote the screenplay for Lyne's film version. Excerpt:

In Camille Paglia's essay, "Lolita Unclothed," the author Anne Rice is quoted, "...Lolita has become today ...the image of the seductive young girl who is every man's dream of sensuality..." . Lolita the myth, the mirage created by Humbert from his childhood and his reading list has not popularly been differentiated from Dolores the girl, perhaps because, as you say it takes several readings to understand that there is a difference. The Kubrick film captured the invented (in part by Humbert, in part by Dolores Haze herself ) Lolita's charm and ravishing enchantment but very little of the real girl Dolores Haze. From your description, the new film will portray much more of the everyday but will it still attempt to convey the magic?

I don't know in what context Anne Rice made her comment, but if Lolita is viewed simply as an enchanting young seductress, then I think Nabokov's point is lost. It is true that when the seduction finally takes place, she instigates it, but Lolita isn't Blame It on Rio--this isn't the story of a naughty young thing and the walking midlife crisis she seduces. Nabokov's Humbert identifies Lolita as one of a small and distinct class--the class of nymphets--and I don't think the properties of that class are quite so coarse and obvious. Lolita is bewitching, but not always by intention; sometimes what bewitches Humbert about her is her very childishness, for it is that quality rather than any sexual precocity, that identifies her as something other than mere woman. Of course, our Lolita has magic, but it is not the rather porny allure that Sue Lyon had in the Kubrick film. Dominique Swain, the remarkable young girl who plays Lolita, lives very much along the line between childhood and womanhood that Lolita lives along, and she slips back onto the childish side at least as often as she surprises us by her womanliness. The magic I tried to give her in the screenplay is the magic of a very vital, very alive young girl, and I do think the audience will have no trouble perceiving it.

Edit: Angie, if I'm not wrong, Lolita is 16/17 at the end when she is pregnant. You're right, Hum's 'paedophilia' is more forgivable because it is art. I really have to go back to work now, I'd love to reply a much much longer one soon,

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Old 08-04-2002, 01:39 AM   #18
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boondocks,

1. Re: the two trains of thought I mentioned. Jock Sturges belongs to the first group that sees Lolita as an erotic figure purely for male desires; Kilimnik and Ackermann belong to the second who celebrate Lolita's body and beauty. Basically, for the latter group, women have tried to 'claim back' the Lolita icon so that she is not a vulnerable or subservient figure but a strong one.

2. From what I understand, a nymphet is a very young girl who is unusually aware of her sexual powers.

3. Re: how can such a young girl represent female sexuality? My take is that the feminists mentioned in (1) want a female icon who encompasses naivete and innocence as well as being a powerful (especially an unwittingly powerful) temptress. If we consider sexual icons like Madonna and Courtney Love, we think of, excuse my choice of words, soiled (morally corrupted?) women. Lolita is different because she still maintains some girlish innocence and her sexual escapades are more about seeking adventure and discovering herself. That's what I gather from it all.

4. Re: was it rape? I'm sure you know about this incident years ago of a female teacher (Mary... her name escapes me) who gave birth to her 13-yr-old student's baby. When you first heard about that, did your gut tell you it was rape, or did you have to consider the reversal of gender (i.e if she was a man, it would've been called rape in a heartbeat) before you decided it was rape? Just wondering.

I love this Stephen Schiff quote from that interview, "Part of Humbert's tragedy--and a large part of his comedy--is that his enormous intelligence is always defeated by his obsession. He can't get outside that obsession to see who Lolita is, to see that she is actually a fairly ordinary little girl, more charming than some and probably more sexually precocious, but still a child."

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Old 08-08-2002, 03:07 AM   #19
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I dont know if you agree or disagree with that perspective on the female body and such fors, I just think its a little misplaced I guess.

With your other question regarding the teacher Mary whatsername, I can honestly say though that my 1st gut reaction to that was the same. I would classify it as a form of rape the same way I would a gender reversal. Its a good example though, the similarities are definately there.
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