“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
On August 18, in 1958, Vladimir Nabokov’s extremely controversial novel, “Lolita” was published. It told of a man’s obsession with a precocious 12-year-old girl, which later turns into a sexual relationship. Nabokov had actually finished writing in 1953, but unsurprisingly was turned down by four publishers before G.P. Putnam’s Sons accepted the manuscript. The four who rejected Nabokov would have been kicking themselves for it later, as they grossly underestimated the public’s love of a racy little tale. The book reached bestseller status and soon became so successful that it even allowed Nabokov to retire from his job as a professor.
So, what exactly were people saying about “Lolita” back then?
“The filthiest book I have ever read […] sheer, unrestrained pornography.”
– Editor, Sunday Express (London)
”I like it less than anything of yours I have read. [The writing is] terribly sloppy all the way through.”
– Mary McCarthy, American author & political activist
”Repulsive, […] unreal […] too unpleasant to be funny,”
– Edmund Wilson, Literary critic and writer
Over time, strangely enough, this very novel has come to be regarded as one of the classics of modern literature. Since its publication all those decades ago, it has garnered copious amounts of praise and has been adapted for film in a few different versions. What do you think about this book? Filthy smut? Or literature classic? Comment below!
For more on Nabokov, have a look at his Infloox page
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