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The Annotated Lolita: Revised and Updated Paperback – April 23, 1991
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The character Lolita's power now exists almost separately from the endlessly inventive novel. If only it were read as often as it is alluded to. Alfred Appel Jr., editor of the annotated edition, has appended some 900 notes, an exhaustive, good-humored introduction, and a recent preface in which he admits that the "reader familiar with Lolita can approach the apparatus as a separate unit, but the perspicacious student who keeps turning back and forth from text to Notes risks vertigo." No matter. The notes range from translations to the anatomical to the complex textual. Appel is also happy to point out the Great Punster's supposedly unintended word play: he defends the phrase "Beaver Eaters" as "a portmanteau of 'Beefeaters' (the yeoman of the British royal guard) and their beaver hats."
"Fascinatingly detailed."--Edmund Morris, The New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
As the name implies, "The Annotated Lolita" is superbly annotated, translating foreign phrases, explaining literary references, and pointing out connections between characters in different parts of the story. Unfortunately, this has the effect of sacrificing some of the surprise in the surface story, not to mention giving you neck pain from constantly flipping back and forth while you read.
But if you don't mind taking the time, you can get the best of both worlds from this edition. You begin by reading the text of the novel straight through one time without reference to either the introduction or the annotations. Having done that, you next read the introduction (which is excellent in its own right, but which really does depend on you already having read the story) and finally, skim the text again, checking out each annotation as you go. It will take more time, but you'll get to enjoy the surface story without distractions and you'll have the pleasure of watching all the mysteries clear up on the second pass.
Lolita is everything a great novel should be, challenging us intellectually, disturbing us emotionally, leading us to fascination and revulsion, making us question our values and our preconceptions while compelling us to turn the pages. A close and sober reading leaves one feeling a kind of tristesse, as the French say, that cannot be easily dismissed. On the one hand, the conception and development of the novel is brilliant. The language is Joycean, the ironies delicious, the plot twists delightful, the theme compelling, the characters indelible, the milieu veracious.
On the other hand, the "unreliable narrator"--I never liked that term: he's reliable; he just isn't admirable--who is the novel's central character, Humbert Humbert, the Old World dirty middle-aged man taking sexual advantage of a child whom he has trapped, is without doubt a vile creature. And yet--and this is part of the genius of the novel--one cannot help but identify with his tainted love, his hopeless, doomed passion. And indeed one even identifies with the task he has perversely inherited, that of looking after a teenaged girl and keeping her out of harm's way, a formidable task with which almost any parent can identify.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
its a weird story but its aight. had to read for class. listened to an audiobook and followed along in the book.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent purchase, I'm very satisfied. Came waaayyyy early, which was nice. The book was exactly as described, maybe even in a little better condition than anticipated. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Anon
Nabokov's sexual style of writing is just so... Ugh! I can't even describe it. It's so orgasmic!Published 1 month ago by emiya15
This is a comprehensive annotation, which is a great companion to the book.Published 4 months ago by Silvia Gratz
the story line is great. very spot on and clear. love enjoy reading this booking in bed time. i like it alot.Published 5 months ago by 条野太郎
Its an interesting book with an interesting plot. Definitely a bit out there but a classic read.Published 5 months ago by Liz
I'm an avid reader of many genres, but this book was honestly terrible. I could not get past the bad writing and plot obsessed with sexualizing preteen girls. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Britt
Beautiful and sublimely disturbing timeless tale of Humbert's nymphet.Published 7 months ago by Constance Plumley