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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Very good dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Publisher: Verso / Pub. Date: 2005-10-17 Attributes: Book, 112 pp / Stock#: 2042361 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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The Two Lolitas Hardcover – October 17, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (October 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670383
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,647,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'Germany's most gifted literary critic of the younger generation.' - London Review of Books 'Michael Maar is an acute analyst and an elegant stylist...' - Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Michael Maar has taught at Stanford University and is a member of two German academies. A leading literary critic, he now lives in Berlin.

Perry Anderson is the author of, among other books, Spectrum, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity, and The New Old World. He teaches history at UCLA and is on the editorial board of New Left Review.

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Kohn on November 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ok, so the chapter headings are a bit tongue in cheek: "Supple Girls," "Lolita as Demon", "Little Lotte and the Fuhrer," etc. Nevertheless, "Two Lolitas" is essential reading for anyone who has fallen madly, madly, madly in love with Nabokov's book. Or for anyone interested in Nabokov or "Lolita" studies, which I've heard spoken of in rumors. The book traces the history of Heinz von Lichberg's short story, "Lolita" which Nabokov's far more notorious novel was inspired by...or was ripped off by.

The author compares passages from both of the "two Lolitas" as well as other works by Nabokov that could have been influenced by Lichberg. Part biography, part comparative literature, part European history, somewhere in penumbra of who did or did not know what, and the mystery that is inspiration's origins, "two Lolitas" raises some interesting questions. First of all, does Lichberg's story exonerate Nabokov, who has oft been accused of a pervert writing a semi-autobiographical novel? Or does it lend "Lolita" itself (herself?) a mythic quality...the quality that would help explain the tale's immense success (not merely because of Nabokov's illustrious writing...he did, after all, write many other far less famous novels) as well as the idea that perhaps, nobody "owns" Lolita. As you read more and more of this excellent examination of history and two interesting personalities, it begins to seem as if "Lolita" is in fact, a mythic narrative, full of archetypes and symbolism, for the 20th and 21st century. As the author says near the end, "This is no tall tale, but a story with namy unresolved qustions-for the time being and possibly forever."

The book also contains two stories by Lichberg in the appendix, which is extremely helpful for most readers who will probably not be familiar with his work.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Swanson on April 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought the book excellent and the premise quite interesting. Although I don't doubt that Nabokov consciously used the first Lolita as a starting point, one never really knows. Here's a curiosity from an April 3, 1959 Los Angeles Times column by the late Matt Weinstock, as found under the heading "Righting of the Left", at:


I've cut and pasted it as follows:

"MENTION HERE of literary coincidences -- use of similar names or situations by fiction writers unknown to each other -- recalled an experience Harold Bell Wright once told Al Ball of Manhattan Beach.

Shortly after Wright's book 'When a Man's a Man' was published, a stranger called on him, identified himself as a college professor, and said he had written a play three years before titled 'When a Man's a Man.' Furthermore, his principal character was Rags -- Wright's was Patches. In addition, he said there were 80 identical situations in the two stories.

Wright could only express amazement.

'How did you do it, Wright?' the stranger went on. 'My manuscript has been locked in a safe for three years. No one ever read it but me. It isn't possible.'

He wasn't angry, only baffled. So was Wright."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Singh on March 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reviewed by C. J. Singh (Berkeley, CA)

In "Two Lolitas," Michael Maar, a leading German literary critic, makes a persuasive case for the likely antecedent of Lolita in a short story by Heinz von Lichberg.

"A cultivated man of middle age recounts the story ....It all starts, when travelling abroad, he takes a room as a lodger. The moment he sees the daughter of the house, he is lost. She is very young, but her charms instantly enslave him. Heedless of her tender age, he becomes intimate with her. In the end she dies, and the narrator - marked by her for ever - remains alone. The name of the girl supplies the title of the story: `Lolita.' It is the ninth of the fifteen tales in the collection 'The Accursed Gioconda,' and it appeared forty years before its famous homonym."

Von Lichberg was a German aristocrat who regularly contributed articles to the "Berliner Lokal-Anzieger" in the 1920s and 30s and his book was widely available. Nabokov lived in Berlin during those two decades and was very likely familiar with his writings.

Nabokov parodies on the name "Lolita" in his postmodernist novel Pale Fire: "It was a year of tempests," and has Charles Kinbote annotate John Shade's lines: `Hurricane/Lolita swept from Florida to Maine' with the comment, "Why our poet chose to give his 1958 hurricane a little-used Spanish name (sometimes given to parrots) instead of Linda or Lois, is not clear." Nabokov also parodies on the name "Lolita" in his novel Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle.
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