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Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Former Library Copy. Pages are intact and are free of handwriting, but there are library stamps and stickers. Binding is OK. Paperback cover has moderate wear.
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Lolita: A Screenplay (Vintage International) Paperback – International Edition, August 26, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

As it charts the hypnotized progress of Humbert Humbert, a hypercivilized and amoral European emigre, into the orbit of a treacherously lovely and utterly unimpressionable preteen, Lolita: A Screenplay gleefully demolishes a host of stereotypes - sexual, moral, and aesthetic. Not least among the casualties is the notion that cinema and literature are two separate spheres. For in his screenplay, Nabokov married the structural and narrative felicities of great cinema to prose as sensuously entrancing as any he had ever written, resulting in a work that will delight cineasts and Nabokovians alike.

About the Author

One of the twentieth century s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage International Ed edition (August 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679772553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679772552
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lolita: a Screenplay is recommended reading for anyone who loved the novel and appreciates Nabokov's wonderful sense of humor. The story goes that Nabokov presented his screenplay to Kubrick, who told him, "Look, regardless of how brilliant it may or may not be, it would take eight hours to film." So it's unfilmable; if Borges can write literary criticism about books which don't exist, surely it's not so radical to devise screenplays which are never meant to be filmed. Nabokov adds much to his existing work, including a psychiatrist who speaks directly to the camera and a cameo for himself. One wishes that Adrian Lyne had added a few of the humorous elements of the screenplay to his film, which is fine but perhaps a bit too reverent which it should be audaciously funny. All in all, I highly recommend picking up what amounts to one of the 20th century's great geniuses playing hooky.
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You can practically feel Vladimir Nabokov struggling to put together something that resembled an ordinary screenplay. He really tries hard. Quilty had multiple shady appearances in the novel and the Big Reveal at the end came as a surprise, to me at least. (I guess I wasn't an "astute reader.") But here, Quilty stands out in his several scenes, as I imagine Nabokov imagined he should in a movie that isn't a book. The character must be more visible, must have lines, and so forth. So, yes, Nabokov is trying hard.

But I think we can doubt if he ever saw a traditional screenplay in his life, although he'd been an extra in some German films of the 1920s. THIS certainly doesn't look like a screenplay. It has passages squeezed into one or two flowery paragraphs that would have taken up two days of screen time.

But no matter how hard he tried, he seems to have been unable to suppress his gift for humor, irony, and originality. He has John Ray, Jr., Ph.D. introducing the story on the screen, referring to "This here manuscript." He's written himself into the screenplay as "that nut with the net over there." (His character makes gentle fun of the author.) And he leaves directions that play tricks with the camera and the editing, as if the entire enterprise were to be his own personal puppet show.

It's not a screenplay, not a book, and it never became a movie. It's an original work though, a revision of the classic novel. Not without evidence of some lapses in attention. Lolita is caused to use some British locutions -- "I shall do this," or "I'd quite forgotten" -- that sound funny in a smart but vulgar American kid.

I have some problems with Nabokov's personality. Some artists are egotists but VN was a true champion at the game.
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Format: Paperback
Ok, I'll admit it, I am another Nabokovian and my curiosity was spurred when I found out VVN's screenplay was published by vintage. My real curiosity was in what kind of insight the screenplay could offer to VVN's original novel, and it did render some of that insight. This is a fun read, not as delightful as the novel by any stretch of the mind but it is still very delightful. What makes it so insightful is the fact that the screenplay is meant for view, not necessarily to be read, and using the points that Nabokov emphasizes in the explanations of the scenery, behaviorisms, and so forth, again are extremely helpful to anyone trying to get a better grasp of the novel. In working on a piece of criticism on VVN's earlier novel The Defense, I actually used the screenplay because the Annabelle Lee theme is emphasized more than in the novel and is easier to use in a critical study.

As a work of art, it is most certainly a great piece by itself, but to readers who are expecting this to be another masterwork like the novelized Lolita or Pale Fire, this pales in comparison.
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Format: Paperback
By his own account, only about 20% of Nabokov's 213 page screenplay ended up in Kubrick's film. Even so, the author's opinion of Kubrick's end product was high, and the screenplay itself is a fine cinematic representation of the novel.
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Format: Paperback
Its not the book, and its not the film. So what is it? Its the screenplay of course! Chances are, if you are reading this, its either because you saw the film and liked it; a fan of Stanley Kubrick: director of the film; or you read the book Lolita and the Annotated Lolita and figured "I might as well read the script;" or just a big fan of Nabokov and its the one book you dont have in your collection. Whatever the reason may be, it falls between the book and the film. This is Nabokov's version of the script that was cut, recut and then edited by Kubrick (incidentally, Nabokov still recieved on-screen credit for the screenplay). It may hold water on its own, but in comparison to either the book or film it cannot stay afloat.
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