Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov and His Magic

Well, when I entered college in 1988, I took out a membership to the American Center Library in New Delhi and one of the first books [I guess the first] that I issued was a novel by Vladimir Nabokov called Lolita. When I first read the novel at 16 1/2, I felt scandalized, then I read it a second time a year later, when I realized that my scandalized feeling was rather wrong.

I am sure I would like to read every word that Nabokov has written and I guess reading him should be very important for anyone who is an aspiring writer. You can read a biographical entry on him here. He was a very talented writer who wrote in both Russian as well as in English. And if you realize the controversy that his novel, Lolita caused as well as the success that it generated for him, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Vladimir Nabokov was one of the greatest literary stylists of the English language.

I hope you like this small extract from the novel which has been reproduced below:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

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