Today, while I was avoiding reading Lolita on my break at work, I answered one of those competition links that so often pop up on Facebook.
(Note to self: NEVER skim read the blurb.
“Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is a dark and daring story of obsessive love and transgression. Humbert Humbert’s lust for his pubescent step-daughter, Lolita, shocked readers when it was first published in the 1950’s; yet the novel was also celebrated for its beautifully lyrical writing. Almost fifty years after its first publication, Lolita remains a powerful tale of perversion and love gone wrong.”
I honestly thought that Humbert fell in love with his 19-year-old step-daughter. And it was “wrong” because, well, he was married to Lolita’s mother. And he was about twice her age. But if I hadn’t missed those key words, maybe I could have saved myself the trauma. And $10. I picked up Lolita because most of my lecturers talk about it as this beautifully written novel. What they neglect to mention is that the narrator is a middle-aged man who has a thing for “nymphets”, defined as being girls aged 9-14. And the story follows his love of this girl Lolita. Who starts the novel at TWELVE YEARS OLD. I have never felt so uncomfortable reading a book before. But Nabokov does write beautifully. I just wish I didn’t want to gouge my eyes out every time he writes, however lyrically, about this man having sex with a TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL!
And they MADE A MOVIE OF THIS BOOK. Not once, but TWICE. Once in 1962, and again in 1997. I’m not lying. Here’s the trailer:
This particular competition wanted me to explain how I would spend $5000 travelling. So as I sat there, typing out my dream holiday in the Holy Land (also known as England), I realised that what primarily attracts me to England isn’t the usual touristy stuff. I want to see:
- the Jane Austen museum in Bath
- the Charles Dickens museum in London
- 221B Baker Street
- The Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff
- the replica TARDIS somewhere in London
- Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey
- The Globe Theatre
Of course I want to see the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and ride around on the top level of a cherry red double decker bus. But primarily I want to visit the Literary greats. And this was actually a shock. I have always known that I am obsessed with Great Britain, but this was the first time I realised that it wasn’t for the landmarks.
I feel as though this should be a package deal when travelling to England. Travelling between monuments to creative genius. Because it would be one thing to see these things – and believe me when I say, I will see them one day – but it would be an entirely more enriching experience to see these places with a group of likeminded people.
So if anybody feels like accompanying me on this Pilgrimage of Literature, I should be heading out in about five years. Oh the joys of a uni student wage.
(Also, yes, I include Doctor Who as an example of Literature. This pop culture SCI-FI show has lasted fifty years, inspired two spin-offs, a magazine, countless books, and at least one movie. Also, Steven Moffat has the ability to make most viewers cry and cry and cry. So, I believe that Doctor Who is an important example of the power of the well-written word.)