How ‘Lolita’ Escaped Obscenity Laws and Cancel Culture

Emily Mortimer in the New York Times:

I’d read “Lolita” in college, and I was too lazy to bother to read it again when preparing for my part in “The Bookshop.” I was already a huge fan of Nabokov’s — I had bought copies of his memoir, “Speak, Memory,” in bulk to hand out to my friends at college, and I had worn thin his “Lectures on Russian Literature,” which are as withering as they are brilliant. (I’ll never forget my shocked delight at his excoriation of Dostoyevsky as “a mediocre writer with wastelands of literary platitudes.”)

But I’d been talking so knowledgeably about “Lolita” to the press that I was overcome with a kind of sheepish compulsion to read it again, after the fact. I bought a copy and I read it, and I realized as I did that I had absolutely and for certain never read it before. I can’t have done. Any expertise I’d claimed to have on the subject of “Lolita” was invented. All I knew must have come only from SparkNotes, plot summaries and crib sheets, and maybe from watching the movie. Because if I had ever read “Lolita,” I would have certainly remembered the experience.

More here.