Vladimir Nabokov’s Anti-Erotic Masterpiece

Talbot Brewer in The Hedgehog Review:

A blurb on the cover of my copy of Lolita calls the novel “the only convincing love story of our century.”1 In the 1986 Vanity Fair essay from which this endorsement was drawn, the author—novelist Gregor von Rezzori—goes on to describe Vladimir Nabokov’s incendiary work as “a deeply touching story of unfulfillable longing, of suffering through love, love of such ardor that though it concentrated on its subject monomaniacally, it actually aimed beyond it, until it flowed back into the great Eros that had called it into being.”2 The publisher’s own back-cover description echoes Rezzori’s assessment: “Most of all,” the prospective reader is told, Lolita is “a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.”

I feel I am on safe ground when I say that this is false advertising. Lolita is not a story of love.

More here.