Abstract

Victor Hugo's Les Misérables can shed light on the vexed question of Nabokov's narrative attitude to the protagonist of Lolita by indicating how we are to judge Humbert Humbert. Nabokov was intimately familiar with the work of Hugo. The parallels between Lolita and Les Misérables (which is specifically mentioned in Lolita) include the doubled names of the protagonists, the relationships of the quasi-fathers and quasi-daughters, and the presence of secret and indefatigable pursuers. Humbert, at times, appears to claim the status of victim; in view of Les Misérables, however, Humbert's self-justifications are revealed not only as specious and absurd, but as transparently so.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Pages
pp. 65-75
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-13
Open Access
No
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