Abstract

This article attempts to explore the intertextual potential of the arctic episode in Lolita (part I, chapter 9), which has received little critical attention, and to analyze its place within the structure of the novel. Besides the overt reference to Melville's Pierre ("Pierre Point in Melville Sound"), I also take into account a number of diffuse intertextual echoes coming from Shakespeare's Othello and from Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Beyond the attempt to combine the annotation and interpretation of this particular episode, I also try to offer a covert meditation on Nabokovian intertextuality in general (which the author tended to present as a precise science in which specific pointers signal a precise source). My conclusion establishes a link between Humbert's arctic Canada and Alaska, the place of Lolita's death, and I argue that the two could be seen as avatars of Nabokov's "distant northern land," of Ultima Thule and Zembla.

Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Launched on MUSE
2009-10-04
Open Access
No
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