Abstract

Abstract:

Humbert Humbert's apparently casual references to so-called "primitive" art—cultural artifacts from Mexico, Native American dances, and prehistorical cave paintings—suggest a model of artistic value that contests Humbert's solipsistic, author-centered artistry. According to Humbert's definition of art, the artist is a central figure: like Dante in The Divine Comedy, Humbert is his own most important character, and he aspires to an artistic immortality in which he and his Lolita are eternally preserved. The novel's references art outside of the post-Renaissance European tradition, however, provide a model in which the author remains anonymous and unknowable, while the art itself is what endures. Through Humbert's passing and often contemptuous references to "primitive" art, Nabokov provides an alterative theory of art to critique and counterbalance both Humbert's and his own.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9965
Print ISSN
1080-1219
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-06
Open Access
No
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