Lolita Speaks: Disrupting Nabokov’s “Aesthetic Bliss”

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Since Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 publication of Lolita, numerous feminist scholars have argued for rereading the novel from the girl’s point of view to understand Lolita not as a sexual agent, but as an incest victim. In this article, I examine how revisionary texts like Roger Fishbite (1999), Lo’s Diary (1999), and Poems for Men Who Dream of Lolita (1992) give voice to the girl in the text, disrupting Nabokov’s “aesthetic bliss” and emphasizing aspects of Lolita’s victimization. Ultimately, I discuss how a contemporary analytical shift from valuing the aesthetics to a consideration of the ethics of the novel has led to restricted critical readings of the narrative, which, nevertheless, remain open through the acknowledgement of the girl’s sexual desire and agency within these female authors’ revisionary texts.

Original Citation

Meek, M. (2017). Lolita Speaks: Disrupting Nabokov’s “Aesthetic Bliss”. Girlhood Studies 10(3), 152-167. https://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2017.100312