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A Filthy Look at Shakespeare's Lolita

A Filthy Look at Shakespeare's Lolita OT A SINGLE OBSCENE TERM is to be found in this whole work” (4)1— so states the fictitious Dr. John Ray, Jr., and until recently I had not thought that many readers would agree. Lolita has always struck me as a stylistically lewd book, an opinion I had not regarded as an original point of view. I was, therefore, surprised by an exchange in which I participated on “Nabokv-L,” the electronic mail list server. The discussion began with a relayed query concerning Chestnut Lodge, a motel in which Humbert Humbert discerns a clue left by his nemesis Clare Quilty. The author of the query asked whether this might be a reference to the insane asylum of the same name in Baltimore (Drescher and Edmunds). After the list’s editor responded that he had once tried unsuccessfully to track down a motel by this name in old Triple A tourbooks ( Johnson), I suggested that the first word in this hotel’s name should be read as an anagram, beginning with the definite article and concluding with the possessive form of a word best not transported electronically across state lines. Nothing that I have ever written in my career as a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

A Filthy Look at Shakespeare's Lolita

Comparative Literature , Volume 58 (1) – Jan 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-58-1-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

OT A SINGLE OBSCENE TERM is to be found in this whole work” (4)1— so states the fictitious Dr. John Ray, Jr., and until recently I had not thought that many readers would agree. Lolita has always struck me as a stylistically lewd book, an opinion I had not regarded as an original point of view. I was, therefore, surprised by an exchange in which I participated on “Nabokv-L,” the electronic mail list server. The discussion began with a relayed query concerning Chestnut Lodge, a motel in which Humbert Humbert discerns a clue left by his nemesis Clare Quilty. The author of the query asked whether this might be a reference to the insane asylum of the same name in Baltimore (Drescher and Edmunds). After the list’s editor responded that he had once tried unsuccessfully to track down a motel by this name in old Triple A tourbooks ( Johnson), I suggested that the first word in this hotel’s name should be read as an anagram, beginning with the definite article and concluding with the possessive form of a word best not transported electronically across state lines. Nothing that I have ever written in my career as a

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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