Nabokov @110

Nabokov @110

Corgi edition of Nabokov' Lolita by you.

Corgi edition of Nabokov‘s Lolita

(notice “complete and unabridged,” meaning previously censored)

Delving more and more into the art of commemoration I find it strange that people also commemorate people’s deaths. To me the birthday is what counts. I always want to go to the source, not to the end. Just like in horoscopes, where I find it strange that it takes as basis the date of birth, rather than the date of conception.

I offer you the Corgi edition of Nabokov‘s Lolita, the novel he will always be best remembered for.

2 thoughts on “Nabokov @110

  1. John Coulthart

    To the best of my knowledge, Lolita was never censored in the UK. I have a second edition of the first UK hardback and it’s as complete as a contemporary edition. Putting “Complete and unabridged” on a cover is an old publishers’ trick to lure the salacious into thinking they’re getting something which was previously denied.

    That aside, are we supposed to believe the female on that cover is 12 years old?

  2. jahsonic

    You are right of course, the novel was never expurgated.


    Due to its subject matter, Nabokov was unable to find an American publisher for Lolita. After four refused, he finally resorted to the Olympia Press in Paris, September 1955. Although the first printing of 5,000 copies sold out, there were no substantial reviews. Eventually, at the end of 1955, Graham Greene, in an interview with the (London) Times, called it one of the best novels of 1955. This statement provoked a response from the (London) Sunday Express, whose editor called it “the filthiest book I have ever read” and “sheer unrestrained pornography.” British Customs officers were then instructed by a panicked Home Office to seize all copies entering the United Kingdom. In December 1956 the French followed suit and the Minister of the Interior banned Lolita (the ban lasted for two years). Its eventual British publication by Weidenfeld & Nicolson caused a scandal which contributed to the end of the political career of one of the publishers, Nigel Nicolson.

    By complete contrast, American officials were initially nervous, but the first American edition was issued without problems by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1958, and was a bestseller, the first book since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,00

    That aside, are we supposed to believe the female on that cover is 12 years old?

    It’s in the cheeks, the cheeks should have been puffier!

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