Dual Focalization, Retrospective Fictional Autobiography, and the Ethics of Lolita

James Phelan

in Narrative and Consciousness

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780195140057
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847402 | DOI:
Dual Focalization, Retrospective Fictional Autobiography, and the Ethics of Lolita

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As we explore Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, we see that Humbert Humbert's character provides a description of how he had imagined the murals on the walls of the Enchanted Hunters Hotel after articulating how he felt about his experience regarding his first sexual intercourse with Dolores Haze. It is important to note that the narration he presents in the succeeding chapter is different from the statements he made in the preceding chapter. In this chapter, the author attempts to provide an explanation regarding the narrative logic that underlies the contradiction within the autobiographical narration that Humbert's character displays. Also, the author attempts to look into how this contradiction reflects the ethical dimensions involved with Nabokov as the book's author and with Humbert as a fictional character. In doing so, the author makes use of the following interrelated elements: self-consciousness, focalization, and unreliability.

Keywords: Vladimir Nabokov; Lolita; Humbert; self-consciousness; focalization; unreliability; contradiction; ethical dimension

Chapter.  7923 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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