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DEW Line, Uranium and the Arctic Cold War: Ginsberg’s <i>Kaddish</i> and Nabokov’s <i>Lolita</i>

Adam Piette

in The Literary Cold War, 1945 to Vietnam

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780748635276
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651771 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635276.003.0004
DEW Line, Uranium and the Arctic Cold War: Ginsberg’s Kaddish and Nabokov’s Lolita

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This chapter examines the Arctic Cold War and its inclusion in Allan Ginsberg's Kaddish and Nicholas Nabokov's Lolita. The first half of the chapter is devoted to Ginsberg, who first wrote the Kaddish in honour of his mother. It looks at how Ginsberg was able to identify semblances between the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line site and the Soviet capital. The second half of the chapter is focused on Nabokov, who sexualized nuclear technology and considered Lolita as Humbert Humbert's uranium (or precious metal) and his source of radiation. It notes that victim and uranium come together in Humbert's controlled fantasies, and features the use of nuclear culture's psychoanalytic structures and dirtiest secrets.

Keywords: Arctic Cold War; Allan Ginsberg; Nicholas Nabokov; Distant Early Warning Line; Soviet capital; nuclear technology; uranium; nuclear culture; psychoanalytic structures

Chapter.  15665 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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