Books and Movies Reviews

Lolita

The novel Lolita and its two film adaptations Kubrick and Lyne have one unifying theme: Lolita as a symbol of art that cannot be possessed wholly by the artistand the artist as a loser. The protagonist Humbert is presented as an artist who tries to produce an artistic object in which Lolita, the female character, is the source of inspiration for that artistic production. One might notice the different references to artistic productions: Humbert in Lyne is a writer; Humbert in Kubrick is a would- be filmmaker or a movie star. Even Lolita is shown as a fan of movie magazines and in Kubrick she loves going to the movies. Quilty is shown as a writer or filmmaker.*
However, the protagonist is rendered to the reader/viewer as a loser. Humbert believes he covers all grounds possible as an artist and a lover. He believes that his child-lust is proof of his literary genius. He thinks that Lolita is his discovery alone. On the one hand, he needs Lolita as the source of his inspiration. On the other, he possibly thinks that when his artistic production is finished, Lolita will be his greatest fan who sees him as an artist.
If one thinks of male gaze in the three, s/he might think that Humbert should gain power through his gaze at Lolita, but instead that gaze involves the loss of power: gradually Humbert loses his control over the child star and thus his writing is left unfinished and he ends tragically. The only winner in the three is Quilty because he has captured the soul of Lolita as a symbol of art.
*(If the three productions are taken at a symbolic level with regard to the history of cinema, Lolita as a symbol of art is pregnant of new incidents while the author is dead.)

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