The History of Literature #395 – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (A Best of HOL Episode)

Jacke plays a clip from Nabokov discussing his famous novel Lolita, in which the frantic narrator Humbert Humbert recounts his passionate (and illegal, immoral, and illicit) love for a young girl. After hearing from the author, Jacke plays clips from three History of Literature Podcast interviews: Jenny Minton Quigley, Jim Shepard,, and Joshua Ferris.

Additional listening:

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The History of Literature #318 Lolita (with Jenny Minton Quigley)

318 Lolita (with Jenny Minton Quigley)

Jacke hosts Jenny Minton Quigley, editor of the new collection LOLITA IN THE AFTERLIFE: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Centuryfor a discussion of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic (and controversial) 1958 novel.

Jenny Minton Quigley is the daughter of Lolita’s original publisher in America, Walter J. Minton.

Lolita in the Afterlife includes contributions by the following twenty-first century literary luminaries:

Robin Givhan • Aleksandar Hemon • Jim Shepard • Emily Mortimer • Laura Lippman • Erika L. Sánchez • Sarah Weinman • Andre Dubus III • Mary Gaitskill • Zainab Salbi • Christina Baker Kline • Ian Frazier • Cheryl Strayed • Sloane Crosley • Victor LaValle • Jill Kargman • Lila Azam Zanganeh • Roxane Gay • Claire Dederer • Jessica Shattuck • Stacy Schiff • Susan Choi • Kate Elizabeth Russell • Tom Bissell • Kira Von Eichel • Bindu Bansinath • Dani Shapiro • Alexander Chee • Lauren Groff • Morgan Jerkins

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The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #96 – Dracula, Lolita, and the Power of Volcanoes (with Jim Shepard)

Author Jim Shepard joins the podcast to discuss everything from the humor of Christopher Guest and S.J. Perelman to the poetic philosophy of Robert Frost and F.W. Murnau’s classic film, Nosferatu. He and host Jacke Wilson flutter around Nabokov’s Lolita, sink their teeth into Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and descend into the world of volcanoes in Krakatua 1883, where they explore how an author discovers emotional truths in unexpected places. Other works and artists discussed include Robert Frost, Howard Nemerov, James Thurber, Robert Stone, Anne Carson, Love at First Bite, and the deadpan style of Pat Paulsen.PlayPodcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:00:50 — 42.0MB) | Embed

Show Notes:  Continue reading

Graham Greene and the Lolita Controversy

We talked for an hour, and yet we still barely scratched the surface of Graham Greene’s incredible life. Here’s one we didn’t get to: his role in bringing Lolita to the literary world’s attention – and inadvertently triggering the ban (which probably helped sales in the long run). Maria Popova has more:

When Lolita was first published in Europe in September of 1955, its first printing of 5,000 copies flew off the shelves, but the book remained largely under the radar of the literary establishment. It wasn’t until December of that year that Graham Greene catapulted it into public attention by declaring it one of the year’s three best books in a piece for London’s Sunday Times. And because rivaling publications thrive on provocation and at the heart of all cultural controversy is a powerfully charged battery of approval and disapproval, the editor of London’s Sunday Express went vocally against Greene, calling the novel “sheer unrestrained pornography” and “the filthiest book I have ever read.” The controversy stirred frantic alarm at the UK Home Office, which instructed customs agents to begin confiscating all copies of the book entering the United Kingdom.

Listen to our hour of conversation about Graham Greene’s life and works or check out the other installments in the History of Literature podcast.