NaNoReMo 2008: Part II, Chapters 6-19

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Status Report: Hi! What happened to me! You’re probably bitterly disappointed in me because you think that I fell way behind on this whole NaNoReMo deal, given that’s it’s “ReMo” and not “ReYe” or “ReDe” or “ReCe”. But you’re wrong to think that, because I actually did Re Lolita in a Mo, I just fell behind on providing my reports. So FuYo.

Part of the reason the reports ending is because I just don’t have much to say about this portion of the novel. Frankly, I found it to be a little dull after the pedorollercoaster of Part I. These chapters felt like the middle episodes of a TV show’s first season, where they are just trying to fill time between their Awesome Setup and the Big Finale.

So, instead, let’s talk about how obnoxious this Annotated Lolita is. Oh, man. It’s physically obnoxious, in that you constantly have to flip from your current place in the book to the back, where all the annotations are stored. But it’s also intellectually obnoxious, in that many of these “annotations” are remarkably pedestrian. The fact that Dolores and Charlie canoodled next to a body of water called “Climax Lake” is an innuendo of some sort? Really? Wow, I’m so glad I flipped back here to learn that.

I mean, it’s nice that he provides translations of all the French phrases, and defines many of the 13¢ words, but some of his analysis–I dunno. In fact, in the introduction the annotator even states that Nabokov openly disagreed with some of the his interpretations. Basically (as I imagine it) the annotator was, like, “so in this chapter where Humbert Humbert gets his hand stuck in a pickle jar, is that symbolic of how women use their metaphorical ‘pickle jars’ to trap men into confining relationships?” And Vladie’s all, like, “uhh no, I just though it would be funny if he got his hand stuck in a pickle jar” and the annotator is all, “welllllllllll I promised the publisher 25,000 words of annotations so yes it is.”

Anyway, long story short, I gave up on the annotations except for ces expressions françaises damnées par dieu. It was too much like having a blabbermouth behind me at the movie theater, summarizing every major plot point to his girlfriend in a stage whisper.

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9 comments.

  1. The french stuff is driving me nuts.

  2. Yeah, seriously, if the French is ever relevant, would you be so kind as to mention it? (I, uh, didn’t quite finish the book yet, reasoning that you not posting meant you not reading and I didn’t want to get ahead.)

  3. Sometimes a pickle jar is just a vagina.

  4. We call that guy in the movie theater the Elf Queen, after a memorable experience watching The Return of the King in a small theater in Pullman WA that was extensively narrated by an elderly gentleman who was apparently quite hard of hearing. Near the end of the film, he loudly announced, “IT’S THE ELF QUEEN!” and my husband & I finally snapped and started laughing out loud.

  5. FuYuTo! :-P
    Favorite quote from this section:

    “I am now faced with the distasteful task of recording a definite drop in Lolita’s morals.”

    …said the *paedophile*.

    My favorite quote from the next section when Lolita says:
    “…do you mind curring out the French? It annoys everybody.”

  6. er… make that last quote “…do you mind cutting out the French? It annoys everybody.”

    stupid fat fingers

  7. “Climax” means something sexual? Hearing that, I nearly dropped my monocle into my goblet of cognac. Glad to have such an erudite practitioner of literary know-how writing such a trenchant analysis.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to stick my hand in the pickle, whereupon my wife will do something akin to that name of the lake mentioned in the book.

  8. I have the annotated version and like you I am mainly using it for the French translations and for the occasional weird word like leporine.
    Other than that, as far as the book goes, I really hate Humbert. Hanging is too good for that piece of shit. For guys like him, a good, old-fashion drawing and quartering would be super.

  9. I finished it too. Agreed, for most of the book, ol’ Humbert was driving me nuts, too. Many a time did I have to put the book down, muttering “I’m gonna kick him in the nuts” – the part about “a definite drop in Lolita’s morals” being one of them.
    But he redeems himself completely in the end. The other guy is much, much worse. Poor Dolly, walking out of the frying pan and into the fire!
    The French baffles me too. I wish my book had annotations for French phrases.