Approaches to Teaching Nabokov's Lolita
Widely considered one of the twentieth century's great novels, Lolita maintains an established place on the syllabus—in English departments, Russian and Slavic departments, and departments of comparative literature. Yet its particular mix of narrative strategies, ornate allusive prose, and troublesome subject matter complicates its presentation to students.
This volume aims to help instructors make Lolita accessible to students. Part 1, "Materials," opens with an extensive chronology of the author's life, outlines the novel's convoluted publication history, and identifies useful textual and audiovisual resources for teaching Lolita. In part 2, "Approaches," instructors reflect on the best ways to illuminate the novel's ethical quandries and introduce its textual intricacies. The twenty-two essays are grouped by three themes: instructors' experiences teaching Lolita in specific courses; the literary, generic, and cultural contexts of the novel, including its Russian roots, Romantic tropes and themes, and representation of 1950s American culture; and the theoretical approaches to the novel, which address ethics and aesthetics, the role of readers, and the connection between the author and the narrator.
About the Authors
Zoran Kuzmanovich, professor of English at Davidson College, teaches American literature, literary criticism, and film studies. In 2004 he received Davidson's most prestigious teaching award, the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching. He writes on the relations among arts, ethics, and politics. Since 1996, he has served as the editor of Nabokov Studies.
Galya Diment is professor and chair in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she teaches literature and film. She is the author of Pniniad: Vladimir Nabokov and Marc Szeftel (1997) and The Autobiographical Novel of Co-consciousness: Goncharov, Woolf, and Joyce (1993). She edited Goncharov's Oblomov: A Critical Companion (1998) and coedited Between Heaven and Hell: The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture (1993).
"Professors Kuzmanovich and Diment have compiled a volume that can only improve the teaching of Nabokov's best-known work." —Slavic and East European Journal
"The volume provides a wide array of useful information and suggestions for the first-time teacher of this fascinating and important novel. Even experienced teachers of Nabokov's writings can find much to stimulate interest and expand their horizons." —John Burt Foster, Jr., George Mason University
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