“Lolita” Nabokov in brief summary

Humbert Humbert, a thirty-seven-year-old lecturer in French literature, has an unusual inclination for nymphets, as he calls them – charming girls from nine to fourteen. A long childhood impression gave him this clandestine experience, which warded off more mature women. The action of the confessional novel written by Humberts in prison dates back to the summer of 1947. Ten years earlier, while living in Paris, he was married, but his wife left him for the sake of the Russian emigrant colonel just before his transfer to America. There he took part in various research projects, he was treated in sanatoriums for melancholy and now, having left the regular hospital, he rented a house in Mrs. Charlotte Haze in New England. The mistress of the house has a twelve-year-old daughter, Dolores-Lo, Lolita, a reminder of that childish love of Humbert,

The pages of his diary Humbert says about lusty lust for Lolita, when he suddenly finds out that her mother sends her to a summer camp. Charlotte wrote Humbert a letter explaining his love for him, and demanding that she leave her house if he did not share her feelings. After some hesitation, Humbert accepts the proposal “to move from tenants to roommates.” He marries his mother, not for a moment forgetting about his future stepdaughter. From now on nothing will prevent him from communicating with her. However, it turns out that after the wedding, Charlotte intends to send Lolita immediately after the camp to a boarding house, and then to Beardsley College. Humbert’s plans are crumbling. While swimming in a forest lake, he wants to drown his wife, but can not, to his regret, having learned that the neighbor is following them from the hill.

Mrs. Humbert finds and reads the diary of her husband and completely exposes him. While he is feverishly considering how to get out of this situation, Charlotte in tears and anger runs across the road to send letters and gets under the car.

After the funeral of his wife, the hero goes to Lolita. Finding out clothes for her and sleeping pills, he tells the girl that her mother is in the hospital on the eve of a serious operation. Taking Lolita from the camp, Humbert is going to drive her around towns and hotels. In the first of them he gives the girl a sleeping pill to enjoy her asleep. The sleeping pills do not work. The night of the tortures and indecisiveness of Humbert, who does not dare to touch Lolita, ends with her morning awakening and the seduction of her stepfather. To the amazement of the latter, Lolita was not a virgin, most recently she “tried” this with the son of the head of the camp.

Intimacy changes Humbert’s relationship with Lolita. He reveals that her mother is dead. Since August 1947, during the year, they have traveled the United States, changing motels, cottages, hotels. The hero tries to bribe the girl with the promise of various pleasures and threatens with misfortunes if she gives it to the police as a seducer. Before the travelers there are numerous sights of the country. In parallel, scandals happen between them. Paradise bliss does not promise a stable happiness. Instead of hiding somewhere in Mexico, Humbert turns to the east of America to give the girl to a private gymnasium in Beardsley.

January 1, 1949 Lolita turns fourteen years old. She is already partially losing the charm of her nymphetism, her vocabulary becomes unbearable. She requires money from Humbert for the satisfaction of his special desires, hides them, in order, as he suspects, to accumulate, to escape from him. In the gymnasium, she begins to get involved in theater. Rehearsing the play “Enchanted Hunters”, Lolita falls in love with her author, the famous playwright Quilty, an irresistible hero of advertising cigarettes “Dromader”. Chuya is not right, Humbert takes Lolita out of Beardsley a... week before the premiere.

In the summer of 1949, their last journey through America begins. Humbert is haunted by suspicions of her treason. He is afraid to leave Lolita for a long time alone, check the gun that he keeps in the box. Once he sees the cherry “Cadillac” following them in the distance. Did someone hire a detective to watch them? What kind of bald man, with whom Lolita was talking hastily? On the way to the towns, they watch the plays of some Quilty and Damor-Blok. Their pursuer is changing cars, in the cherry “Cadillac” are found some actors. Lolita deceives Humbert, leads him by the nose with the accomplices of his new lover.

In Elphinstone, Lolita is taken to a hospital with high temperature. For the first time in two years, Humbert was separated from his beloved. Then he falls ill. When he is going to take Lolita from the hospital, it turns out that on the eve she left with her “uncle”.

Three and a half years pass without Lolita. First, Humbert travels in the reverse order in the footsteps of his inventive rival. In the fall, he reaches Beardsley. Until the next spring is treated in a sanatorium. Then meets a thirty-year-old naive, tender and brainless girlfriend named Rita, who saved Humbert from a straitjacket. The year he teaches at the University of Cantrip. Finally, he is in New York, where on 22 September 1952 he receives a letter from Lolita. She reports that she is married, that she is expecting a child, that she needs money to pay off her debts, since her husband is going to Alaska together with her, where he is promised work.

Humbert determines the address on the postmark and, taking a pistol with him, leaves for the road. He finds Lolita in a hovel on the outskirts of a small town married to an almost deaf veteran of the war. She finally opens the name of her seducer: it’s the playwright Claire Quilty, a depraved genius who is not indifferent to young children. She thought Humbert had figured it out long ago. Quilty, stealing her, took me to the ranch, assuring me that he would be lucky to go to the role in Hollywood in the fall. But there Lolita was waiting for drunkenness, drugs, perversions and group orgies, in which she refused to take part, and was thrown out into the street. Further heavy earnings for life, meeting with the future husband…

Humbert suggests Lolita immediately leave with him from her husband, she refuses, she never loved him. Humbert gives her with her husband four thousand dollars – income from her late mother’s house – and goes hunting after playwright Clare Quilti.

He experiences a kind of remorse for Lolita. Humbert returns to Ramzdel, where he lived with Charlotte, transfers all the property to the name of Lolita, finds out the address of Quilty.

Then he travels to Parkington, where he enters the family castle of his enemy, and with a pistol in his hands leads a half-mad conversation with him, alternating with shots, misfires, misses, hits, the struggle of two elderly and half-ruined bodies, reading the verdict in verse. All this makes the scene of revenge farce. Quilty runs from his executioner, he shoots at him… In the house there are regular guests of Quilty, drink his vodka, not paying attention to Humbert’s statement that he killed their master. At this time, the bloodied Quilty crawls out onto the top platform, where he “worked very hard, flapping his fins, but soon… froze – now forever”. Humbert leaves the castle.

“Lolita”, his confession, he wrote first in the hospital for psychopaths, where his reason is checked, and then in prison awaiting trial, without waiting for which he dies from a heart attack. Soon after Humbert, Lolita will also die, having died at Christmas, 1952, as a dead girl.


“Lolita” Nabokov in brief summary