Lolita Book Cover

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011
Time: 2:30 PM
Location: 409 Tier Bldg, University of Manitoba

Central and East European Lecture Series speaker, Dr. Paul Morris

Children and images of childhood play a prominent role in the writing of Vladimir Nabokov, a multilingual Russian-American writer most famous in North America as the author of Lolita (1955). While the motif of children in Nabokov’s oeuvre is multi-faceted, the fate of these fictional children usually is not. Frequently, they suffer and die. Nabokov criticism has wrestled with the troubling implications of these repeated depictions of pain and suffering. A common reading has been to suggest that the image of the child serves as metaphoric representation of the fragility and transience of life and, likewise, as an extreme expression of evil. Paul Morris offers an analysis which partakes of this interpretation and expands it considerably. With a reading based primarily on Nabokov’s poetry, he suggests that the child in Nabokov’s writing is more than an image of primarily thematic importance. The child functions as an essential element in Nabokov’s poetics and represents a defining feature of his distinctive authorial voice.

Dr. Paul Morris teaches translation at the College universitaire de Saint-Boniface. He has published on a variety of topics related to Canadian, American and Slavic literatures. His Vladimir Nabokov: Poetry and the Lyric Voice appeared in March 2010 with the University of Toronto Press.

Vladimir Nabokov and the Poetics of the Child