Censorship In Lolita

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Challenging Society’s Modern Censorship Lolita, written by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, challenged people’s opinions on modern censorship in literature. Nabokov based the novel off of an incident that occured in the summer of 1948. In the summer of 1948, a young girl was abducted by a man who impersonated her father. Over the course of a year, the young girl and her abductor traveled across the country ending up in California where their situation was finally discovered. When the press learned of this terrifying yet intriguing story, the tale of the abduction was headlining every newspaper in the country. Approximately five years later, Lolita bagan to make an appearance in bookstores throughout America and Europe. Lolita’s basic storyline…show more content…
Nabokov knew the risks of publishing Lolita and even called the novel his “time bomb.” He sent Lolita’s manuscript to eight American publishing companies who all approved of the manuscript but were unwilling to take on the risk of publishing the novel. Author Rebecca Romney describes this era of literature’s qualifications for obscenity as “still being defined” (Romney 5) meaning, publishers were fearful of failure and rejection due to a novel that pushed censorship boundaries. After Lolita’s disappointing rejection by the Americans, Nabokov decided to attempt to publish the novel in France where literature’s censorship was not as strict. Nabokov struck a deal with The Olympia Press and in short notice the novel was making appearances throughout bookstores in France. In short time, Lolita’s popularity skyrocketed with “english tourists stuffing their suitcases with copies of the volume” due to the absence of the novel in America. By 1958, Lolita was published in America selling more than 100,00 copies in a week and according to author Matt Harvey, “[...]the first book to do so since ‘Gone with the Wind’” (Harvey 6). This almost instant success made Nabokov a celebrity figure and inspired Stanley Kubrick to produce a movie based on the novel. Although the novel became a bestseller, many believed the novel was “one of the saddest” pertaining to the difficult relationship between the two main characters and
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