Illusions of Grandeur: Narrative 'Games' in Nabokov's Lolita

In a 1964 article for Playboy, Vladimir Nabokov wrote of his most famous and controversial novel: "I shall never regret Lolita. She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle its composition and its solution at the same time, since one is a mirror view of the other" (Nabokov 16-21). The possibility of Lolita having a definitive solution is fascinating how can a book that has divided critics for decades with its intricate narrative have a single answer, an unequivocal resolution? Treating the novel as a riddle implies that Nabokov wrote each and every word with a clear solution in mind; the reader must search for clues rather than complexities, for answers rather than interpretive questions. In "'Lo' and Behold: Solving the Lolita Riddle," Trevor McNeely treats Lolita the novel as the riddle in an attempt to find this ultimate solution. McNeely, however, misinterprets Nabokov's words by only discussing narrative structure and style and claiming that "Lolita as a character means nothing" (McNeely 183). If we look at Nabokov's quote from a different perspective and keep in mind the term "mirror view," the riddle would seem to be the novel itself while Lolita, the...

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