Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nabokov's Other LOLITA, THE ENCHANTER




I wrote in The Allure of Nymphets that Lolita wasn't Vladimir Nabokov's first and only book with an age-discrepant relationship. The Enchanter  [Russian: Volshebnik] was written in Russian in 1939, but wasn't translated by Dmitri Nabokov, Vladimir's son, and published until 1986. As I mentioned in The Allure of Nymphets, Vladimir thought the he had destroyed the novella, but he found it when he was " ... collecting material to give to the Library of Congress." 

The setting and time period isn't clear, but Vladimir mentioned in the author's notes that the protagonist was central European, the nymphet was French, and the city was Paris. 

The 40-year-old, but "young spiritually" protagonist, who did have "... five or six normal affairs ..." was picky about his nymphets. He wasn't attracted to school girls who were husky, skinny, had acne or wore glasses. However, he was attracted to "A violet-clad girl of twelve ... [with] russet curls (recently trimmed) ... large, slightly vacuous [light gray] eyes ... warm complexion ... pink mouth ... [and] summery tint..." whom he noticed while he sat on a Paris park bench. 

Subsequently, "The day after, and the days that that followed, he sat in the same place ..." to be near the nymphet he "... would have given a sack of rubies, a bucket of blood, anything he was asked ..." to be with.


Interestingly, like a shrewd businessman, he let his instincts guide his seduction of the maiden, which went into full swing after he found out she was an orphan. Her father, "a bon vivant", had left her with her very ill mother, whom the protagonist quickly married to be closer to the nymphet. 

I found it interesting that Nabokov wrote then when the nymphet gave a "vigorous toss" to "her brown curls", she was being flirtatious. That behavior is what Pickup Artists (PUA) refers to as an Indicator of Interest (IOI). I used that example in my novel as well. But that wasn't the only IOI the protagonist perceived. The nubile maiden "... in front of everyone, touched his shaven cheek with her cool, unhurried lips ..." - twice, which shouldn't be surprising since the protagonist was charismatic e.g., "He was unfailingly attentive...Always even-tempered, always self-controlled, [and] he sustained the smooth tone ..." (Refer to Cabane's The Charisma Myth for more information about how to be a charismatic ephebophile.)

By day he imagined killing his wife and by night he imagined the nymphet and  "... every detail of her nudity ..." as she slept in the next room. 

Ultimately, the protagonist's wishes were granted, but maybe he should have waited to marry his step-daughter,  à la Woody Allen, to sustain a lasting relationship. 






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