Humbert Humbert is not a role model.
Oh dear. No, I agree. But he is, um, sympathetic.
Perhaps the most problematic feature of _Lolita_ is how “sympathetic” HH is, because the reader’s identification with his sickness draws one too far into the sick recesses of our culture and makes it impossible for some to realize that it is a devastating psycho-social critique, not a piece of erotica/porn.
(As with others of N’s books, it’s important to never take the narrator’s account of anything at face value.)
I agree that it’s problematic, but it’s also part of what can make the book great. Great is perhaps not the right word, but HH as unreliable, sick but sympathetic narrator is part of what makes that book more than erotica. For an aware reader able to see the critique and make the leaps, the moments of identification with HH are completely devastating–the psycho-social critique turns back out onto the reader in a way that is totally brutal.
Or you could be a stupid asshole and think of it all as just erotica.
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