In his most famous novel, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov created one of the most intricate, memorable, and maddening narrators in literature. By firmly positioning Humbert Humbert as a mis-handler of fact and purveyor of his own skewed perspective, Nabokov encourages the perceptive reader to reject the narrator and actively seek out the truth of the story for themselves. Subtle yet undeniable clues (such as holes in the narrative arguments, clear exaggerations, and logical fallacies) saturate this story, undermining the credibility of the first-person perspective and pointing toward its deception. Once we as the audience recognize that Nabokov is guiding us away from his grasp, we are free to wander through the world the author has created and interpret its meaning for ourselves, and as such, evolve into more attentive and thoughtful readers of fiction.
"Aesthetic Bliss: How Vladimir Nabokov Uses Unreliable Narration in Lolita to Create Better Readers,"
International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities: Vol. 14:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/ijurca/vol14/iss1/1