Freud's Influence in Nabakov's "Lolita" Book Review by scribbler

Freud's Influence in Nabakov's "Lolita"
Reviews relevant portions of Freud's theories to gain a better understanding Vladimir Nabakov's "Lolita"
# 153567 | 1,065 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jun 16, 2013 in Literature (American) , Psychology (Freud)

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This paper examines Vladimir Nabakov's novel "Lolita" and uses Freud's theories to analyze the narrator of the novel, Professor Humbert Humbert, his obsession with the character of Annabel, his thwarted sexual desires and her death. Next, the author points out that Freud's theory dovetails with Humbert's narration because the early interactions between Humbert and Annabel describe the eroticizing of a number of different body parts not strictly associated with sexuality. The paper concludes the events of Humbert's youth, which set up the entirety of the novel and inform the most central part of his character, are applications of Freud's theories of the infantile sexuality and the oppositional instincts.

From the Paper:

"Before addressing the text of Lolita, it will be useful to explicate the relevant portions of Freud's theories as a means of better understanding the details of the novel. The first concept to address is Freud's notion of the infantile sexuality that arises during "the infantile period of latency or deferment," which is the period of a child's development in which his or her sexual urges are sublimated upon being introduced into society at large (most often in the form of attending school for the first time). This sexuality is described as infantile (even though it may extend up until puberty) because it represents the "fragmentary manifestation of sexuality which has avoided sublimation" but which can only ever emerge in mediated forms, such as thumb-sucking and what Freud calls "auto-erotism," which may include but does not necessarily mean masturbation. In fact, Freud identifies thumb-sucking as a form of auto-erotism because it is a pleasure-giving activity that "is not directed towards other people, but obtains satisfaction from the subject's own body" . Although Freud initially focuses on thumb-sucking, he broadens the manifestations of infantile sexuality to include "an appropriate stimulation of any erotogenic zone," which can in fact be anywhere on the body, depending on the developing sexuality of any given person."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the Id. The Standard ed. New York, NY: W. W, Norton & Company, 1989. 37-38. Print.
  • Freud, Sigmund. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. The Definitive ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000. 45-59. Print.
  • Nabakov, Vladimir. Lolita. 2nd Vintage International ed. New York, NY: Random House, 1997. 11-15. Print.

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