Nabokov's Lolita appears in Vietnamese translation

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missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:35
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
Vietnamese readers are in for a real treat. Mar 26, 2012

Translating Nabokov is a tour de force and Lolita is one of the greatest novels ever written in English (and rewritten in Russian), in my opinion. What an achievement for Mr Tuong, and how jealous I am of those who will have the exquisite pleasure to discover Lolita for the first time!

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Although Mar 26, 2012

missdutch wrote:

Translating Nabokov is a tour de force and Lolita is one of the greatest novels ever written in English (and rewritten in Russian), in my opinion. What an achievement for Mr Tuong, and how jealous I am of those who will have the exquisite pleasure to discover Lolita for the first time!


Although I would not consider "Lolita" Nabokov's best book, it is a delightfully ironic satire on the arid lifestyle of suburban America, in which the only way of keeping one's sanity is to transgress.

[Edited at 2012-03-26 09:15 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:35
Chinese to English
Wrong and wrong Mar 26, 2012

I reckon Lolita is his best. I mean, I love Pale Fire and Ada, but I don't think they top Lolita. Mind you, you did say book, not novel, so were you thinking about Speak Memory? That might be better...

Oh, wait, no. Pnin. I might have to give you Pnin. It's a close run thing, but there's definitely a good argument for Pnin.

But Lolita a satire?! I mean, it's got satire in it, but... the whole child rape thing overshadows the satire a bit for me.

Whatever the case, it's great to see this book being translated and shared with more readers.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes Mar 26, 2012

Yes, I was thinking of "Speak, Memory".

And don't be moralistic about "Lolita" or you may be accused of being an American without any sense of irony ! There is no "child rape" in "Lolita".

[Edited at 2012-03-26 12:48 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:35
Chinese to English
! Mar 29, 2012

!

Wow, that's a statement and a half. 1) Humbert is a deeply unreliable narrator, so it is quite possible that his claims about Lolita's participation in the sex is just self-serving. But more importantly, (2) he holds her prisoner. Under those conditions, it's rape, whether she submits or not. End of Part I, one of the cruelest sentences in any novel: “At the hotel we had separate rooms, but in the middle of the night she came sobbing into mine, and we made it up very gently. You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”

Nabokov himself said that Humbert was morally repugnant. The fact that he doesn't explicitly condemn Humbert in the book doesn't mean that there is no moral dimension to it.


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missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:35
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree, Phil. Mar 29, 2012

Nabokov never judges his characters' actions and he isn't interested either in what we readers could make of them. But you can always feel the underlying moral tension in his novels. Some of his books are full of repugnant - though compelling - characters, as in Despair and especially King, Queen, Knave.

Nabokov follows in his fellow great Russian writers' footsteps, such as Gogol' and Chekhov, in depicting пошлость (poshlost'), and this is what we find profusely in Lolita, although it is not confined to America, a country of which he always speaks fondly, whereas Humbert - with all his sophisticated European education - is even fuller of poshlost' than poor Charlotte Haze.

Back to our topic, I think our most excellent Vietnamese colleague Mr Tuong is a lucky man: how many people could start such an undertaking at the age of 78 and happily sail through the challenges it presents?

Thanks to Romina for posting the news, and to Tom and Phil for the enjoyable exchange of opinions!


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Nabokov's Lolita appears in Vietnamese translation

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