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Lolita

Lolita(1962)

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Lolita Vladimir Nabokov's racy classic focuses on an aging... MORE > $19.98 Regularly $19.98 Buy Now

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Humbert Humbert walks into the disordered mansion of amoral television playwright Clare Quilty and shoots the drunken, mocking author. Humbert then recalls the events that began 4 years earlier: Newly arrived from England, Humbert, a staid middle-aged professor and translator of French poetry, plans to spend the summer in New Hampshire before moving on to a position as a lecturer at an Ohio college. Charlotte Haze, a sexually frustrated widow, is anxious to rent him a room in her house, but her overbearing manner nearly drives him away until he meets her precocious adolescent daughter, Lolita. The girl so arouses Humbert's passion that to be near her he marries Charlotte, meanwhile recording his impressions of mother and daughter in a diary. Charlotte's possessiveness soon awakens murderous desires in Humbert, but the problem of her presence is solved when she reads his diary and, hysterical, runs into the path of an automobile. Humbert retrieves Lolita from the summer camp where her mother had disposed of her and drives with her to Ohio, enrolling her in a private school. Lolita's interest in boys gives him no peace, however, and their relationship becomes strained as she chafes at his interference. When he discovers that Lolita has used the cover of her performance in a school play for meetings with an unknown man, Humbert takes her from school. They embark on a cross-country trip, but Humbert suspects that they are being followed. Both fall ill, and Lolita, hospitalized, disappears one night from her hospital room. Some time later, Humbert receives a letter from Lolita in which she reveals that she is married and pregnant and asks for financial help. When he visits her, she tells him that she left him for Quilty, who, in various disguises, pursued and tormented Humbert wherever he went with Lolita. Quilty abandoned the girl when she balked at becoming part of his "weird" circle, and she married a younger man. Humbert, his pride gone, begs her to come back to him, but she refuses, preferring to remain with her husband. His world at an end, Humbert gives Lolita all of his money and then goes to find Quilty. [An epilog explains that Humbert dies of a heart attack in prison.]