Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inexhaustible Moments of 1955, Part 3

1955 blogging, part 3 of 5
Humbert/Quilty, 1955

In these long breaks between the signature 21 Essays series, I thought I might try a new feature focused on possibilities for future series.  I’ll spin the roulette wheel to pick a year (or set of years) and then brainstorm on some potential essay topics.

So... first up on the random year generator:  1955.  And here’s my third 1955 series possibility:  21 essays on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

“Where the devil did you get her?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I said: the weather is getting better.”
“Seems so.”
“Who’s the lassie?”
“My daughter.”
“You lie—she’s not.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I said:  July was hot…”
                                   Lolita, Chapter 28
                                   Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita is still the yardstick that I measure novels by.  The timing was right, I guess.  I read it during the summer between high school and college, a time when I was particularly susceptible to the intoxicating swirl of voluptuous language and forbidden subject matter.  It made me want to be a writer.  Maybe I could repay the favor with essays on some focused item in Lolita, for instance 21 essays on the ever-enigmatic Clare Quilty (who comments on the weather in the prose poem above).

Thanks to Dan Kocher who suggested Lolita!  The book was published in Paris in 1955, but still had to overcome some hurdles before making it to American bookstores.  Paris publication counts, so I happily recognize it here.

Over the next two days, I’ll be proposing some more 1955 ideas (with no promises that I’ll necessarily be getting to any of them…)  But I’m wide open to other suggestions.  Any ideas for 1955 movies, books, short stories, poems, songs, or other cultural artifacts that might inspire a good 21 Essays series?

Next blog series:  6 essays on Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929)
as part of the  “For the Love of Film”
Film Preservation Blogathon
May 13-18, 2012

© 2012 Lee Price

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