Monday, March 23, 2009

Healthy sexuality

There is no morality in beauty. Beauty does not exist because it is "good", but because it is. A cream colored rose does not recognize itself as beautiful any more than puppy recognizes that it's cute. In writing Lolita, Nabokov describes Lolita's "honeyed limbs" and "chestnut curls" in a way that invokes such a strong image of barely ripening sensuality that one can almost smell the warmth on her skin. I read this, at first horrified and then I begin to become more drawn in by his lush descriptors. I read on, actually unable to put the book down for fear that our dear Lo's magic would disapear and the experience would fade into another dull tale of obsession and longing that so permeated my high school reading list. I felt my skin growing hot at Humbert Humbert's first release and then I pulled myself out of the microcosm for just one moment to eat a peanut butter sandwich and realized "she's a child". I was disgusted with myself. I had allowed myself to become so absorbed into Nabokov's mastery that I wasn't indentifying with a pedophile. I was a pedophile. (Disclaimer: only in Nabokov's world, not in reality..I have quite healthy sexuality by society's standards.) This is what Nabokov meant when he said he didn't want the reader to bring their own biases into a work of fiction, there is no place for reality here. Lolita is beautiful. Lolita is not moral. Nabokov was a genius.

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