This is my suggestion about reading Lolita - the first time, delve into it without the benefit of annotations. Read an edition other than Appels, or - if youre a stronger person than I am - simply ignore the numbers in the margin. Digest it for what it is, explore the story, create opinions and thoughts in your own mind. Even the most learned scholar will feel ignorant at times - Nabokov is, unquestionably, a genius of language and allusions - but I cannot stress enough how vital it is to read this book as an outsider. Allow a few months to go by. And then delve heartily into this annotated edition. The insights provided by Appel are gems, and makes an entirely new experience of the story. Hes a passionate scholar and that is reflected in his careful detail, his concern with Nabokovs input, and his personal voice coming though the notes. Some of the notes hit you over the head, a few things seem glossed over, and his obsession with Nabokovs other works get slightly tedious to someone who isnt as dedicated to the author as Appel is. However, on the whole, the notes are absolutely precious and give a depth to the book that is continually lurking behind the surface during a first-time "ignorant" reading. I would have been horribly disappointed at the plot disclosures, as well as terribly confused at times, if I had read this version when I first read the book. But to the reader "in-the-know," Nabokovs genius shines through, as does his humor and sly cleverness that dont neccessarily pop out at first. The notes range from the purely practical (translations of the interspersed French phrases) to the explanatory (literary history is invoked at the most unlikelist of places) to the anecdotal (Nabokovs own musings, his expertise in entemology, etc). But take my advice - read it first without the notes, and then go back. Youll thank me!
Tags: V.Nabokov People