For its sheer creepiness and genius lyric discomfort — and the way we squirm in our seats whenever we read it.

Hardly had the car come to a standstill than Lolita positively flowed into my arms. Not daring, not daring let myself go — not even daring let myself realize that this (sweet wetness and trembling fire) was the beginning of the ineffable life which, ably assisted by fate, I had finally willed into being — not daring really kiss her, I touched her hot, opening lips with the utmost piety, tiny sips, nothing salacious; but she, with an impatient wriggle, pressed her mouth to mine so hard that I felt her big front teeth and shared in the peppermint taste of her saliva. I knew, of course, it was but an innocent game on her part, a bit of backfisch foolery in imitation of some simulacrum of fake romance, and since (as the psychotherapist, as well as the rapist, will tell you) the limits and rules of such girlish games are fluid, or at least too childishly subtle for the senior partner to grasp — I was dreadfully afraid I might go too far and cause her to start back in revulsion and terror.

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is a dark and daring story of obsessive love and transgression. Humbert Humbert's lust for his pubescent stepdaughter, Lolita, shocked readers when it was first published in the 1950s; yet the novel was also celebrated for its beautifully lyrical writing. Almost fifty years after its first publication, Lolita remains a powerful tale of perversion and love gone wrong.

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