Lolita

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This book is intended to provide help for students studying the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. It contains links to websites and reviews on this Novel, a guide to the French used in the novel, and any other material which might be helpful in better understanding this novel.

Guide to Vocabulary (incomplete)[edit]

  • Foreword
    • Preambulates: To walk before.
    • Coronary thrombosis: A blood clot inside the heart vessels; a type of heart attack.
    • Solecism: Any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.
    • Tenacious: Characterized by keeping a firm hold.
    • Cognomen: Surname; nickname.
    • Sordid: Depraved; ignoble; morally base.
    • Exasperatingly: To irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely.
    • Etiolated: To cause to become weakened or sickly; drain of color or vigour.
    • Platitudinous: Characterized by platitudes; dull, flat, or trite.
    • Robust: Strong; healthy; hardy.
    • Philistine: A person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
    • Banal: Devoid of freshness or originality.
    • Qualm: An uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct; compunction.
    • Prude: A person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc.
    • Aphrodisiac: An agent that arouses sexual desire.
    • Apotheosis: The ideal example; epitome; quintessence.
    • Abject: Utterly hopeless, miserable, humiliating, or wretched; contemptible; despicable.
    • Jocularity: Characterized by joking.
    • Conducive: Contributive; helpful; favourable.
    • Capricious: Subject to, led by, or indicative of whim; prone to changing one’s mind without notice.
    • Tendresse: Tender feeling; fondness.
    • Expiatory: able to make atonement or restitution.
    • Poignant: Profoundly moving; touching; keen or strong in mental and/or emotional appeal.
    • Potent: Powerful; mighty
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
    • Peripheral: unimportant
    • Plurality: many
    • Solipsism: The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.
    • Imbibe: To take in
    • Assimilate: To incorporate
    • Paroxysm: A random or sudden outburst
    • Opalescent: Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of an opal.
    • Rampart: A defensive structure; a protective barrier; a bulwark.
    • Staid: Serious, organized, and professional; sober
    • Ribald: Coarsely, vulgarly or lewdly humorous
    • Typhus: One of several similar diseases caused by Rickettsiae bacteria. Not to be confused with typhoid fever.
  • Chapter 11
    • Fakir: A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms.
    • Heliotropic: The diurnal motion or seasonal motion of plant parts (flowers or leaves) in response to the direction of the sun.
    • Meretricious: Apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity; of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute.
    • Favonian: Of or relating to the west wind; mild.
    • Phocine: Of, relating to, or affecting the true (earless) seals.
    • Nates: Buttocks.
    • Stipple: (in drawing, painting, and engraving) mark (a surface) with numerous small dots or specks.
    • Dolor: A state of great sorrow or distress
    • Nacreous: Possessing the qualities of, consisting of, or abounding in nacre (mother-of-pearl); also iridescent
    • Nictate: Blink
    • Madrigal: A part-song for several voices, especially one of the Renaissance period, typically arranged in elaborate counterpoint and without instrumental accompaniment.
    • Iridescent: Showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.
    • Nonconcomitant: Not accompanying.
    • Belle-lettrist:
    • Eyetooth: A canine tooth, especially one in the upper jaw.
    • Limpid: Unclouded; clear.
    • Voluble: Speaking or spoken incessantly and fluently.
    • Gingham: Lightweight plain-woven cotton cloth, typically checked in white and a bold color.
    • Charshaf: The veil worn by Turkish women.
    • Iliac: Iliac refers to the ilium, which are the large, wing-like bones of the pelvis.
    • Catullus: a Roman lyric poet remembered for his love poems to an aristocratic Roman woman (84-54 BC).
    • Neuralgia: severe sharp pain along the course of a nerve.
    • Transom
    • Incondite: unpolished, unrefined, referring to literary works; jumbled, long winded.
    • Prepandial: done or taken before dinner or lunch.
    • Sonorous
    • Venery: sexual indulgence
    • Cretonnes: Cretonne is a heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers.
    • Acrosonic: This word was coined up by Nabokov and it meant a noise reaching to and past the sonic barrier.
    • Olisbos: a dildo.
    • Argent: the heraldic color silver or white.
    • Glaucous: sea-green or pale blue-green.
    • Tombal: like a tomb.
    • Lentigo: lentigo is a freckle; a small brownish spot on the skin. Plumbaceous umbrae: Latin for leaden shadows.
    • Mägdlein: German for little girl.
    • Purblind: having poor sight; slow in understanding.
    • Backfisch: German for an immature, adolescent girl; a teenager.
    • Lentor: slowness, slugishness; viscosity.
    • Antiphony: an antiphon is alternate, or responsive singing by a choir split into two parts; a piece sung or chanted in this manner.
    • Emeritus: retired or honorably discharged from active professional duty, but retaining the title of one’s office or position.
    • Callypygean: also spelled callipygian, it means pertaining to or having finely developed buttocks.
    • Clathrate: having a lattice-like structure pierced with holes or windows.
    • Swooners: Nabokov coined this word and uses it to refer to some type of clothing that was worth swooning over.
    • Trochaic: one stressed syllable followed by unstressed syllable.
    • Gouache: a thick, opaque watercolour paint; a painting made with this paint.
    • Inutile: lacking in utility or serviceability; not useful; unprofitable.
    • Samaras: a samara is a dry fruit with one or two flat wings attached to a seed, as on ash trees and maples.
    • Teleological: of or pertaining to teleology; showing evidence of design or purpose.
    • Canthus: either of the corners of the eye where the upper and lower eyelids meet.
    • Kurort: German for health resort, spa, watering place.
    • Lanugo: soft down or fine hair, specifically as covering the human fetus.
    • Pollex: Latin for thumb.
    • Viatic: of or relating to traveling, a road, or a way.
    • Natatoriums: a natatorium is a swimming pool, especially indoors.
    • Pavonine: like a peacock; iridescent.
    • Oculate: relating to the the eye.
    • Raffish: cheaply or showily vulgar in appearance or nature; tawdry; low-class; disreputable; vulgar.
    • Leporine: of, relating to, or resembling a hare or rabbit.
    • Salutory: Salutary. Unpleasant, but ultimately providing a useful lesson; promoting good health; wholesome; curative.
    • Orchideous: like an orchid.
    • Habitus: Latin for moral condition, state, disposition, character.
    • Mythopoeic: giving rise to myths.
    • Dackel: a dachshund.
    • Remises: carriage houses.
    • Envoy: An envoy (or envoi) is a short stanza at the end of a poem used either to address an imagined or actual person or to comment on the preceding body of the poem.
    • Ballade: not to be confused with ballad, a ballade is a a poem consisting of three stanzas and an envoy.
    • Tesselated: marked with little checks or squares, like tiles.
    • Tyros: a tyro is a novice: someone new to a field or activity.
    • Wimbles: a wimble is any of various hand tools for boring holes.
    • Syncope: in phonetics, syncope is the loss of one or more sounds from the interior of a word; especially, the loss of an unstressed vowel. Syncope is also a brief period of fainting or collapse.
    • Purling: gently murmuring, as a brook.
    • Alembics: an alembic is a kind of flask used by alchemists for distilling.
    • Fatamorganas: mirages.
    • Erlkönig: the king of the elves, from a poem where an elf king pursues a little boy traveling with his father.
    • Mordant: a substance used in dyeing to fix the coloring matter.
    • Gitanilla: little gypsy girl.
    • Maquette: a small model of an intended work, such as a sculpture or piece of architecture.
    • Telestically: with the projection of a purpose, with a definite end in view, inwardly expressed.
    • Logodaedaly: the arbitrary or capricious coining of words.
    • Logomancy: Nabokov's coined word, logo (word) plus -mancy (divination).
    • Undinist: a person who derives sexual pleasure from urine and urination.
    • Bodkin: a dagger or stiletto.
    • Ancilla: accessory, aid.
    • Appended: Append means to hang or attach to, as by a string, so that the thing is suspended; to add, as an accessory to the principal thing; to annex; as, notes appended to a chapter.
    • Lithophanic: lithophane is a porcelain panel with a relief decoration that is visible when light passes through it.
    • Turpid: Foul; base; wicked; disgraceful.
    • Physiognomization: Physiognomy is the art of judging human character from facial features; divination based on facial features.
    • Penele: a coined word, penele means penis-like.
    • Selenian: of or relating to the moon.
    • Flavid: yellowish or tawny.
    • Herculanita: heroin.
    • Palearctic and Nearctic: one of the four world faunal regions which is subdivided into the Palearctic (Europe and Asia) and the Nearctic (North America).
  • Chapter 17
    • Verisimilitude: the appearance of being true or real
    • Incarnadine: a bright crimson or pinkish-red color
    • Eructation: a belch
  • Chapter 18
    • Vermeil
    • Contretemps: An unexpected and unfortunate occurrence
  • Chapter 19
    • Connubial: of or relating to marriage or the relationship of a married couple; conjugal.
    • Congeneric: of a related nature or origin.
    • Saporous: tasty.
  • Chapter 20
    • Duenna: an older woman acting as a governess and companion in charge of girls, especially in a Spanish family; a chaperone.

Guide to French (incomplete)[edit]

  • Foreword
    • No French phrases
  • Part One
    • Chapter 2
      • (p10) Mon cher petit papa: My dear little dad.
      • (p11) Lycée: The second and last stage of secondary education in the French educational system; high school.
    • Chapter 3
      • (p12) Plage: A sandy bathing beach at a seashore resort.
      • (p13) Chocolat glacé: Chocolate ice cream.
    • Chapter 5
      • (p15) Manqué: Lit. missed, might be used for someone who could have become something but didn't, or somebody who was a failure at something. In the case of the book it means more 'lacking'; he's referring to those who lack talent See the Wikipedia article on manqué for a full meaning.
      • (p16) Histoire Abrégée de la poésie anglaise: A Brief History of English Poetry.
      • (p20) Enfant charmante et fourbe: Charming and cheating child
    • Chapter 6
      • (p21) Frétillement: wriggling.
      • (p21) Cent: one hundred.
      • (p21) Tant pis: too bad.
      • (p21) Monsieur: sir, mister; a John (patronizer of prostitutes).
      • (p22) Bidet: A fixture similar in design to a toilet that is straddled for washing the genitals and the anal area.
      • (p22) Petit Cadeau: small gift (the money exchanged).
      • (p22) Dix-huit: Eighteen.
      • (p22) Oui, ce n'est pas bien: Yes, this is not good.
      • (p22) Grues: cranes; slang for prostitute, from the observation that cranes (both the bird and the lifting machine), like prostitutes on the street corner, stand on one leg.
      • (p22) Il était malin, celui qui a inventé ce truc-là: The one who invented that thing was clever.
      • (p22) Posé un lapin: to stand someone up (for a date).
      • (p22) Tu est bien gentil de dire ça: You are very kind to say that.
      • (p22) Avant qu'on se couche: Before we lay down (before we have sex).
      • (p23) Je vais m'acheter des bas: I'm going to buy myself some stockings.
      • (p23) Regardez-moi cette belle brune: Do look at that beautiful brunette.
      • (p23) Qui pourrait arranger la chose: Who could arrange the thing.
      • (p24) Son argent: Her money.
      • (p24) Lui: Him.
    • Chapter 7
      • (p25) Mes malheurs: My misfortunes.
      • (p25) Français moyen: Average Frenchman.
    • Chapter 8
      • (p25) Pot-au-feu: Beef stew.
      • (p25) À la gamine: Like a playful, mischievous girl.
      • (p26) mairie: Town/City hall.
      • (p26) baba: (type of cake).
      • (p26) Paris-Soir: (large-circulation daily newspaper in Paris, France from 1923-1944).
      • (p27) Mon oncle d'Amérique: My uncle from America.
      • (p27) préfecture: (administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries and within some international church structures).
      • (p28) Mais qui est-ce?: But who is it?
      • (p28) Jean Christophe:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Christophe
      • (p29) j'ai denabbde pardonne: excuse me.
      • (p29) est-ce que j'ai puis: I wish I could do it.
      • (p29) le gredin: The rogue/rascal.
    • Chapter 10
      • fruit vert: green fruit.
      • Au fond, ça m'est bien égal: I don't care either way.
    • Chapter 11
      • En escalier: On stairs.
      • Delectatio morosa: A pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images.
      • Je m'imagine cela: I can imagine that.
      • Ne montrez pas vos zhambes: Don't show your legs.
      • Le mot juste: The perfectly appropriate word or phrase for the situation.
      • La vermeillette fente: the ruby slit (vulva).
      • Un petit mont feutré de mousse délicate: a felt hillock of delicate mousse (woman's hairy but silky sexual organ).
      • Tracé sur le milieu d'un fillet escarlatte
      • Ces matins gris si doux: These gray mornings, so soft
      • Mais allez-y, allez-y: But ahead, ahead
      • Manège: The art of training and riding horses.
    • Chapter 17
      • Pavor nocturnus: Night terrors
      • Peine forte et dure: Hard and forceful punishment
      • Quel mot: What word
      • Une petite attention
      • Soi disant: Self-styled
      • Chéri: Beloved

Online Resources[edit]