The Philosophy Of Aesthetic Bliss: A Marxist Reading Of Nabakov's Lolita

Date of Graduation

Summer 1996


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Wayne Blackmon


In this thesis I will demonstrate, that, far from being entirely removed from social or political ideologies, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is actually a very emphatic cultural statement. Using the theories of Fredric Jameson, I will examine the novel in terms of what it has to say about social relations, uncovering the inescapable political agenda. Lolita is a Modernist novel further rooted in the tradition of Russian Symbolism, both movements lending it a backward-looking desire for an older and more readily defined social order. Nabokov was essentially a conservative elitiest, encouraging the MOdernist separation of popular aret and "great art" possessing the verities of Truth, Beauty, and Art. In addition to Jameson, I will make use of Nabokov's own writings and the long and varied body of criticism on Lolita, althought most often to either contradict them (in Nobokov's case) or to explain why they do not go far enough or serve any real purpose (as is the case with the majority of the criticism).

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


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