Lolita (term)

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Lolita and loli are terms used to portray young girls as "precociously seductive."[1] The term derives from Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita, which describes the narrator's sexual obsession with and subsequent rape of a 12-year-old child named Dolores, whose nickname was Lolita.[2]

Justifying his attraction to Lolita, Humbert Humbert claims that it was a natural response to the "demoniac" nature of children who attract him:[3]

Now I wish to introduce the following idea. Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as 'nymphets.'[3]

In the marketing of pornography, "lolita" is used to refer to the sexualized presentation of a young girl, frequently one who has only recently reached the age of consent, appears to be younger than the age of consent, or child exploitation material depicting the sexual abuse of children.[4]

Scholarly discussion[edit]

Eric Lemay of Northwestern University writes:

The human child, the one noticed by non-nymphomaniacs, answers to other names, "Lo," "Lola," "Dolly," and, least alluring of all, "Dolores." "But in my arms," asserts Humbert, "she was always Lolita." And in his arms or out, "Lolita" was always the creation of Humbert's craven self... The Siren-like Humbert sings a song of himself, to himself, and titles that self and that song "Lolita." ... To transform Dolores into Lolita, to seal this sad adolescent within his musky self, Humbert must deny her her humanity.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lolita" in Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. ^ Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Vintage International, 1955. ISBN 0-679-72316-1.
  3. ^ a b Nabokov, Vladimir (1991). Alfred Appel, ed. The Annotated Lolita. Random House. ISBN 0679727299.
  4. ^ "Protecting our children from abuse and neglect", American Psychological Association. Retrieved 20 March 2016
  5. ^ Lemay, Eric. "Dolorous Laughter". p. 2. Retrieved 2 October 2012.

External links[edit]