The composing of Lolita finished at the spring of 1954. Harmonizing to its writer, Vladimir Nabokov said “ one time or twice I was on the point of firing the unfinished bill of exchange. ” But he stopped by the idea that “ the shade of the destroyed book would stalk my filed for the remainder of my life. ” Fortunately, Lolita survived, or readers and critics would lose how many interesting and valuable subjects. The ground why Nabokov wanted to destruct his bill of exchange he seemed to explicate less. However, being about established wholly on the text, Lolita is a great challenge to imaginativeness. But it is an undeniable truth that no affair in what facet, this novel entitles the award of being a authoritative plant. And its obstructed publication pained a dramatic colour for its forte. Interestingly, from being banned book originally to popular book soon, Lolita ‘s contradictory development possesses the self-contradictory significances of the fresh itself. Although, Nabokov declares in On a Book Entitled Lolita that “ I am neither a reader nor a author of didactic fiction, and, despite John Ray ‘s averment, Lolita has no moral in tow, For me a work of fiction exists merely in so far as it affords me what I shall bluffly name aesthetic cloud nine ” ( Nabokov 332 ) , those treatment on Lolita ‘s morality by reader or critics are non all bunk. That is to state, Lolita ‘s esthetic and moral significances are non antithetical wholly. Therefore, why non following Nabokov to see how he makes text self-subversive and deconstructive, is n’t it besides an interesting manner of reading?
The preface of Lolita should non be seen as an independent portion of novel. Actually, this portion non merely is the beginning of the novel, but besides foretells the characteristics of the novel. Based on the definition: “ A foreword or preface is written either by the writer, explicating his intent of composing the book and how it is written, or by person else doing an debut to the book and giving his ain remarks ” ( The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary [ Chinese-English Edition ] 2166 ) .However, being an artistic creative activity, the preface of Lolita is written by John Ray, who is, harmonizing to Nabokov, his “ caricature of suave John Ray ” ( Nabokov 329 ) . As an indispensible portion of the novel it foretells some controversial focal points of fresh itself, such as its truthfulness and significance. Here comes the first inquiry: why they are controversial. It is because that the preface every bit good as the fresh possesses many uncertainnesss and contradictoriness which lead to its self-subversive nature. This “ self-subversive ” is the psyche of deconstruction, it focuses its readers on a universe of experience already narrated by a decentered and undetermined profuseness of information, narratives, yet a universe still dominated by a damaged discourse of Ray. M.H. Abrams ‘s words points out straight: “ no text is capable of stand foring determinately, far less of showing the ‘truth ‘ about any topic ” ( M.H. Abrams 203 ) . Hence, through analysing and break uping the uncertainness of the preface of Lolita in deconstructive position, possibly a strict reading activity is more meaningful than seeking intending itself.
For the benefit of analysing, its six paragraphs is divided into three parts and each of them severally subverts the Ray ‘s credibleness, Lolita ‘s actuality and scientific significance. Separate one is the first paragraph. Here, Ray appears as editor of the original manuscript of Lolita. However, his entitlement to make so is non decided by Humbert himself for at that clip Humbert has passed off. But Humbert ‘s attorney Mr. Clark chooses Ray to redact the bill of exchange. So, in order to demo his competency to make this undertaking, Ray gives out such a proud “ fact ” that his book Do the Senses make Sense? Just have been awarded the Poling Prize and if non this manuscript had “ been permitted to come under my reading lamp ” ( Nabokov 3 ) , Humbert ‘s offense motivation may still be a enigma. Obviously, Ray intends to utilize this information as an grounds to turn out his ability. However, despite the unusual “ Punting Prize ” , his awarded work “ Make the Senses make Sense? ” is besides confounding for the self-contradictory significances of “ sense ” which can intend both “ feeling ” and “ ground ” . No affair which one is more appropriate for this rubric or may be both of them are all right, Ray ‘s attitude toward “ sense ” is obscure anyhow. If Ray fails to do a clear point of view of “ sense ” ( to do certain he stands by ground or feeling ) , it is stainless with uncertainty whether he is in fact giving an indifferent studies and all his remarks even his entitlement will by in inquiry. For on one manus, how such a individual could be trusted to do a sound, persuasive and nonsubjective preface? On the other manus, there is a item can non be neglected is that Mr. Clark is Ray ‘s good friend and relation. Therefore, in a great grade, Ray ‘s entitlement to be the editor for Humbert ‘s manuscript does non lend to his academic influence but to his closed association with Mr. Clark. Taken these two together, Ray ‘s entitlement or credibleness is doubtful. Originally, those two groundss are used by Ray to increase his dependability. Ironically, both of them interrupt this sort of trustingness and lead to his incredibleness. It is non Ray ‘s failure to turn out his ability but a textual trap set up by Nabokov. In surface, Ray ‘s words are sensible and trusting ; in deep, merely his words betray himself. Therefore, from credibleness to undependability, the first brace of binary resistance comes out. Is it necessary to expose this sort of binary resistance in text? The reply is positive-with the disintegration of the binary resistance, the “ deep construction ” or the implicit in cosmopolitan significance of structural linguistics disappears ( Zhu Gang 202 ) . Yet, the presence of undependability is non to deny the credibleness but to thin monism. The undermentioned parts will expose the other two braces of binary resistances
Part two contains paragraph two to paragraph four. In this portion, Ray lists many “ facts ” to do it apparently existent that Humbert ‘s narrative is non a notional innovation but an existent event. In one manner, Ray takes advantage of the pragmatism of newspaper study to utilize it as grounds: “ Mentions to ‘H.H. ”s offense may be looked up by the inquisitive in the day-to-day documents for September-October 1952. ” ( Nabokov 3 ) However, the name of that “ day-to-day paper ” is non mentioned, which makes the reality of narrative remains a complete enigma for the absence of persuasive stuff grounds. Furthermore, as for human testimony, Ray refers to a adult male called “ Mr. ‘Windnuller ‘ “ who is a abode from “ ‘Ramsdale ‘ “ that is the chief scene of the narrative. Here both “ Windnuller ” and “ Ramsdale ” are added citation grade in the text, which implies that “ Windnuller ” merely serve as a substitutive name in the visible radiation of “ the long shadow of this sorry and seamy concern should non make the community to which he is proud to belong. ” ( Nabokov 4 ) It sounds sensible and it seems existent that there so has been a community where one time lived a adult male named Humbert whose behaviors may destruct the good repute of that community. What ‘s more, this “ Mr. Windnuller ” agrees to offer a few inside informations about the “ fates of ‘real ‘ people beyond the ‘true ‘ narrative ” ( Nabokov 4 ) . Here, the citation Markss of “ ‘real ‘ “ and “ ‘true ‘ “ was added by Ray itself. Harmonizing to the definition: citation Markss ; brace of punctuation Markss used to bespeak the beginning and the terminal of a citation, in which the exact wording of another text is straight cited, and besides on occasion used to foreground the addressed object or words of particular significance ” ( The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary [ Chinese-English Edition ] 2291 ) . Obviously, the “ existent ” and “ true ” here have the particular significances, likely the opposite significances. Since Ray himself has denied the truth of “ existent people beyond the true narrative ” , why at the same time, he stains himself to supply a human testimony to stress the genuineness of the narrative itself? It is truly merely for the consideration of “ antique ” reader? Whatever it is, how much problem the desire to dramatise such descriptive item can do. Ray ‘s backbreaking but bootless work takes a reversed consequence. Not merely does Ray neglect in turn outing the genuineness of Lolita, but places the truthfulness of people and narrative of Lolita in inquiry and uncertainness. Besides, on the intent of explicating the catholicity of Humbert ‘s instance, Ray references Dr. Blanche Schwaramann who makes a “ conservative ” estimation that “ at least 12 per centum of American grownup males enjoy annually, in one manner or another, the particular experience ‘H.H. ‘ describes with such desperation ” ( Nabokov 4 ) . Here, the usage of statistics may take an important consequence, but the phrase “ conservative estimation ” destroys this sense of authorization, for a given statistics should be affirmatory or at least, its uncertainness should non be exposed. In add-on, Dr. Blanche Schwaramann is merely a “ verbal communicating ” . Thus, wholly he says becomes a bubble. Take together, the unidentified “ Mr. ‘Windnuller ‘ “ and indiscernible “ Dr. Blanche Schwaramann ” every bit good as the arbitrary “ day-to-day paper ” conveying out the 2nd brace of binary resistance: Lolita ‘s authenticity/fictionality.
Part three is the last two paragraphs. This portion is about Ray ‘s rating on Lolita. Actually, in the old portion, Ray has suggested his inclination. For the inexplicit description of state of affairs and emotion in Lolita, Ray admits that its artistic creative activity make it different from the cliche of conventional erotica. Well, as for those “ sexy scenes ” , they are “ the most strictly functional 1s in the development of a tragic narrative be givening unswervingly to nil less than a moral ideal ” ( Nabokov 4 ) . Ray uses the word “ moral ideal ” to corroborate the ethical value of Lolita. And yet, in portion three Ray ‘s attitude towards Lolita ‘s nature becomes equivocal, he remarks that “ a great work of art is of class ever original, and therefore by its really nature should come as a more or less lurid surprise ” ( Nabokov 5 ) . In this sense, Ray uses “ a great word of art ” to depict Lolita. Thus, the cardinal judgement is indecisive. Otherwise stated, Ray fails to trap down the value of Lolita, merely as he says in the undermentioned paragraph that:
As a instance history, ‘Lolita ‘ will go, no uncertainty, a authoritative in psychiatric circles. As a work of art, it transcends its expiative facets ; and still more of import to us than scientific significance and literary worth, is the ethical of import the book should hold on the serious readeraˆ¦ ” ( Nabokov 5 )
It is ambivalent that whether its value is scientific or literary or ethical or all of them. On one manus, Ray intends to turn out the genuineness of the narrative to bring forth its scientific or ethical value ; on the other manus, the interior contradiction of these groundss exposes their absence and unmasks the presence of fiction and artistic significance of the novel. This is ambiguity merely like those adjectives used to depict Humber. In inactive manner, he is “ atrocious ” , “ abject ” , “ craft ” and “ unnatural ” ; in positive manner, he is a magician so attractive that make reader absorbed in book while hating its writer. In the mechanical certainty of binary idea, when Ray confirms one facet he should hold negative another 1. However, Ray does non deny any of them. Although at the terminal of the preface, Ray emphasizes the moral worth of Lolita, do non disregard the fact that Ray ‘s credibleness and the narrative ‘s reality is still in inquiry. And the most obvious cause of failure comes when there is a gross disparity between the claims to competency of the Ray himself and the trashiness of his presented narrative and it is hastened to explicate that whether Ray ‘s concluding sum-up in the preface is to be taken earnestly or ironically. Therefore, how such a controversial narrative can set about the duty of moral instruction? At last, the 3rd brace of binary resistance is scientific /artistic ( or didactic and artistic ) worth.
Hence, three braces of binary resistance are exposed: Ray ‘s credibility/unreliability, novel ‘s authenticity/fictionality and scientific/artistic worth. In each of them, the former originally plays the functional function as “ being centre ” . It both allows for and limits the “ presence ” of the later. The “ centre ” dominates the construction of text. But harmonizing to Derrida the construction is “ a metaphor for any ‘presence ‘ with a centre ” ( Zhu Gang 202 ) and “ any such presence is a map of meaning, actualized by linguistic communication. Language, in this deconstructive discourse, is a system of difference in its utmost signifier ” ( Zhu Gang 202 ) . That is to state, no form has a fixed signified significance, since this signified is no more than a web of differences. The ultimate significance or the centre can ne’er be arrived. Since the rhetorical nature of linguistic communication makes text ever deconstructing itself. Therefore, it is impossible to trap down the fixed significance of this preface. In face of such sort of text, reading should be co-ordinate with the self-subversion of text. In this preface, Ray becomes the form of the text. It is possible to inquire such native inquiry as what Ray ‘s ( or Nabokov ‘s ) motivations may hold been in pull stringsing linguistic communication in this manner: is he gulling himself, or is he represented as gulling himself every bit good as gulling reader into believing that those three braces of binary resistance are easy to be unit? In these three braces of binary resistances, the looking meaning of the former really contains all nonpresent significances which differ from the present significances. And those “ absent ” significances are unobtrusive. Until the present significance finishes the self-subversion, the absent significance is exposed. Actually, credibleness, genuineness and scientific worth are ne’er “ present ” to us in their ain individuality. On the other manus, neither can these identifying characteristics be said to be purely “ absent ” . All of them are a sort of “ nominal ” presence. But, it does non intend they are nonmeaningful, merely by the debut of the “ nominal ” presence, the absence can look. More significantly, the procedure of debut coatings the self-subversion and deconstruction. The effect, harmonizing to Derrida, is that we can ne’er hold a determinate, or decidable, present significance ; he asserts, nevertheless, that the differential drama of linguistic communication does bring forth illusive “ effects ” of determinable significances. However, in the binary resistance in the Western metaphysical tradition, Deconstructive unfavorable judgment is non opposing the 1 with the other, merely because all the elements in the construction are complimentary instead than reciprocally sole.
In this preface every bit good as the whole novel when reading is dramatized, non as an affectional reaction to what linguistic communication does, but as an affectional reaction to the impossibleness of cognizing what it might up to be. Its self-subversive nature or deconstruction, merely as Paul de Man said “ is non something we have added to the text but it constituted the text in the first topographic point ” and “ by reading the text as we did, we merely seeking to come closer to being every bit strict as a reader as the writer had to be in order to compose the sentence in the first topographic point ” ( Paul de Man 362 ) . Therefore, it encourages misreading. And the sentiment of this paper could be viewed as a sort of misreading which is decided by “ indeterminables ” of “ decentered ” text. Meanwhile, the rhetoric of linguistic communication, metaphor, false and decision of context every bit good as the contradiction and self-subversive nature of text are all radically lead to misreading. Possibly, one of the attractive forces of Lolita is its ambiguity. This ambiguity possesses multiple purposes and provides multiple potencies of misreading. And its ability to do readers experience unease and can non assist re-reading it once more and once more. Here, Booth ‘s rating on Lolita possibly edifying: possibly our life is morally equivocal ; this book makes it look even more so-it throws us even more off balance, presumptively, than we were before-and hence its really deficiency of lucidity is a virtuousness. ( Booth 372 ) In the terminal, use Lolita ‘s transcribers Yu Xiaodan ‘s remarks as and stoping merely like a capturing individual, such an enchanted book will ne’er neglect to be discussed once more and once more for its multiple positions of reading.