Lolita's Nietzchean Morality

Rodgers, Michael (2011). Lolita's Nietzchean Morality. Philosophy and Literature, 35(1) pp. 104–120.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/phl.2011.0012

Abstract

This essay wakes the sleeping dog that is Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Rejecting the critical consensus suggesting that it has the ability to educate morally its readers, this essay, instead, heralds the idea that Lolita is a critique of morality. Focusing on the text's similarities with Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy, I aim to negate the various interpretations that argue that Nabokov's cause célèbre houses a traditionally virtuous morality. By examining Nabokov's literary technique and illustrating how this, at a meta-level, echoes Nietzsche's philosophy of a "transvaluation of all values," I argue that Lolita forces readers to inhabit a disorientating Nietzschean world.

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