Friday, September 27, 2019

Lolita and America …

… Little nothings: Nabokov’s road notes | Elsa Court | Granta Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… for months before Nabokov began work on the book, he took notes. Sitting at the back of public buses, he jotted down teenage slang, setting it aside for his unfortunate heroine. Nabokov was a non-driver, and so on family road trips his wife Véra acted as chauffeur. When Nabokov was not reading road maps, he would be collecting road signs, recording the repetitious names of the hotels and mocking their crass publicity materials, all of which filtered into the final book:
‘. . . all those Sunset Motels, U-Beam Cottages, Hillcrest Courts, Pine View Courts, Mountain View Courts, Skyline Courts, Park Plaza Courts, Green Acres, Mac’s Courts . . . Some motels had instructions pasted above the toilet . . . asking guests not to throw into its bowl garbage, beer cans, cartons, stillborn babies . . .’

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