Modernism and Postmodernism in Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita"
The "nymphet" seen as a modernist feature is a form of art, as well as his love for her, which is not physical love but mainly a love for beauty and innocence.
There is a focus on the inner world, the world seen through his eyes. Humbert is a typical modern character: sensitive, an artist.
He tries to let the reader understand his mind, he is completely aware of his alienation with the world and he tries to separate and define the positive and the negative in him.
The novel is an innovation, beginning with the theme, treating another kind of love, a hidden love and an outcast. Humbert is the outcast type in the view of the society.
"A common motif in modernism is that of an alienated individual--a dysfunctional individual trying in vain to make sense of a predominantly urban and fragmented society". (A.-ML)
" The existentialist 'subject' of modernity, is no longer a clearly defined individual, but a 'schizophrenic', multiple character."(HKU).
Humbert is a complex character in a continuous attempt to prove himself as being a good person, to let the reader know that despite his hidden problems he is capable of reasoning and love.
The beastly and the beauty, as he says, are two parts of himself, and throughout the novel he tries to draw this line between them but never succeeds because they are mixed into one: a deranged "father", an insane " lover", evil and good blended forever.
The jury , since the reader knows Humbert is in jail as he is writing, can be the ones who will listen to his plea for murder, but can also be the actual reader, whom the narrator tries to convince of his lack of violence. The act of pedophilia is explained is detail from a subjective point of view, seen as harmless. The main character is convinced of the innocence