40. Lolita

Lolita is a world famous novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955, in Paris. Later it was translated to Russian and published in 1958 in New York.

The novel is famous for its controversial theme in which a middle aged man Humbert Humbert becomes obsessed worth a 12 year old Dolores Haze. The other names of Dolores are Dolly, Lolita, Lola and LO!

The plot of the novel is the story of Florence Sally Horner who was abducted from new Jersey in 1948 by a child molester. At the age of eleven, Sally stole a 5 cent note book in Camden, New Jersey, USA.

Frank La Salle, a 50 year old mechanic caught her stealing. He posed as an agent of FBI and threatened to send her ” to place for girls like you”. He abducted the girl and spent twenty one months traveling with her to different American states, holding her as a sex slave!

Several details of Sally Horner and Dolly Haze rhyme and seem to run almost parallel! Both Sally and Dolly were nice looking youngsters; both had widowed mother and both had brown hair. Lolita’s Florentine hands and breasts evoke the memory of “Florence” -the first name of Sally.

Copying La Salle, Humbert too terrorizes his victim. He even alludes to the case of Frank La Salle. Both Frank and Humbert take the girls to the different states of USA. Both the girls die very young. Sally dies in a car accident and Dolly dies during the child birth.

The appearances and names of the girls as the well as the plots are strikingly similar. No doubt the Lolita of Nabokov’s novel is Sally Horner of New Jersey.

Visalakshi Ramani


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