In 2003, Iranian expatriate Azar Nafisi published the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran about a covert women's reading group. In an NPR interview, Nafisi contrasts the sorrowful and seductive sides of Dolores/Lolita's character. She notes: "Because her name is not Lolita, her real name is Dolores which as you know in Latin means dolour, so her real name is associated with sorrow and with anguish and with innocence, while Lolita becomes a sort of light-headed, seductive, and airy name. The Lolita of our novel is both of these at the same time and in our culture here today we only associate it with one aspect of that little girl and the crassest interpretation of her." Following Nafisi's comments, the NPR interviewer, Madeleine Brand, lists as embodiments of the latter side of Lolita "the Long Island Lolita, Britney Spears, the Olsen twins, and Sue Lyon in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita."
In 1958, Dorothy Parker described the novel as "the engrossing, anguished story of a man, a man of taste and culture, who can love only little girls" and Lolita as "a dreadful little creature, selfish, hard, vulgar, and foul-tempered." In 1959, novelist Robertson Davies wrote that the theme of Lolita is "not the corruption of an innocent child by a cunning adult, but the exploitation of a weak adult by a corrupt child. This is no pretty theme, but it is one with which social workers, magistrates and psychiatrists are familiar."
European professor Humbert lost his mother when he was three, and his true love Annabel when they were both thirteen. These events left a tragic mark, and during his college years he developed a taste for young girls. Rather than act upon this lust, he stuck to young looking prostitutes until he met his first wife, Valeria, whom he married basically to keep him from acting upon these unnatural desires. After mistreating her, she divorced him and left with her lover. Humbert embarks on a new life in America; he decides to rent rooms from Charlotte Haze, specifically because she has a twelve-year-old daughter. 2b1af7f3a8