Lolita in the Afterlife


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A vibrant collection of sharp and essential modern pieces on the perennially controversial Lolita, by a wide range of celebrated writers, edited by the daughter of Lolita's original publisher.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Jenny Minton Quigley

Witness for the Defense: My Father and Lolita, Emily Mortimer
Vera and Lo, Stacy Schiff
On the Road with Humbert and Lolita, Ian Frazier
Ugly Beautiful, Roxane Gay
Badge of Honor, Susan Choi
Watching the Detective, Laura Lippman
Lolita Diary, Alexander Chee
Delectatio Morosa, Lauren Groff
Lolita, #MeToo, and Myself, Morgan Jerkins
Lolita, Chamonix, France, 2018, Andre Dubus III
The Showgirl Who Discovered Lolita, Sarah Weinman
Fashion's Lolita; Fragile, Subversive, and a Paean to White Femininity, Robin Givhan
Lolita and the Empathetic Imagination, Jim Shepard
How Lolita Freed Me from My Own Humbert, Bindu Bansinath
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Christina Baker Kline
Charmed, Victor LaValle
They Stay the Same Age, Sloane Crosley
Dear Sugar, Cheryl Strayed
What We Talk About When We Talk About Lolita, Lila Azam Zanganeh
Nabokov's Rocking Chair: Lolita at the Movies, Tom Bissell
Lo and Behold, Jill Kargman
Acquiring Lolita's Language, Aleksandar Hemon
Charlotte's Complaint, Jessica Shattuck
Lolita in the Time of Trigger Warnings, Erika L. Sanchez
Maison Nymphette, Kate Elizabeth Russell
A Living Story of Lolita in Iraq, Zainab Salbi
The Lollipop Room, Kira von Eichel
The Anti-Monster, Claire Dederer
Lolita in Lockdown, Dani Shapiro
I Cannot Get Out Said the Starling, Mary Gaitskill


About the Editor
About the Contributors

About the Author

JENNY MINTON QUIGLEY is a writer and editor. She is the series editor for The Best Short Stories of The Year- The O. Henry Prize Winners, and the author of a memoir, The Early Birds. She is the daughter of Walter J. Minton, the storied former president and publisher of G. P. Putnam's Sons, who first dared to publish Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov in the United States in 1958. A former book editor at several Random House imprints, Minton Quigley lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, with her husband, sons, and dogs.


One of the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal

"An engrossing collection of smart and thoughtful essays. . . . A number of books about Nabokov and Lolita have been published in the last few years, but Lolita in the Afterlife seems to be the first to wholly reassess the work's legacy as our society grapples with the harm caused by white male privilege and the age-old propensity to look the other way. All tallied, the book's 30 essays (as well as Quigley's own incisive introduction) are, by necessity, contradictory, bracing, uncomfortable, thought provoking, informative, entertaining and, in the end, inconclusive-not unlike Lolita itself."

"In the six decades since its publication, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita continues to fascinate and disgust. Editor Quigley's father took the risk in 1958 of publishing Lolita in the United States despite backlash and censorship threats. The 30 essays in this work present various aspects of Lolita, including a profile of the showgirl who first introduced the book to the American publishing world, its two film adaptations, its influence on modern music, and online message boards devoted to "nymphet culture" inspired by the novel. . . . The superb essays found in this book demonstrate the enduring impact of this novel. Highly recommended for readers interested in Lolita and Nabokov."
-Library Journal (starred review)

"A sparkling collection of essays about the controversial novel. Lolita is personal for Minton Quigley, a writer, editor, and daughter of Walter Minton, the Putnam president who first published the novel in the U.S. in 1958. . . . A compendious, wide-ranging collection of sharp, thoughtful essays."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Jenny Minton Quigley brings together many of the most accomplished scholars of today in her new collection dedicated to deciphering the long-term impact of the 20th century's most controversial novel. Featuring essays from Sarah Weinman, Roxane Gay, Kate Elizabeth Russell, and many more, Lolita in the Afterlife is a thoughtful new addition to Nabokov scholarship that reaches deep into the American psyche."
-Crime Reads

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