Len, a typical loli. Not actually a Lolita character.

Vladimir Nabokov's wacky road-trip romance chronicling the misadventures of erudite pedophile Humbert Humbert and his stepdaughter/girlfriend/kidnappee Dolores Haze. Chock-full of convoluted wordplay, multilingual puns, and allusions to everything from entomology to Edgar Allen Poe. Originally written in English and set in the US, but had to be published in France as pornography because no one else would touch it. Nabokov himself pointed out that this is probably the main reason why parents don't name their daughters "Lolita" any more.

Adapted into two films, one by Stanley Kubrick, the other by Adrian Lyne. Other adaptations include the Broadway musical Lolita, My Love. Trope Namer for Elegant Gothic Lolita and Badass Lolita (now known as Little Miss Badass), even though this is not an example of either, and Lolicon, which it is.

Contains examples of:Edit

  • Author Avatar: Oddly, given his crimes and Nabokov's own opinion toward him, Humbert could count for this, being one of a number of Nabokov protagonists who like the author himself, is a highly cultured emigre.
  • Adaptation Decay: Some have criticized Kubrick's version of giving undue screentime to Quilty.
    • Kubrick's film was largely disliked because film restrictions at the time prevented him from devoting more screen time to the illicit affair between Humbert and Lolita. Kubrick went on record and said that had he known he would've been so restricted, he never would've made the film.
  • Affably Evil
  • Bottle Fairy: Rita, an alcoholic whom Humbert once described as "amiably drunk".
  • Children Are Innocent (subverted): Humbert is astonished by how much Lo already knows, even though a large part of his worldview revolves around the existence of a class of pubescent girls that are non-innocent by nature.
  • Completely Missing The Point: Some people actually sympathize with Humbert. No, really. As quoted by another writer, Lolita is "not the corruption of an innocent child by a cunning adult, but the exploitation of a weak adult by a corrupt child". I wish I was kidding.
    • There are also people who denounce the book because they think it's an attempt to portray pedophilia in a positive light (When in reality, Nabokov was trying to show the opposite). Seeing as Humbert is an Unreliable Narrator who often tries to gain the reader's sympathy and justify his actions, it's not too surprising that people misunderstand.
    • Then there's the third group of people who think the book is a beautiful love story. Misaimed Fandom indeed.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Over and over again; the narrator ascribes this to fate.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Dolores, who is quite sarcastic.
  • Death By Childbirth: Mrs. Richard F. Schiller AKA Lolita
  • Detective Drama (parodied)
  • Erotic Eating: In Adrian Lyne's version, Lo erotically sucks on bananas in the car to distract Humbert from Quilty.
  • The Film of the Book: Twice.
  • Freudian Excuse: H.H. has one of these, but neither he or the author really think it excuses him. You see, he is a pedophile because he fell in love when he was 12, but his 12-year-old girlfriend died and he never got over it.
  • Fille Fatale: Lolita in the book. H.H. even suspects her of trying to pimp her classmates to him.
  • Gratuitous French: Many characters, particularly Humbert.
    • Especially Humbert.
  • Harmful to Minors
  • Hikaru Genji Plan: on several levels. (Humbert actually muses on the possibility of impregnating Lolita with Lolita: The Next Generation.)
  • I Didn't Mean To Turn You On
  • I Am Not Shazam: The book popularized the term "lolita" for a sexually attractive young girl. However, in the novel, this is Humbert's nickname for Dolores, and her only. His name for her type is "nymphet".
  • In Medias Res: The film begins with Humbert shooting Quilty.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The book is presented as a memoir written by the main character written while he was in prison and published posthumously with names changed to protect the innocent.
  • Lolicon: The original, and the Trope Namer.
    • A lot of people also seem to fail to pick up the fact that this book is also a brutal DECONSTRUCTION of Lolicon.
  • Love at First Sight: One-way.
  • Love Hurts: Annabell Leigh and Poe references embodied by her.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Vladimir Nabokov hoped his readers were smart enough to see through all of Humbert's attempts at gaining sympathy, and realize what a sick and twisted man he is. Not all of them were.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse
  • Once More With Endnotes: The Annotated Lolita, with said annotations added by Alfred Appel, who had once been Nabokov's student at Cornell.
  • Perspective Flip - Lo's Diary. Would be a POV Sequel, except that it was written by Pia Pera and not Nabokov (whose family was less than pleased about it).
  • Punny Name/Meaningful Name: Lolita's name puns on her given name "Dolores" (Latin: pain) and the variation Dolly (objectification), while Humbert's name puns on the French word for "shadow" and the Spanish word for "man" — two apt descriptors for him.
  • Purple Prose: to ridiculous levels- sort of justified, since Hummy's trying to make himself seem more sympathetic. If anything, it just makes him creepier.
  • Repetitive Name: Humbert Humbert
  • Significant Anagram: The character of Vivian Darkbloom anagrams the author's name.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Understatement of the century. This is a book you need to read twice, just to appreciate how horribly screwed up everybody is.
    • And we mean everybody, seriously.
    • As Nabokov noted in his afterword, one publisher rejected the manuscript on the grounds that Lolita had no good people in it.