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by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita Book 1, Chapter 10 Summary

  • Back on the streets, Humbert decides that the New England countryside would be a good place to settle down.
  • An opportunity to live with a Mr. McCoo, the cousin of a former employee, appeals to him because McCoo has a twelve-year-old daughter. But their house burns down. Still, Mr. McCoo reports, "a friend of his wife's, a grand person, Mrs. Haze of 342 Lawn Street" (1.10.3) offers to take Humbert in.
  • Living in Ramsdale is not Humbert's idea of a good time and the outside appearance of the Haze house horrifies him. Inside is just as bad, with its foreign bric-a-brac, fake French masterpieces, and vulgar aspirations to sophistication.
  • Enter Charlotte Haze – wagging cigarette, sandals, slacks – not unattractive but a living cliché of the suburban American middle-aged woman. In a word: banal.
  • A tour of the house reveals the real appeal: Charlotte's twelve-year-old daughter, Dolores, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Annabel, his "Riviera love" (1.10.11).
  • That's it – he's moving in – or as he puts it: "I find it most difficult to express with adequate force that flash, that shiver, that impact of passionate recognition" (1.10.13).
  • Humbert concludes the discussion by addressing his "judges" (his readers), knowing they will think his desires are those of a madman.

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