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by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita Book 1, Chapter 8 Summary

  • Though Valeria was not a nymphet (too old), she at least reminded him of one with her girlish ways and cutesy hairdo.
  • Soon after they are married, Humbert watches her vague nymphet resemblance fade. They remain married from 1935-1939.
  • When an uncle dies in 1939, Humbert receives a small inheritance, but it requires that he move to America to look after the uncle's business.
  • Valeria confesses that she is having an affair – with the taxi driver whose cab they are riding in.
  • Humbert is enraged – as a husband would be – but also bitter because he had restrained himself from nymphets all of those years. He considers all sorts of violent reactions.
  • They all three go back to the apartment and she packs her bags.
  • Humbert later finds out that Valeria moved to Pasadena, California, where she dies in childbirth in 1945.
  • Humbert reports what books he reads in the prison library. He transcribes one page from a book called Who's Who in the Limelight, with entries on "Quilty, Clare" and "Quine, Dolores." Since one of Lolita's names was Dolores, he gets excited by the very sight of that name on a page, even though it's not her.
  • He engages in some word play "Guilty of killing Quilty" (1.8.4) and so forth, none of which makes sense to the reader, and ends by lamenting that all he has left is "words to play with" (1.8.4).

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