New Problem: Lolita

Here are some quotations from the first few pages of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita:

In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child, in a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer.

I was born in 1910, in Paris.

Later in his delightful debonair manner, my father gave me all the information he though I needed about sex; this was just before sending me, in the autumn of 1923, to Lycee in Lyon (where we were to spend three winters); but alas, in the summer of that year, he was touring Italy with Mme de R., and her daughter, and I had nobody to complain to, nobody to consult.

But that mimosa grove – the haze of stars, the tingle, the flame, the honeydew, only the ache remained with me, and that little girl with her seaside limbs and ardent tongue haunted me ever since, until at last, 24 years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another.

[This quote refers to the “certain initial girl-child, in a princedom by the sea”, and describes the same summer as the previous quote.]

How old was Lolita when the narrator fell in love with her?


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2 Responses to “New Problem: Lolita”

  1. Nikita Says:

    She would have been 11.

    Brilliant book!

  2. Simplicio Says:

    11 or 12, depending on what time of the year the narrator was born.

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