Uncovering the Obscene in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire – A Critical Analysis of Cultural Divisions
AuthorBergstad, Evita Lill
This thesis examines the obscene, particularly through three taboo motifs present in John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. I will explore the effect and treatment of issues like incest, rape, and sexual dissidence. Through this analysis of the obscene, I wish to illuminate that there exist inherent similarities between these novels in how the obscene is made conspicuous and is a crucial aspect of these works’ depictions of transgression, defiance, and morality. Bringing attention to this similarity is important because it embarks on a larger discussion about cultural divisions. As we shall see, there is overwhelming evidence that these novels have been divided into different categories on the cultural scale; Lolita has been received as and deemed a work of highbrow literature, whereas The Hotel New Hampshire is labelled a work of popular fiction. The main aim of this thesis, then, is to illustrate how different receptions and cultural classifications of these novels have led to biased readings of the obscene themes and language present in both works. This thesis attempts to disregard this cultural dichotomy, and treat these novels as culturally equal, in that it seeks to view their treatment of the obscene as equally significant.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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