Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as "nymphets." [part 1, ch. 5]
A normal man given a group photograph of school girls or Girl Scouts and asked to point out the comeliest one will not necessarily choose the nymphet among them. You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine (oh, how you have to cringe and hide!), in order to discern at once, by ineffable signs--the slightly feline outline of a cheekbone, the slenderness of a downy limb, and other indices which despair and shame and tears of tenderness forbid me to tabulate --- the little deadly demon among the wholesome children; she stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.[part 1, ch. 5]
[...] and there she was with her ruined looks and her adult, rope-veined narrow hands and her goose-flesh white arms, and her shallow ears, and her unkempt armpits, there she was (my Lolita!), hopelessly worn at seventeen, with that baby, dreaming already in her of becoming a big shot and retiring around 2020 A.D.--and I looked and looked at her, and knew as clearly as I know I am to die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth, or hoped for anywhere else. She was only the faint violet whiff and dead leaf echo of the nymphet I had rolled myself upon with such cries in the past; an echo on the brink of a russet ravine, with a far wood under a white sky, and brown leaves choking the brook, and one last cricket in the crisp weeds... but thank God it was not that echo alone that I worshipped.[part 2, ch. 29]
somehow scrambling across the Mexican border while the scrambling was good so as to lie low for a couple of years in subtropical bliss until I could safely marry my little Creole; for I must confess that depending on the condition of my glands and ganglia, I could switch in the course of the same day from one pole of insanity to the other --- from the thought that around 1950 I would have to get rid somehow of a difficult adolescent whose magic nymphage had evaporated --- to the thought that with patience and luck I might have her produce eventually a nymphet with my blood in her exquisite veins, a Lolita the Second, who would be eight or nine around 1960, when I would still be dans la force de l'age; indeed, the telescopy of my mind, or un-mind, was strong enough to distinguish in the remoteness of time a vieillard encore vert --- or was it green rot? --- bizarre, tender, salivating Dr. Humbert, practicing on supremely lovely Lolita the Third the art of being a granddad. [part 2, ch. 3]
not just to identify our minds with the point of view of this particular person, this particular character, but actually to move your body, and to feel something bodily that he wants you to feel, to share that sensuous experience with him. [Lecture 5]
Were I to catch her by her strong kicking foot; were I to see her amazed look, her her awful voice; were I to go through with the ordeal, her ghost would haunt me all my life. [part 1, ch. 20]
Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again'
although she was hopelessly unattractive to me, and that in two years time, she will succumb to the cancer inside her and be gone by the age of 33 (Christ's age when crucified, if that means anything at all).
(Jean, whatever, wherever you are, in minus time- space or plus soul-time, forgive me all this, parenthesis included).
And presently I was shaking hands with both of them (the Farlows) in the street, the sloping street, and everything was whirling and flying before the approaching deluge, and a truck with a mattress from Philadelphia was confidently rolling down to an empty house, and dust was running and writhing over the exact slab of stone where Charlotte, when they lifted the laprobe for me, had been revealed, curled up, her eyes intact, their black lashes still wet, matted, like yours, Lolita.
I was not yet at that stage; I merely want to convey the ease of the act, the nicety of the setting! So there was Charlotte swimming on with dutiful awkwardness (she was a very mediocre mermaid), but not without a certain solemn pleasure (for was not her merman by her side?); and as I watched, with the stark lucidity of a future recollection (you know --- trying to see things as you will remember having seen them), the glossy whiteness of her wet face so little tanned despite all her endeavors, and her pale lips, and her naked convex forehead, and the tight black cap, and the plump wet neck, I knew that all I had to do was to drop back, take a deep breath, then grab her by the ankle and rapidly dive with my captive corpse. [part 1, ch. 20, bolded emphasis mine]
Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.