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Music and Songs in "Lolita", novel and film

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to stress the importance of music and song in Nabokov's Lolita (1955), and also in Kubrick's interpretation of it in his film (1962). Indeed Kubrick's adaptation does bring about, as Linda Hutcheon puts it, a "transcoding process" from the code of writing into the code of film (Hutcheon 7), which is itself multisemiotic, as film associates moving and still images, language, and, of course, music. The analysis begins with a scrutiny of songs in the novel, as Humbert uses songs to not only screen his deeds like in the davenport scene, but also to fuel his contemptuous vision of Lolita. Then the study turns to the function of music in characterization, in both novel and film: the film's characters are associated to musical themes that reflect thematic patterns of characterization in the novel. We will finally draw from those analyses the illustration of how both works use music to organize a subtle destabilization of signs that undermines the first-degree reading or viewing.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 3:10:28 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00712136, version 1



Marie Christel Bouchet. Music and Songs in "Lolita", novel and film. Miranda : Revue pluridisciplinaire sur le monde anglophone. Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world , Laboratoire CAS (Cultures anglo-saxonnes), 2010, ⟨hal-00712136⟩



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