Recent Publications | October 13, 2015

The Folio Society Publishes Illustrated <i>Lolita</i>


American fiction has spun few characters as troubling as Humbert Humbert, the narrator of Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov’s part tragicomedy, part literary parody of a middle-aged academic’s sexual obsession with a 12-year-old girl has been rightly hailed as one of the richest and most ingenious linguistic achievements of the 20th century. It is at once a love letter to an adopted American homeland, and the zenith of the love affair between the English language and one of its great masters.

This Fine Edition from The Folio Society is the first to include illustrations. Chilean-born artist Federico Infante has created nine beautiful yet unsettling paintings; each of their subjects appear as pale, crumbling murals, the paint of the landscape peeling away around them.

Through his predatory narrator, Nabokov takes joy in perpetually wrong-footing the reader, skipping from volcanic passion to cold derision in single steps. As critic Michael Dirda says in his brilliant new introduction, the author seems engrossed in ‘an intricate chess game with an unknown opponent’. Traps are everywhere, the prose filled with stylistic wordplay, dead ends, Joycean cryptograms and misdirections, all of which are there to be savoured and pored over. The reader’s only guide is Humbert, the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. The fictitious John Ray Jr, Ph.D., writes of Humbert in his foreword, ‘how magically his singing violin can conjure up a tenderness, a compassion for Lolita that makes us entranced with the book while abhorring its author!’

The binding features a leather label inset embossed with the phonetic sounding of the book’s title, so relished by Humbert in the novel’s infamous opening paragraph.

Product information


Vladimir Nabokov Introduced by Michael Dirda

Illustrated by Federico Infante

Bound in buckram, with inset leather labels blocked in metallic foil on front board and spine. Set in Perpetua with Trajan Pro as display. 384 pages; 9 full-page colour illustrations. Blocked and die-cut slipcase and printed endpapers. 9" x 53??4". UK £ 59.95 US $99.95 Can $134.95 Aus $139.95