Fiction Undermining Theory: Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Freudian Psychoanalysis

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Ghyath Manhel Alkinani


The present article aims to show how this modernist novel resisted and actively undermined the overwhelming critical discourse of Freudian psychoanalysis that has dominated the critical and theoretical world of literary studies at the time. Although much has been said and written about the antipathy of Vladimir Nabokov to Sigmund Freud, very little has been written on what the novel has actively done in respect to reversing the epistemological power discourse that dominates the relationship of literary works to critical “theory.” The contribution of this paper is reading Lolita as an example of “applied literature,” i.e., a literature that anticipates, challenges, revises and undermines the critical theory that is supposed to read/analyze it. Theoretically, the paper benefits from contributions of scholars such as Shoshana Felman and Piere Bayard. The paper is sectioned into an introduction, a “classic” psychoanalytical reading of Lolita, a section that reviews and assesses the problems with such a reading, and a conclusion that sums up the findings of the study. 


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How to Cite
Ghyath Manhel Alkinani. “Fiction Undermining Theory: Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Freudian Psychoanalysis”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 8, no. 6, Dec. 2023, pp. 17-32, doi:10.53032/tcl.2023.8.6.03.
Research Articles
Author Biography

Ghyath Manhel Alkinani, Senior Instructor, College of Law, University of Kufa, Kufa, Al-Najaf, Iraq,University of Kufa

Ghyath Manhel Alkinani is a senior instructor of English at the College of Law, University of Kufa since 2010. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Ar., USA. in 2019. He has an MA. in English Literature from the University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq in 2010. Besides his main job at the College of Law in the University of Kufa, he teaches English Fiction and Modern English poetry at the colleges of Arts, Education, and Education for Women at the University of Kufa. 


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