[lit-ideas] Re: Reading Lolita in Tehran

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2004 03:36:25 -0800 (PST)

--- John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx> wrote:
Therein lies the fascinating mystery of the
> title, which 
> attracted my intention. And what Afrisi was up to in
> reading _Lolita_ 
> with her students and now writing about that reading
> in her book is 
> only very crudely approximated by trying to imagine
> _Lolita_ as  "a 
> tool of women's liberation."

Yes, I reflected later that it might have to do also
with cherishing individuality, not only with women's
liberation. But then, bad me, I began to wonder why it
had to be done in a group with an older,
Western-educated woman as a spiritual leader. Note
also Afrisi's use of "my girls" and "we":

"Here and now in that other world that cropped up so
many times in our 
discussions, I sit and reimagine myself and my
students, my girls as I 
came to call them, reading _Lolita_ in a deceptively
sunny room in 
Tehran. But to steal the words from Humbert, the
poet/criminal of 
_Lolita_, I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for
we won't really 
exist if you don't. Against the tyranny of time and
politics, imagine 
us the way we sometimes didn't dare to imagine
ourselves: in our most 
private and secret moments, in the most
extraordinarily ordinary 
instances of life, listening to music, falling in
love, walking down 
shady streets or reading _Lolita_ in Tehran. And then
imagine us again 
with all this confiscated, driven underground, taken
away from us.

How can Afrisi be so sure that they all felt that way
? Did any of her girls, perhaps, not like Lolita ? 


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