Drawing upon anthropological and historical studies of constraints governing the depiction of intercourse, Jajdelska explores the ethics and esthetics of Nabokov’s representations of sex. While such ethical constraints survive despite changes in norms which Nabokov both lived through and helped to produce, this chapter claims that aesthetic problems arise from the nature of embodied cognition; a vivid description takes the risk of being an arousing one. Jajdelska argues that Nabokov shows an uncanny intuitive understanding of perceptual processes in his descriptions of sex in Lolita, when it comes to structure and anticipation. Her chapter highlights how Nabokov uses aspects of embodied cognition to create representations which succeed both esthetically, in being vivid, and ethically, in shielding Dolores Haze from the potential for the reader’s arousal.
|Title of host publication||Nabokov and the Question of Morality|
|Subtitle of host publication||Aesthetics, Metaphysics, and the Ethics of Fiction|
|Editors||Michael Rodgers, Susan Sweeney|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2016|
Jajdelska, E. (2016). 'Obnoxious preoccupation with sex organs': the ethics and aesthetics of representing sex. In M. Rodgers, & S. Sweeney (Eds.), Nabokov and the Question of Morality: Aesthetics, Metaphysics, and the Ethics of Fiction (pp. 197-212). https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-59221-7_12