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“Stationary Trivialities”: Contrasting Representations of the American Motel in Vladimir Nabokov and Jack Kerouac

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Part of the Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture book series (SMLC)

Abstract

This chapter analyses contrasting approaches to representing the American motel in two emblematic postwar road novels, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955) and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957). As well as analysing, through Kerouac, the counterculture’s lack of regard for the commercial landscape of the highway, the chapter contributes to the recent opening of mobilities studies to the humanities by proposing a reading of Lolita as ethnography of the American roadside, one to have anticipated the works of postmodern spatial theorists. ‘Stationary Trivialities’ concludes with a case study of Stanley Kubrick’s (Lolita. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Los Angeles, 1962) adaptation of the novel as counterexample to Nabokov’s émigré perspective on the American vernacular.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK

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