My review of Vladimir Nabokov's much hyped novel fragment The Original of Laura was published in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday. It was one of the first two reviews to appear, the other being by Martin Amis in the previous day's Guardian. I find it very interesting that Amis and I are both troubled by the same thought: that the recurrence of certain motifs raises the fear that what we might call The Lolita Defence -- the argument that the paedophile tendency belongs only to the brilliant but deranged narrator, the diabolically lovable Humbert Humbert, and not to his creator -- is beginning to look a little shaky.
Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford, is well known as a Shakespeare scholar, biographer, critic and broadcaster. He was previously Professor of Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick.