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Lolita is divided into two parts.It is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar born in 1910 to a Swiss father and an English mother in Paris, who is obsessed with what he refers to as "nymphets". Humbert suggests that this obsession results from the death of a childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh. In 1947, Humbert moves to Ramsdale, a small New England town, to write. He rents a room in the house of Charlotte Haze, a widow. While Charlotte tours him around the house, he meets her 12-year-old daughter, Dolores (also known as Dolly, Lolita, Lola, Lo, and L), with whom he falls in love at first sight. Humbert stays at the house only to remain near her. While he is infatuated with Lolita (an observant but rather crass teenage girl), he disdains her preoccupation with contemporary American popular culture, such as teen movies and comic books.
While Lolita is away at summer camp, Charlotte, who has fallen in love with Humbert, tells him that he must either marry her or move out. Humbert reluctantly agrees in order to continue living near Lolita. Charlotte is oblivious to Humbert's distaste and pity for her, as well as his lust for Lolita, until she reads his diary. Upon learning of Humbert's true feelings and intentions, Charlotte is appalled. She makes plans to flee with Lolita and threatens to expose Humbert's perversions. But as she runs across the street in a state of shock, she is struck and killed by a passing car.
Humbert picks Lolita up from camp, pretending that Charlotte is ill in a hospital. He does not return to Charlotte's home out of fear that the neighbors will be suspicious. Instead, he takes Lolita to a hotel, where he meets a strange man (later revealed to be Clare Quilty), who seems to know who he is. Humbert attempts to use sleeping pills on Lolita so that he may molest her without her knowledge, but they have little effect on her. Instead, she initiates sex. He discovers that he is not her first lover, as she had sex with a boy at summer camp. Humbert reveals to Lolita that Charlotte is actually dead; Lolita has no choice but to accept her stepfather into her life on his terms.
Lolita and Humbert drive around the country, moving from state to state and motel to motel. Humbert initially keeps the girl under control by threatening her with reform school; later he bribes her for sexual favors, though he knows that she does not reciprocate his love and shares none of his interests. After a year touring North America, the two settle down in another New England town, where Lolita is enrolled in school. Humbert is very possessive and strict, forbidding Lolita to take part in after-school activities or to associate with boys; the townspeople, however, see this as the action of a loving and concerned, while old fashioned, parent.
Lolita begs to be allowed to take part in the school play; Humbert reluctantly grants his permission in exchange for more sexual favors. The play is written by Clare Quilty. He is said to have attended a rehearsal and been impressed by Lolita's acting. Just before opening night, Lolita and Humbert have a ferocious argument, which culminates in Lolita saying she wants to leave town and resume their travels.
As Lolita and Humbert drive westward again, Humbert gets the feeling that their car is being tailed and he becomes increasingly paranoid, suspecting that Lolita is conspiring with others in order to escape. She falls ill and must convalesce in a hospital; Humbert stays in a nearby motel, without Lolita for the first time in years. One night, Lolita disappears from the hospital; the staff tell Humbert that Lolita's "uncle" checked her out. Humbert embarks upon a frantic search to find Lolita and her abductor, but eventually he gives up.
One day in 1952, Humbert receives a letter from Lolita, now 17, who tells him that she is married, pregnant, and in desperate need of money. Humbert goes to see Lolita, giving her money in exchange for the name of the man who abducted her. She reveals the truth: Clare Quilty, an acquaintance of Charlotte's and the writer of the school play, checked her out of the hospital and attempted to make her star in one of his pornographic films; when she refused, he threw her out. She worked odd jobs before meeting and marrying her husband, who knows nothing about her past.
Humbert asks Lolita to leave her husband and return to him, apologizing for the unpleasantness between them and promising her a good life, but she refuses, and Humbert breaks down in tears. He leaves Lolita and kills Quilty at his mansion, shooting him to death in an act of revenge. He then is arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road and swerving. The narrative closes with Humbert's final words to Lolita in which he wishes her well, and reveals the novel in its metafiction to be the memoirs of his life, only to be published after he and Lolita have both died.
According to the novel's fictional "Foreword", Humbert dies of coronary thrombosis upon finishing his manuscript. Lolita dies giving birth to a stillborn girl on Christmas Day, 1952.
小说描述一位从法国移民美国的中年男子杭柏·杭柏特（Humbert Humbert）在少年时期,与一14岁的少女安娜贝儿发生了一段初恋,最后安娜贝儿因伤寒而早夭,造就了杭伯特的恋童癖（The child I love）,他将“小妖精”定义为“九到十四岁”.杭柏特最先被一名富有的寡妇抛弃,后来又迷恋上女房东Charlotte Haze的12岁女儿洛丽塔（Lolita）,亲呼她为小妖精.
由于儿时的阴影,杭伯特对洛丽塔无法自拔,为了亲近这名早熟、热情的小女孩,杭柏特娶女房东为妻,成为洛丽塔的继父.小说中的女孩原名桃乐莉·海兹（Dolores Haze）,西班牙文发音的小名为洛丽塔（Lolita）或罗（Lo）,因此作为书名.后来女房东发现自己的丈夫对女儿的企图和对自己的不忠,一时气疯往外跑,被车子撞死.杭柏特将洛丽塔从夏令营接出来一起旅行,他以为在洛丽塔的饮料中下药,就可以在不知不觉中猥亵她.结果药对洛丽塔全无效果,相反第二天清晨洛丽塔主动挑逗杭柏特,发生乱伦的关系.杭柏带然后告知洛丽塔她的母亲已经去世,至此洛丽塔在别无选择的情况下接受了必需和继父生活下去的这个现实. 杭柏特带着洛丽塔以父女的身份沿着美国旅游,他利用零用钱、美丽的衣饰等小女孩会喜欢的东西来控制洛丽塔,以及继续满足自己对她的欲望.洛丽塔长大后,开始讨厌继父,她意识到“即使是最可悲的家庭生活也比这种乱伦状况好”.于是她开始跟年纪相当的男孩子交往,并借着一次旅行的机会脱离继父的掌握,一开始杭伯特疯狂的寻找,但是最终还是放弃了.
三年过去,一日杭柏特收到洛丽塔的来信,信上说她已经结婚,并怀孕了,需要继父的金钱援助.杭柏特给了她400美元现金和2500美元的支票还有把屋子卖了买家先付的10000美元跟房子的契约.他要求洛丽塔说出当时拐走她的人.洛丽塔告诉他那人正是奎迪（Quilty）（ 作品中被女主角认为是东方天才哲学家）,其为学校演出的剧作家,并告诉他,她和奎迪出走后,因为拒绝了奎迪要她和其他男孩子拍摄色情影片的要求,而被奎迪赶了出来.杭柏特请求洛丽塔离开她的丈夫和他走,但是她拒绝了这个要求,杭柏特伤心欲绝.他追踪并枪杀了奎迪.最终, 杭柏特因血栓病死于狱中,而17岁的洛丽塔则因难产死于1952年圣诞.