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I recall certain moments, let us call them icebergs in paradise, when after having had my fill of her — after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred — I would gather her in my arms with, at last, a mute moan of human tenderness (her skin glistening in the neon light coming from the paved court through the slits in the blind, her soot-black lashes matted, her grave gray eyes more vacant than ever — for all the world a little patient still in the confusion of a drug after a major operation) — the tenderness would deepen to shame and despair, and I would lull and rock my lone light Lolita in my marble arms, and moan in her warm hair, and caress her at random and mutely ask her blessing, and at the peak of this human agonized selfless tenderness (with my soul actually hanging around her naked body and ready to repent), all at once, ironically, horribly, lust would swell again — and “oh, no,” Lolita would say with a sigh to heaven, and the next moment the tenderness and the azure — all would be shattered.

Would you explain what "azure-barred" means? Does this paragraph describe the sex scene of Humber and Lolita but not after that? Does this "when after having had my fill of her — after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred" tell that they have finished making love or not? Thanks.

  • Where did you get this from? – VijayaRagavan Nov 11 '13 at 9:11
  • @VijayaRagavan It's from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. – snailboat Nov 12 '13 at 18:39
  • Ya pal. I really enjoyed reading this paragraph. Beautiful narration by the author. Hats-off to Nabokov... – VijayaRagavan Nov 13 '13 at 4:33
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1. Azure-barred - Azure colored stripes in his body.

2. Does this paragraph describe the sex scene of Humber and Lolita but not after that?

This is the sex scene described and this is not the whole of it. This is describing the moments after having an orgasm.

3. Does this "when after having had my fill of her — after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred" tell that they have finished making love or not?

As said in my above lines, they had orgasm and the scene after that is described here. Look at the lines saying -

all at once lust would swell again and the next moment the tenderness and the azure — all would be shattered.

This describes the start of yet another session of physical activity(sex). So they have not yet finished making love. Lets not disturb them.


In response to your question in comment:

First, Neon light will be RED in colour and Azure is related to the color blue. So they may be incorrect.

There are many reasons for getting stripes in body during intercourse one of which will be the nails scratching the skin but i don't get any idea of a blue colored stripe. (Maybe this is said for he is royal blooded. Author alone knows.)

And LIMP as an adjective here probably could mean Lacking in strength, firmness or resilience of his penis after orgasm(My Guess. Author's perspective might be different. But I'm sure.)

The words in the last line, 'would swell again' imply the erection he gets again.

They are just the description of the scene and the characters by the author.

Is it okay now?

  • Thank you so much. "1. Azure-barred - Azure colored stripes in his body." When I read this I thought that azure colored stripes appeard in Humber's mind. But somebody say that they are from the neon light. Which is true? And I still can't imagine the image of Humbert with "limp and azure-barred". Could you explain that to me? Thanks – user3200 Nov 11 '13 at 10:41
  • where did you get this from? – VijayaRagavan Nov 11 '13 at 10:41
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    I'ld better post the reply to this as an answer than a comment. – VijayaRagavan Nov 11 '13 at 10:44
  • I've tried to read Lolita. It's quite hard for me. I've just completed some chapters. That paragraph is from an argument of some translator in my country. – user3200 Nov 11 '13 at 10:59
  • Hi Vijaya, thanks for answering! Posting another answer that answers a different question from a comment isn't really appropriate, though. I've moved the information from your other answer into this one, and deleted the second answer. Thanks! :) – WendiKidd Nov 12 '13 at 0:22
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He could mean that after the exertions of sex his blue veins are more noticeable. Causing him to be azure (blue) barred (lined). This is just a guess but it's what I took azure-barred to mean.

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The meaning of the bar in heraldry is for one who sets the bar of conscience, religion and honor against angry passions. (W. Cecil Wade's "The Symbolisms of Heraldry or A Treatise on the Meanings and Derivations of Armorial Bearings". Published in London in 1898.)

... and blue (azure) signifies loyalty, chastity, truth, strength and faith.

Is Nabokov possibly implying that after his sexual exertions his body (penis?) is suffering recriminations of conscience after its angry passions?

Or was Nabokov even aware of the intricacies of British heraldry?

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