hotlove666: Nabokov follwoing the salacious Lolita, which mad him a best-seller,with Pale Fire was a bit like Bunuel sticking it to the raincoat brigade by following Belle de Jour with The Milky Way.
True, but the prurient portions, beautifully written they may be (that apple striking the palm with a polished plop!) keep taking a backseat to the love story. Which seems relegated, like a forgotten raincoat, to one corner of the baggage compartment for most of the novel, or that's the way Nabokov intended it; actually, it's the only thing we take away after reading the whole thing.
It's so unutterably sad--Humbert harping on his great obsession when the truth of the matter is that they're like two hunted criminals stuck with each other in a noir nightmare, their only real bond being this unholy thing between them; Lolita's attempts to escape him are really attempts to have a normal life. And the only reason why Humbert loves Lolita is because she's the only nymphet who has really hurt him--sexually precocious allure is a good basis as any for sexual obsession, but there's nothing like suffering to give root to love.
Kubrick could only sketch and make it obvious in the film (that "Lolita" theme music is a dead giveaway--but he needed that theme, I think otherwise there's just too few clues as to Humbert's true state of mind).