More than 50 years after it was first published, Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita is still starting scandals.
Earlier this month, The Newsroom actress Emily Mortimer wrote an essay for The New York Times about how Lolita has avoided getting canceled, despite it being the story of a pedophile. But as The New Republic's Jacob Silverman noticed Friday, the Times added an editor's note shortly after the essay was published, disclosing that Mortimer "included several sentences adapted, without attribution, from an article by Caitlin Flanagan" that was published in the September 2018 issue of The Atlantic:
Mortimer's original essay, which can be read here, includes a paragraph that starts:
But then, just a few pages later, and Humbert is — what the hell? — cursed to live in "a civilization which allows a man of 25 to court a girl of 16 but not a girl of 12." I had remembered much about Lolita, even if I had only pretended to read it — but 12?! I had certainly forgotten that vital digit, and it came as a shock. [The New York Times, via the Wayback Machine]
In the piece up on The New York Times now, the lines read:
Part of the charm of those first pages, as Caitlin Flanagan has noted in The Atlantic, is that they introduce Humbert as a winsome and sensitively tuned boy, a child himself. "But then," Flanagan writes, "just a few pages later, he is an adult who is — what the hell? — cursed to live in 'a civilization which allows a man of 25 to court a girl of 16 but not a girl of 12.' One had heard certain things about Lolita — but 12?" [The New York Times]