HomeLiterature Study GuidesLolitaPart 2 Chapters 25 26 Summary

Lolita | Study Guide

Vladimir Nabokov

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Lolita | Part 2, Chapters 25–26 | Summary



Chapter 25

Three years later Humbert has slowly, with great difficulty, given up some of Lolita's things—her accumulation of teen magazines, for example—but takes more time giving up other things—her sneakers, a school cap, a shirt of hers. Finally on her 15th birthday he anonymously donates her things to an orphanage. He is afraid he has lost touch with reality as he composes a missing persons advertisement in verse about Dolores Haze, which he decides not to publish.

Chapter 26

Humbert meets Rita, a kind, alcoholic divorcée near his age, who drives to California with him; along the way they try to stay in The Enchanted Hunters hotel but it is full. Humbert thinks about the meaning of memory. He writes a paper on perceptual time and gets a job at Cantrip College.


The word Cantrip means magical spell—Nabokov is suggesting that memory has magic in it. Humbert writes the story—the novel Lolita—in order to recapture Lolita in art, just as he became involved with Lolita in order to recapture his experience with Annabel—to recapture lost time.

Humbert's thoughts about time and memory are also significant. He calls "Mnemosyne," the Goddess of memory, "the sweetest and most mischievous of muses!" He writes an impenetrable paper on his theory of time, consciousness, and memory.

Humbert's involvement with Rita, a woman of his own age whom he seems to care for notwithstanding their constant drunkenness, may be a sign that Humbert has changed. When they stop at the Enchanted Hunters, he looks for a photo of himself in an old newspaper and finds the photo but does not see himself in it. Has Humbert somehow been erased himself? He's having trouble believing he's real or that his time with Lolita really happened.

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