Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ten of the greatest kisses in literature

At Flavorwire, Emily Temple listed ten of the greatest kisses in literature.

One smooch on the list:
Lolita and Humbert Humbert in Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

For its sheer creepiness and genius lyric discomfort — and the way we squirm in our seats whenever we read it.

Hardly had the car come to a standstill than Lolita positively flowed into my arms. Not daring, not daring let myself go — not even daring let myself realize that this (sweet wetness and trembling fire) was the beginning of the ineffable life which, ably assisted by fate, I had finally willed into being — not daring really kiss her, I touched her hot, opening lips with the utmost piety, tiny sips, nothing salacious; but she, with an impatient wriggle, pressed her mouth to mine so hard that I felt her big front teeth and shared in the peppermint taste of her saliva. I knew, of course, it was but an innocent game on her part, a bit of backfisch foolery in imitation of some simulacrum of fake romance, and since (as the psychotherapist, as well as the rapist, will tell you) the limits and rules of such girlish games are fluid, or at least too childishly subtle for the senior partner to grasp — I was dreadfully afraid I might go too far and cause her to start back in revulsion and terror.
Read about the other kisses on the list.

Lolita appears among John Mullan's list of ten of the best lakes in literature, Dan Vyleta's top ten books in second languages, Rowan Somerville's top ten books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten, Monica Ali's ten favorite books, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue