A Jewish American Monster: Stanley Kubrick, Anti-Semitism and Lolita (1962)

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This article presents a case study of the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, considering how his films can be considered an emotional response to the Holocaust, the legacy of European anti-Semitism, and stereotypes of the Jewish American woman. It will argue that there are various clues in Kubrick's films which produce Jewish moments; that is, where, through a complementary directing and acting strategy, in particular one of misdirection, the viewer is given the possibility of “reading Jewish,” albeit not with certainty, for Jewishness is “textually submerged.” Its focus is Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), in particular the character of Charlotte Haze, played by Shelley Winters, especially in light of Kubrick's choice of casting for the role, and Winters's subsequent performance of it. It will conclude that Holocaust and anti-Semitic stereotypes/reverse stereotypes haunt Kubrick's version of Lolita as an emotional, yet sub-epidermis, presence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2014

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