A History Lesson With Booze ®

Banned Books and The Lolita Haze

Americans are prudes, Europeans are progressives, right? Not when it came to Lolita.

Visitors look over poster of the a poster of "Lolita" by Stanley Kubrick during an exhibition organised for the reopening of the "Palazzo delle Esposizioni" in Rome, 04 October 2004. After five years of restoration work and upgrading of its systems and facilities, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, is the largest exhibition space center of Rome, more than 10 000 square meters on three floors host exhibitions and cultural events. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

The History Lesson

Lolita was first published in Paris, and it was the British who pitched a fit.

A London newspaper called it “the filthiest book of the year.” England seized all imports of it and asked France to ban it too. In 1956, they did.

Americans got their first look at Lolita 2 years later. By then, Elvis had debuted his swiveling hips on TV. Compared to that, the book was vanilla. Authorities didn’t bat an eyelash.

It sold 100,000 copies in 3 weeks. It also added a new word to the American lexicon: Nymphet.

America didn’t keep its mind open for long. In 1962, Stanley Kubrick directed his film version of Lolita. To avoid U.S. censorship, he shot it in England.

The Booze

The Lolita Haze

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Get scandalous with this cocktail – as created by Danielle Motor at The Hungry Cat in Hollywood, California –  inspired by scene in Lolita in which Humbert Humbert eats a plum.


  • 1/2 fresh plum
  • mint
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. young genever


In cocktail shaker, muddle the fresh plum with mint. Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon,add the simple syrup and genever. Shake and pour over ice.

Episode: 3