I watched a documentary on the BBC presented by Stephen Smith about Vladimir Nabokov, primarily on his seminal novel Lolita. Smith himself loves Nabokov's work and admires many of the issues he treated with his 'cruel eye and satirical pen'. However, he struggles with the unquenchable repuatation Nabokov appears to have amongst some as being that 'unsavoury perverted chap' who had dark sexual motives of his own. He goes on the say: "Nobody to this day is quite sure of the motives Nabokov had in writing Lolita. Was it a morality tale or the fantasies of a dirty old man?" The documentary then, rather crudely I thought, goes on a quest to determine whether he was, in fact, a dirty old lech or not. I have issues with this beyond the fact that the premise of the documentary was quite sensationalist. Do people generally question motives for writing fiction when it comes stories touching on societal taboos (i.e. such as the sexual pursuit of underaged adolescent girls by older men)? John Updike wrote unsympathetic, macho protagonists who invariably had undesirable views of women. He is known to some extent as being a sexist pig as well as a literary genius. I wonder what was more influential in forming his somewhat dark reputation, his literature or his views outside his work?Irvine Welsh goes to the absolute limits of taste and decency in his writing. I wonder if he has suffered for it in some ways? I do not want to shy away from unsavoury issues in my literature. It is often societal taboos that are the more interesting to read about because they say so much about what society holds as sacred. When asked in interview "Why did you write Lolita?" I paraphrased Nabokov's reply: "Why did I write any of my books. For the sake of the pleasure, for the sake of the difficult. You see I have no social purpose, no moral message. I am not a messenger. I have no general ideas to exploit but I like composing a riddle, I like finding elegant solutions to my riddles, to those riddles I have composed myself. I have not met little girls, albeit socially, so Lolita is a figment of my imagination." He is a bit of a contradiction in this sense because Lolita is a moralistic tale. I think it is about Humbert Humbert’s realisation that he unwittingly destroyed Lolita’s innocence and it was exactly this innocence which attracted him to her. I want to be very brave in my writing and not shy away from emotive issues like victimisation, power, sex, money and greed. To what extent, though, should we care about what people think of our motives for writing what we do? Is it even important what people think of us as writers as long as they like what we write?