All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Margaret J Jessee

Advisory Committee Members

Kyle Grimes

Peter Bellis

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


This thesis argues that an intertextual examination of Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night and Nabokov’s Lolita complicates our understanding of Fitzgerald’s main character, Dick Diver’s sexuality by rendering his desires as similar to those of Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert. First, by examining the biographical histories of and connections between Fitzgerald and Nabokov, I aim to illuminate the authors’ shared influences and experiences as part of their resulting novels’ intertextual relationship. The first section of this thesis applies Lolita as a lens for reading Tender Is the Night, thus highlighting Dick Diver’s problematic sexuality and presenting his character as a precedent for Humbert Humbert. The second section then reverses this application by using Tender Is the Night as a lens through which to understand Lolita. In this second section, the lens approach allows audiences to recognize how Nabokov expanded on and complicated ideas already anticipated in Fitzgerald’s writing. The argument concludes by reviving the importance of Fitzgerald’s legacy as an ancestor of Nabokov’s work and by erasing some of the mystery surrounding Lolita’s inspiration.



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