In his 1955 classic, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov described the facial features of his scandalous protagonist, Humbert Humbert, in small bits. When taken together, here’s what you get:
Gloomy good looks… Clean-cut jaw, muscular hand, deep sonorous voice… broad shoulders … I was, and still am, despite mes malheurs, an exceptionally handsome male; slow-moving, tall, with soft dark hair and a gloomy but all the more seductive cast of demeanor. Exceptional virility often reflects in the subject’s displayable features a sullen and congested something that pertains to what he has to conceal. And this was my case… But instead I am lanky, big-boned, wooly-chested Humbert Humbert, with thick black eyebrows… A cesspoolful of rotting monsters behind his slow boyish smile… aging ape eyes… Humbert’s face might twitch with neuralgia.
In a rather brilliant move, Brian Joseph Davis has run these descriptions through law enforcement composite sketch software and brought Humbert Humbert almost to life. (See above.) And he has done the same for a cast of other literary characters on his Tumblr, called The Composites. Other characters getting the perp treatment include Emma Bovary (Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary), Edward Rochester (Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre), and Keith Talent (Martin Amis’ London Fields), among others. Find them all here. h/t Metafilter
Vladimir Nabokov on Lolita: Just Another Great Love Story?
Vladimir Nabokov Marvels Over Different “Lolita” Book Covers
Nabokov Reads Lolita, Names the Great Books of the 20th Century
Wait, Humbert Humbert looks like Norm McDonald?? I’ll never read that book in the same way again…
Brian Davis is relying on a famously untrustworthy source.