"Humbert Humbert," their author, had died in legal captivity, of coronary thrombosis, on November 16, 1952, a few days before his trial was scheduled to start.

This quotation, which appears in the novel’s Foreword, reveals the fate that Humbert will ultimately succumb to after the events of the text conclude. The fact that he dies of a heart condition has symbolic implications as it suggests that his unyielding love for Lolita is so torturous that he cannot overcome it. Dying in prison also prevents Humbert from facing a trial by jury, and this detail forces the reader to form their own opinion of his case without a particular legal outcome to set the precedent.

I felt proud of myself. I had stolen the honey of a spasm without impairing the morals of a minor. Absolutely no harm done…Thus had I delicately constructed my ignoble, ardent, sinful dream; and still Lolita was safeand I was safe.

This quotation appears in Part One, Chapter 14 and refers to the prior chapter in which Humbert manages to satisfy his desire for Lolita without sacrificing her innocence. The relief he feels in this moment reflects his awareness of the fact that his feelings towards Lolita are inappropriate, and he attempts to maintain some degree of morality as he interacts with her. The self-focused language of this quotation, however, suggests that his concerns about ethics are a result of his own need for self-preservation rather than genuine concern about Lolita’s safety.

If I dwell at some length on the tremors and groupings of that distant night, it is because I insist upon proving that I am not, and never was, and never could have been, a brutal scoundrel. The gentle and dreamy regions though which I crept were the patrimonies of poetsnot crime's prowling ground. 

As Humbert excitedly anticipates the possibility of having a sexual encounter with Lolita at the Enchanted Hunters hotel in Part One, Chapter 29, he offers this argument in defense of his identity. He will return to this idea numerous times throughout the remainder of the novel, insisting that he is merely a man and an artist rather than a depraved criminal. Although Humbert’s assessment of his own personality is inherently biased, this quotation works to challenge the reader’s assumptions about who he is.