Lolita is problematic as a literary classic. Written by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, the book introduces a narrator so hateful and so unreliable it’s both hard to read, and yet compelling enough a concept to read on. Humbert Humbert is a man sentenced to death for murder, though his real crime relates to his love for twelve-year-old Dolores Haze, who he names his “Lolita”. Downright disturbing to the heart, Nabokov’s work is a prime example of how literature is at times controversial and problematic purposely for readers.
Double Indemnity is often considered to be James M. Cain’s best work, but it faced some controversy on its release. Cain based the novel on a real murder case: the murder of Albert Snyder, in which his wife and her lover plotted to kill him to reap the rewards of a huge life insurance policy. The depiction of the murder, in all its coldness and brutality, was controversial due to its portrayal of the fragility of marriage and the way in which Phyllis throws it away for money – not to mention the sexual themes and violence.