Vladimir Nabokov Quotes


Type: Novelist, professor

Born: 22 April 1899

Died: 2 July 1977

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery and had an interest in chess problems.

Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible

Literature was not born the day when a boy crying "wolf, wolf" came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying "wolf, wolf" and there was no wolf behind him.

Ink, a Drug.

Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.

The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.

I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.

And this is the only immortality you and i may share, my Lolita.

The pale organisms of literary heroes feeding under the author's supervision swell gradually with the reader's lifeblood; so that the genius of a writer consists in giving them the faculty to adapt themselves to that - not very appetizing - food and thrive on it, sometimes for centuries.

Perhaps what matters is not the human pain or joy at all but, rather, the play of shadow and light on a live body, the harmony of trifles assembled...in a unique and inimitable way.

The subject may be crude and repulsive. Its expression is artistically modulated and balanced. This is style. This is art. This is the only thing that really matters in books.

Life is short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five paces. It is a very short walk. Make those twenty-five steps. Now. Right now. Come just as you are. And we shall live happily ever after.

Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece

Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.

Let all of life be an unfettered howl.

We all have such fateful objects - it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another - carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble; there shall Jane's heart always break.

Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.

All religions are based on obsolete terminology.

The square root of I is I.

Light in comparison with darkness is a void.

We live in a stocking which is in the process of being turned inside out, without our ever knowing for sure to what phase of the process our moment of consciousness corresponds.

Why did I hope we would be happy abroad? A change of environment is that traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.

Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths - until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.

The fame of his likes circulates briskly but soon grows heavy and stale; and as for history it will limit his life story to the dash between two dates.

while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space,
the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.

- A sentyment staje się uciążliwy. W końcu jest coś nazbyt fizycznego w próbie zachowania cząstki dzieciństwa na swoim mostku.
- Nie pan pierwszy sprowadza wiarę do zmysłu dotyku.

But after all we are not children, not illiterate juvenile delinquents, not English public school boys who after a night of homosexual romps have to endure the paradox of reading the Ancients in expurgated versions.

I liked, as I like still, to make words look self-conscious and foolish, to bind them by mock marriage of a pun, to turn them inside out, to come upon them unawares. What is this jest in majesty? This ass in passion? How do god and devil combine to form a live dog?

A thousand years ago five minutes were
Equal to forty ounces of fine sand.
Outstare the stars. Infinite foretime and
Infinite aftertime: above your head
They close like giant wings, and you are dead.

Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm; not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats: the Tender Interval.

He was afraid of touching his own wrist. He never attempted to sleep on his left side, even in those dismal hours of the night when the insomniac longs for a third side after trying the two he has.

I will contend until I am shot that art as soon as it is brought into contact with politics inevitably sinks to the level of any ideological trash.

A wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine. It is there that occurs the telltale tingle...

I would like to spare the time and effort of hack reviewers and, generally, persons who move their lips when reading.

She is a great gobbler of books, but reads only trash, memorizing nothing and leaving out the longer descriptions.

Doom is nigh. I am in acute distress, desperately trying to coax sleep, opening my eyes every few seconds to check their faded gleam, and imagining paradise as a place where a sleepless neighbor reads an endless book by the light of an eternal candle.

Everything in the world is beautiful, but Man only recognizes beauty if he sees it either seldom or from afar. Listen, today we are gods! Our blue shadows are enormous! We move in a gigantic, joyful world!

I see again my schoolroom in Vyra, the blue roses of the wallpaper, the open window.… Everything is as it should be, nothing will ever change, nobody will ever die.

The moral sense in mortals is the duty
We have to pay on mortal sense of beauty.

Devices which in some curious new way imitate nature are attractive to simple minds.

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.

It's a pity one can't imagine what one can't compare to anything. Genius is an African who dreams up snow.

A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual.

At eight, he had once told his mother that he wanted to paint air.

Cannot it actually be that in a wildly literal sense, unacceptable to one's reason, he meant disappearing in his art, dissolving in his verse, thus leaving of himself, of his nebulous person, nothing but verse?

To each, or about each, of his colleagues he had said at one time or other, something... something impossible to recall in this or that case and difficult to define in general terms - some careless bright and harsh trifle that had grazed a stretch of raw flesh.

И вот, то, что я давно подозревал, - бессмысленность мира, - стало мне очевидно. Я почувство

(T)here exist friendships which develop their own inner duration, their own eons of transparent time.

The pleasures of writing correspond exactly to the pleasures of reading

Great novels are above all great fairy tales . . . literature does not tell the truth but makes it up.

I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists.

I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind is poisoning everything else.

Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.

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