Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

253 Inspiring Quotes by Vladimir Nabokov

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Vladimir Nabokov.

Wikipedia Summary for Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ nɐˈbokəf]; 22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1899 – 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin (Владимир Сирин), was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and entomologist. Born in Russia, he wrote his first nine novels in Russian (1926–1938) while living in Berlin. He achieved international acclaim and prominence after moving to the United States and beginning to write in English. Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945, but he and his wife returned to Europe in 1961, settling in Montreux, Switzerland.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 2007; Pale Fire (1962) was ranked 53rd on the same list; and his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), was listed eighth on publisher Random House's list of the 20th century's greatest nonfiction. He was a seven-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Nabokov was also an expert lepidopterist and composer of chess problems.

trees at sunset

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.

--Vladimir Nabokov


brown textile

There is the first satisfaction of arranging it on a bit of paper; after many, many false tries, false moves, finally you have the sentence you recognize as the one you are looking for.

--Vladimir Nabokov

black and gray floral textile

Literature is invention. Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both art and truth.

--Vladimir Nabokov

blue and white water surface

Do not be awed by giant predecessors. Be ill-tempered with their renown. Point out flaws. Frighten interviewers from Time. Appear in Playboy. Sell to the movies.

--Vladimir Nabokov



black fawn pug playing with plush toy

The pleasures of writing correspond exactly to the pleasures of reading.

--Vladimir Nabokov

fawn pug standing on textile

My mind speaks English, my heart speaks Russian, and my ear prefers French.

--Vladimir Nabokov

high-angle photography of mountain at sunset

What stars, what thought and sadness up above, and what ignorance below.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Painting of Stonehenge

Imagination without knowledge leads no farther than the back yard of primitive art, the child's scrawl on the fence, and the crank's message in the market place. Art is never simple.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown wooden dockside beside sea

It is a short walk from the hallelujah to the hoot.

--Vladimir Nabokov



shooting star in night sky

The only real, genuinely unquestionable thing here was only death itself.

--Vladimir Nabokov


ice berg

Although I could never get used to the constant state of anxiety in which the guilty, the great, and the tenderhearted live, I felt I was doing my best in the way of mimicry.

--Vladimir Nabokov


green leaf in close up photography

One is always at home in one's past.

--Vladimir Nabokov


blue sky with stars during night time

My answer to your question 'Does the writer have a social responsibility?' is no. You owe me ten cents, sir.

--Vladimir Nabokov

black pug puppy lying on gray bed

I cannot separate the aesthetic pleasure of seeing a butterfly and the scientific pleasure of knowing what it is.

--Vladimir Nabokov


starry night in Texas

Even while writing his book, he had become painfully aware how little he knew his own planet while attempting to piece together another one from jagged bits filched from deranged brains.

--Vladimir Nabokov


person holding white book

All the seven deadly sins are peccadilloes but without three of them, Pride, Lust, and Sloth, poetry might never have been born.

--Vladimir Nabokov





long exposure photography of beach

The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.

--Vladimir Nabokov

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

Turning one's novel into a movie script is rather like making a series of sketches for a painting that has long ago been finished and framed.

--Vladimir Nabokov

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

All my stories are webs of style and none seems at first blush to contain much kinetic matter. For me style is matter.

--Vladimir Nabokov




None

So it went on, that obsession and that despair and that nightmarish impossibility to swindle destiny, until a certain first of April, of all dates.

--Vladimir Nabokov

time lapse photography of fire

Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

--Vladimir Nabokov

grayscale photo of rock formation

For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist.


yellow and green forest during daytime

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

person holding white book

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

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. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for.


grassland

Ink, a Drug.

--Vladimir Nabokov



brown wooden board

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov


two women walking on bridge during daytime

I was a daisy fresh girl and look what you've done to me.

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss Poems that take a thousand years to die But ape the immortality of this Red label on a little butterfly .

--Vladimir Nabokov


white concrete wall during daytime

For the human brain can become the best torture house of all those it has invented, established and used in a millions of years, in millions of lands, on millions of howling creatures.

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

It is a singular reaction, this sitting still and writing, writing, writing, or ruminating at length, which is much the same, really.

--Vladimir Nabokov


white clouds and blue sky during daytime

It is strange how a memory will grow into a wax figure, how the cherub grows suspiciously prettier as its frame darkens with age-strange, strange are the mishaps of memory.

--Vladimir Nabokov

blue mountains at daytime

Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity.

--Vladimir Nabokov



green leafed plant on clear glass vase filled with water

Time is rhythm: the insect rhythm of a warm humid night, brain ripple, breathing, the drum in my temple--these are our faithful timekeepers; and reason corrects the feverish beat.

--Vladimir Nabokov

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

All my best words are deserters and do not answer the trumpet call, and the remainder are cripples.

--Vladimir Nabokov

blue wallpaper

Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

--Vladimir Nabokov

red moon at night

One thing should be established once for all, indefeasibly. I loved, love, and shall love only you. I implore you and love you with everlasting pain and passion, my darling.

--Vladimir Nabokov


Arizona landscape

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins, my sin, my soul, Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.





group of penguins standing on white snow covered ground near body of water during daytime

You have to be an artist and a madman.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine (oh, how you have to cringe and hide!), in order to discern at once, by ineffable signs―the slightly feline outline of a cheekbone, the slenderness of a downy limbs, and other indices which despair and shame and tears of tenderness forbid me to tabulate―the little deadly demon among the wholesome children; she stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.


yellow sunflower in close up photography

A change of environment is the traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.

--Vladimir Nabokov


snow-covered mountain near lake under blue sky

Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.

--Vladimir Nabokov

person holding white book

And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full action but unable to cope with my tears.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown sands

To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.

--Vladimir Nabokov

landscape photography of road at savannah

Queer, how I misinterpreted the designations of doom.

--Vladimir Nabokov



high-angle photography of beach side

It is hard, I submit, to loathe bloodshed, including war, more than I do, but it is still harder to exceed my loathing of the very nature of totalitarian states in which massacre is only an administrative detail.

--Vladimir Nabokov

red flower in shallow focus lens

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov


snowflake

Or is this all but obsolete romantic rot, Cincinnatus?

--Vladimir Nabokov

birds flying under cloudy sky during daytime

In my dreams the world would come alive, becoming so captivatingly majestic, free and ethereal, that afterwards it would be oppressive to breathe the dust of this painted life.

--Vladimir Nabokov


selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

What surprises you in life? The marvel of consciousness -- that sudden window swinging open on a sunlit landscape amidts the night of non-being.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green leaf in close up photography

My heart was a hysterical unreliable organ.

--Vladimir Nabokov

macro shot photography of two votive candles

Her lips were like large crimson polyps.

--Vladimir Nabokov

water drops on glass

We are most artistically caged.

--Vladimir Nabokov

glass window pane with yellow concrete wall

If I correctly understand the sense of this succinct observation, our poet suggests here that human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece.

--Vladimir Nabokov

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

By God, I could make myself bring her that economically halved grapefruit, that sugarless breakfast.

--Vladimir Nabokov

purple-petaled flowers

Chess problems demand from the composer the same virtues that characterize all worthwhile art: originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity.

--Vladimir Nabokov

white pencil on black platform

I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it.

--Vladimir Nabokov


body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green trees beside body of water during daytime

We who burrow in filth every day may be forgiven perhaps the one sin that ends all sins.

--Vladimir Nabokov

orange tabby cat on black textile

The tiny madman in his padded cell.

--Vladimir Nabokov

lights pattern swirls

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.

--Vladimir Nabokov


Arizona landscape pines

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

--Vladimir Nabokov



sunset

I am sufficiently proud of my knowing something to be modest about my not knowing all.

--Vladimir Nabokov

black pug puppy lying on gray bed

Resemblances are the shadows of differences. Different people see different similarities and similar differences.

--Vladimir Nabokov

person holding sunflower

I confess, I do not believe in time.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

white flower graphic wallpaper

His life was a constant war with insensate objects that fell apart, or attacked him, or refused to function, or viciously got themselves lost as soon as they entered the sphere of his existence.

--Vladimir Nabokov

orange tabby cat on black textile

And the rest is rust and stardust.

--Vladimir Nabokov


three books on surface

Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts.

--Vladimir Nabokov


green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

Some people, and I am one of them, hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm.

--Vladimir Nabokov


white textile on brown wooden table

I don't belong to any club or group. I don't fish, cook, dance, endorse books, sign books, co-sign declarations, eat oysters, get drunk, go to church, go to analysts, or take part in demonstrations.

--Vladimir Nabokov

silhouette of trees during sunset

Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature.

--Vladimir Nabokov


landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

No difference exists between American and European manners. A proletarian from Chicago can be just as Philistine as an English duke.

--Vladimir Nabokov


rock formation above water

You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

--Vladimir Nabokov

white sand under white sky

Beauty plus pity -- that is the closest we can get to a definition of art.

--Vladimir Nabokov



women's black and pink monokini

My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three.

--Vladimir Nabokov


close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase.

--Vladimir Nabokov


None

And yet I adore him. I think he's quite crazy, and with no place or occupation in life, and far from happy, and philosophically irresponsible -- and there is absolutely nobody like him.

--Vladimir Nabokov

two mugs of brown liquids

The evening is the time to praise the day.

--Vladimir Nabokov

sunset

I know something. I know something. But expression of it comes so hard !

--Vladimir Nabokov

man on running field

There is the rare kind of time in which I live -- the pause, the hiatus, when the heart is like a feather..

--Vladimir Nabokov



white flowers

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

red flame

All the information I have about myself is from forged documents.

--Vladimir Nabokov

common sunflower

Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution.

--Vladimir Nabokov

forest trees photograph

There is an old American saying 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.

--Vladimir Nabokov

body of water during daytime

Burn pedants in pale fire. Accept no fashions. Be your own fashion. Do not rely on earlier triumphs. Be new at each appearance.

--Vladimir Nabokov

fire near trees

The future is but the obsolete in reverse.

--Vladimir Nabokov

person in black shoes standing on gray concrete floor

Two interesting characteristics distinguished Leonard Blorenge, Chairman of French Literature and Language; he disliked Literature and he had no French.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow sunflower in close up photography

I don't want an elderly gentleman from Vienna with an umbrella inflicting his dreams upon me.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown leaf tree facing the lake

In life, as in chess, it is always better to analyze one's motives and intentions.

--Vladimir Nabokov

snow covered mountain during daytime

Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don't stop to think, don't interrupt the scream, exhale, release life's rapture.

--Vladimir Nabokov


None

There is nothing in the world that I loathe more than group activity, that communal bath where the hairy and slippery mix in a multiplication of mediocrity.

--Vladimir Nabokov


yellow, orange, red, green, and blue abstract painting

All of which does not alter the fact that Pnin was on the wrong train.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow sunflower in bloom during daytime

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.

--Vladimir Nabokov


grayscale photo of rock formation

Do what only a true artist can do ... pounce upon the forgotten butterfly of revelation.

--Vladimir Nabokov


autumn leaves on body of water

In reading, one should notice and fondle details.

--Vladimir Nabokov

purple and blue light illustration

Theoretically there is no absolute proof that one's awakening in the morning (the finding oneself again in the saddle of one's personality) is not really a quite unprecedented event, a perfectly original birth.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

Running in the wind, in the pollen and dust, a flower in flight.

--Vladimir Nabokov



sunset with storm clouds

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov


full-moon above snow-capped mountain painting

The general impression is that fifteen year-old Dolly remains morbidly uninterested in sexual matters, or to be exact, represses her curiosity in order to save her ignorance and self-dignity.

--Vladimir Nabokov




None

The day, like the previous days, dragged sluggishly by in a kind of insipid idleness, devoid even of that dreamy expectancy which can make idleness so enchanting.

--Vladimir Nabokov


man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

Good by-aye!" she chanted, my American sweet immortal dead love; for she is dead and immortal if you are reading this.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green leafed trees with fog

My mind lay limp in an empty world.

--Vladimir Nabokov

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Those Eggheadsareterrible Philistines. A realgood head is not oval but round.

--Vladimir Nabokov

silhouette of man and woman during sunset

I grew, a happy, healthy child in a bright world of illustrated books, clean sand, orange trees, friendly dogs, sea vistas and smiling faces.

--Vladimir Nabokov



black textile on white background

A philistine is a full-grown person whose interests are of a material and commonplace nature, and whose mentality is formed of the stock ideas and conventional ideals of his or her group and time.

--Vladimir Nabokov



woman carrying baby while walking

I discovered in nature the non utilitarian delights that I sought in art. Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception.

--Vladimir Nabokov

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

A horsefly applied itself, blind fool, to Pnin's bald head, and was stunned by a smack of his meaty palm.

--Vladimir Nabokov

man on running field

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

--Vladimir Nabokov


None

If a violin string could ache, I would be that string.

--Vladimir Nabokov


sunset

The spiral is a spiritualized circle. In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free.

--Vladimir Nabokov



pink and white abstract painting

Remembrance, like Rembrandt, is dark but festive. Remembered ones dress up for the occasion and sit still. Memory is a photo-studio de luxe on an infinite Fifth Power Avenue.

--Vladimir Nabokov



sun

Discussion in class, which means letting twenty young blockheads and two cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.

--Vladimir Nabokov

desert grassland

Style and Structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.

--Vladimir Nabokov



pavement surrounded with dried leaves

We think not in words but in shadows of words.

--Vladimir Nabokov

silhouette of three people up on mountain cliff

Most of the dandelions had changed from suns into moons.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow, orange, red, green, and blue abstract painting

I cannot conceive how anybody in his right mind should go to a psychoanalyst.

--Vladimir Nabokov


sunset

The compensation for a death sentence is the knowledge of the exact hour when one is to die. A great luxury, but one that is well earned.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown and white bird on tree branch

Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.

--Vladimir Nabokov

mountains under orange kies

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov

person on road at sunset

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

Solitude is the playfield of Satan.

--Vladimir Nabokov

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

Ideas in modern Russia are machine-cut blocks coming in solid colors; the nuance is outlawed, the interval walled up, the curve grossly stepped.

--Vladimir Nabokov

red yellow and blue paint

I was weeping again, drunk on the impossible past.

--Vladimir Nabokov

flame illustration

Genius is finding the invisible link between things.

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

Dostoevky's lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity -- all this is difficult to admire.

--Vladimir Nabokov

silhouette of trees during nighttime

My God died young. Theolatry i found Degrading, and its premises, unsound. No free man needs God; but was I free?

--Vladimir Nabokov




full moon in the sky

It's exactly my sense of existing -- a fragment, a wisp of color.

--Vladimir Nabokov

boy and cat in front of moon

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain By the false azure in the windowpane.

--Vladimir Nabokov


sunset

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

I am sentimental,' she said. ‘I could dissect a koala but not its baby. I like the words damozel, eglantine, elegant. I love when you kiss my elongated white hand.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown humming bird flying in mid air

Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer. No, no, I was neither. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, the majority of sex offenders that hanker for some throbbing, sweet-moaning, physical but not necessarily coital, relation with a girl-child, are innocuous, inadequate, passive, timid strangers who merely ask the community to allow them to pursue their practically harmless, so-called aberrant behavior, their little hot wet private acts of sexual deviation without the police and society cracking down upon them. We are not sex fiends! We do not rape as good soldiers do. We are unhappy, mild, dog-eyed gentlemen, sufficiently well integrated to control our urge in the presence of adults, but ready to give years and years of life for one chance to touch a nymphet. Emphatically, no killers are we. Poets never kill.


selective photography of dried leaf

A toothache will cost a battle, a drizzle cancel an insurrection.

--Vladimir Nabokov


silhouette of mountains during starry night

Oh, let me be mawkish for the nonce! I am so tired of being cynical.

--Vladimir Nabokov


shallow focus photography of condenser microphone

Why should I tolerate a perfect stranger at the bedside of my mind?

--Vladimir Nabokov

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

Coordinating there
Events and objects with remote events
And vanished objects. Making ornaments
Of accidents and possibilities.

--Vladimir Nabokov

man standing on cliff under white sky

I am an actor, living generally on air, but I have always elastic hopes for the future; they may be stretched indefinitely, such hopes, without bursting.

--Vladimir Nabokov

white wall paint with white paint

Imagine me; I shall not exist if you do not imagine me; try to discern the doe in me, trembling in the forest of my own iniquity; let's even smile a little. After all, there is no harm in smiling.

--Vladimir Nabokov

pink and white light illustration

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.

--Vladimir Nabokov

cluster of stars in the sky

Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained.

--Vladimir Nabokov

green trees on brown soil

Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words.

--Vladimir Nabokov


None

Genius still means to me, in my Russian fastidiousness and pride of phrase, a unique dazzling gift. The gift of James Joyce, and not the talent of Henry James.

--Vladimir Nabokov

grassland landscape

My loathings are simple. stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.

--Vladimir Nabokov

brown short coated dog lying on white textile

Here lies the sense of literary creation to portray ordinary objects as they will be reflected in kindly mirrors of future times.. To find in objects around us the fragrant tenderness that only posterity will discern.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow flower field under clear sky

Nobody strolled and laughed on the sidewalks as relaxing burghers would in sweet, mellow, rotting Europe.

--Vladimir Nabokov

man on running field

David began to argue, with the whining intonations of German astonishment, ... that everyone did it.

--Vladimir Nabokov

red roses on book

No author has created with less emphasis such pathetic characters as Chekhov has.

--Vladimir Nabokov


white stars in the sky during night time

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

I esteem my colleagues as I do my own self, I esteem them for two things: because they are able to find perfect felicity in specialized knowledge and because they are not apt to commit physical murder.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow sunflower in close up photography

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

Longer Version:

A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual, and only the individual reader is important to me. I don't give a damn for the group, the community, the masses, and so forth.


silhouette of mountains during sunset

Another tormentor inquired if it was true that I had installed two ping-pong tables in my basement. I asked, was it a crime? No, he said, but why two? Is that a crime? I countered, and they all laughed.

--Vladimir Nabokov


close up shot of white flower

A masterpiece of fiction is an original world and as such is not likely to fit the world of the reader.

--Vladimir Nabokov


brown and gray mountains during daytime

As if it were a point of honor--which, indeed, a point of art often is.

--Vladimir Nabokov


red textile in close up photography

Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited. In order to enjoy life, we should not enjoy it too much.

--Vladimir Nabokov





grayscale photo of rock formation

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

--Vladimir Nabokov

green ceramic mug beside book

I happen to be the kind of author who in starting to work on a book has no purpose than to get rid of that book..

--Vladimir Nabokov

red and black floral textile

He loved her in spite of her unlovableness. Armande had many trying, thought not necessarily rare, traits, all of which he accepted as absurd clues in a clever puzzle.

--Vladimir Nabokov

sunset

All great novels are great fairy tales.

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.

--Vladimir Nabokov

yellow, orange, red, green, and blue abstract painting

His wings were failing, but he refused to fall without a struggle.

--Vladimir Nabokov

mountain hills under blue sky

The lost glove is happy.

--Vladimir Nabokov

None

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?

--Vladimir Nabokov

sunset

Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler's helmet. Stay inside or you perish.

--Vladimir Nabokov

red textile in close up photography

It was something quite special, that feeling: an oppressive, hideous constraint as if I were sitting with the small ghost of somebody I had just killed.

--Vladimir Nabokov

houses and trees during nighttime

You must be careful. There are things that should never be given up. You must persevere.

--Vladimir Nabokov


leafless tree under gray sky

It is nothing but a kind of a microcosmos of communism -- all that psychiatry', rumbled Pnin ... 'Why not leave their private sorrow to people? Is sorrow not, one asks, the only thing in the world people really possess?

--Vladimir Nabokov

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