Best 548 of Vladimir Nabokov quotes - MyQuotes

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Vladimir Nabokov
By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as nymphets.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 18 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

The decrees of society are temporary ones; what Tolstoy is interested in are the eternal demands of morality.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Your voice, through the beelike hum, was remote and anxious. It kept sliding into the distance and vanishing. I spoke to you with tightly shut eyes, and felt like crying. My love for you was the throbbing, welling warmth of tears. That is exactly how I imagined paradise: silence and tears, and the warm silk of your knees. This you could not comprehend.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

After all, in order to live happily, a man must know now and then a few moments of perfect blankness. Yet I was always exposed, always wide-eyed; even in sleep I did not cease to watch over myself, understanding nothing of my existence, growing crazy at the thought of not being able to stop being aware of myself.....

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

But that mimosa grove-the haze of stars, the tingle, the flame, the honey-dew, and the ache remained with me, and that little girl with her seaside limbs and ardent tongue haunted me ever since-until at last, twenty-four years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Measure me while I live - after it will be too late.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

You forget, my good man, that what the artist perceives is, primarily, the difference between things. It is the vulgar who note their resemblance.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

It is late now, I am a bit tired; the sky is irritated by stars. And I love you, I love you, I love you – and perhaps this is how the whole enormous world, shining all over, can be created – out of five vowels and three consonants.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Of all my Russian books, the defense contains and diffuses the greatest 'warmth' which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract Chess is supposed to be

By Anonym 18 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

[S]urely the Cupid serving him was lefthanded, with a weak chin and no imagination.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

The sun is a thief: she lures the sea and robs it. The moon is a thief: he steals his silvery light from the sun. The sea is a thief: it dissolves the moon.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Cynthia had been on friendly terms with an eccentric librarian called Porlock who in the last years of his dusty life had been engaged in examining old books for miraculous misprints such as the substitution of "1" for the second "h" in the word "hither." Contrary to Cynthia, he cared nothing for the thrill of obscure predictions; all he sought was the freak itself, the chance that mimics choice, the flaw that looks like a flower; and Cynthia, a much more perverse amateur of misshapen or illicitly connected words, puns, logogriphs, and so on, had helped the poor crank to pursue a quest that in the light of the example she cited struck me as statistically insane. ("The Vane Sisters")

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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. Lo. Lee. Ta.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I see nothing for the treatment of my misery but the melancholy and very local palliative of articulate art.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

As she began losing track of herself, she though it proper to inform a series of receding Lucettes - telling them to pass it on and on in a trick-crystal regression - that what death amounted to was only a more complete assortment of the infinite fractions of solitude.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one's stomach the separation from Terra-these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known . . . this is the only thing I can say about the matter. The utilitarian results do not interest me.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

The distinct feature of everything extant is its monotony.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Why do those people guess so much and shave so little, and are so disdainful of hearing aids?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 16 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I could not kill her, of course, as some have thought. You see, I loved her. It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

A cluster of stars palely glowed above us, between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I sometimes used to ask myself, what on earth did I love her for? Maybe fore the warm hazel iris of her fluffy eyes, or for the natural side-wave of her brown hair, done anyhow, or again for that movement of her plump shoulders. But, probably the truth was that I loved her because she loved me. To her I was the ideal man: brains, pluck. And there was none dressed better. I remember once, when I first put on that new dinner jacket, with the vast trousers, she clapsed her hands, sank down on a chair and murmured: 'Oh, Hermann...." It was ravishment bordering upon something like heavenly woe.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

There, I feel once again that I shall really express myself, shall bring the words to bay. Alas, no one taught me this kind of chase, and the ancient inborn art of writing is long since forgotten—forgotten are the days when it needed no schooling, but ignited and blazed like a forest fire—today it seems just as incredible as the music that once used to be extracted from a monstrous pianoforte, music that would nimbly ripple or suddenly hack the world into great, gleaming blocks—I myself picture all this so clearly, but you are not I, and therein lies the irreparable calamity.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

No free man needs a God; but was I free? How fully I felt nature glued to me And how my childish palate loved the taste Half-fish, half-honey, of that golden paste! My picture book was at an early age The painted parchment papering our cage: Mauve rings around the moon; blood-orange sun; Twinned Iris; and that rare phenomenon The iridule - when, beautiful and strange, In a bright sky above a mountain range One opal cloudlet in an oval form Reflects the rainbow of a thunderstorm Which in a distant valley has been staged - For we are most artistically caged.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Caress the detail, the divine detail.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

This irritated or puzzled such students of literature and their professors as were accustomed to ‘serious’ courses replete with ‘trends ’ and ‘schools ’ and ‘myths ’ and ‘symbols ’ and ‘social comment ’ and something unspeakably spooky called ‘climate of thought.’ Actually these ‘serious’ courses were quite easy ones with the students required to know not the books but about the books.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

but that mimosa grove - the haze of stars, the tingle, the flame, the honey-dew, and the ache remained with me, and that little girl with her seaside limbs and ardent tongue haunted me ever since." "this then is my story. i have reread it. it has bits of marrow sticking to it, and blood, and beautiful bright-green flies. at this or that twist of it i feel my slippery self eluding me, gliding into deeper and darker waters than i care to probe.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I love you. Infinitely and inexpressibly. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and here I am writing this. My love, my happiness.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I don't think in any language. I think in images.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 19 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

What I am thinking of is the man of imagination and science, whose courage is infinite because his curiosity surpasses his courage. Nothing will keep him back.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I am not, and never was, and never could have been, a brutal scoundrel.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Queer, how I misinterpreted the designations of doom.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls ... There is one subject which I am emphatically opposed to: any kind of representation of a little girl.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Pnin slowly walked under solemn pines. The sky was dying. He did not believe in an autocratic God. He did believe, dimly, in a democracy of ghosts. The souls of the dead, perhaps, formed committees, and these, in continuous session, attended the destinies of the quick.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

The idea of God was invented in the small hours of history by a scam who had genius; it somehow reeks too much of humanity, that idea, to make its azure origin plausible...

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I still dwelled deep in my elected paradise--a paradise whose skies were the color of hell-flames--but still a paradise.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I notice I may have somehow mixed up two events, my visit with Rita to Briceland on our way to Cantrip, and our passing through Briceland again on our way back to New York, but such suffusions of swimming colors are not to be disdained by the artist in recollection.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

A warm flow of pain was gradually replacing the ice and wood of the anaesthetic in his thawing, still half-dead, abominably martyred mouth. After that, during a few days he was in mourning for an intimate part of himself. It surprised him to realize how fond he had been of his teeth. His tongue, a fat sleek seal, used to flop and slide so happily among the familiar rocks, checking the contours of a battered but still secure kingdom, plunging from cave to cove, climbing this jag, nuzzling that notch, finding a shred of sweet seaweed in the same old cleft; but now not a landmark remained, and all there existed was a great dark wound, a terra incognita of gums which dread and disgust forbade one to investigate. And when the plates were thrust in, it was like a poor fossil skull being fitted with the grinning jaws of a perfect stranger.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

This twinned twinkle was delightful but not completely satisfying; or rather it only sharpened my appetite for other tidbits of light and shade, and I walked on in a state of raw awareness that seemed to transform the whole of my being into one big eyeball rolling in the world's socket. Through peacocked lashes I saw the dazzling diamond reflection of the low sun on the round back of a parked automobile. To all kinds of things a vivid pictorial sense had been restored by the sponge of the thaw. Water in overlapping festoons flowed down one sloping street and turned gracefully into another. With ever so slight a note of meretricious appeal, narrow passages between buildings revealed treasures of brick and purple. I remarked for the first time the humble fluting - last echoes of grooves on the shafts of columns - ornamenting a garbage can, and I also saw the rippling upon its lid - circles diverging from a fantastically ancient center. Erect, dark-headed shapes of dead snow (left by the blades of a bulldozer last Friday) were lined up like rudimentary penguins along the curbs, above the brilliant vibration of live gutters. I walked up, and I walked down, and I walked straight into a delicately dying sky, and finally the sequence of observed and observant things brought me, at my usual eating time, to a street so distant from my usual eating place that I decided to try a restaurant which stood on the fringe of the town. Night had fallen without sound or ceremony when I came out again. ("The Vane Sisters")

By Anonym 17 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

No jewels, save my eyes, do I own, but I have a rose which is even softer than my rosy lips. And a quiet youth said: 'There is nothing softer than your heart.' And I lowered my gaze...” I wrote back telling Liza that her poems were bad and she ought to stop composing. Sometime later I saw her in another cafe, sitting at a long table, abloom and ablaze among a dozen young Russian poets. She kept her sapphire glance on me with a mocking and mysterious persistence.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

Freudism and all it has tainted with its grotesque implications and methods, appear to me to be one of the vilest deceits practiced by people on themselves and on others. I reject it utterly, along with a few other medieval items still adored by the ignorant, the conventional, or the very sick.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Vladimir Nabokov

I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my specter shall come out of him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve. ... I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.