34 Great Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

34 Great Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

by / Comments Off / 358 View / Nov 21, 2014

Vladimir Nabokov was an author from Russia. His most notorious novel, Lolita, was written in 1955 and considered his finest work. He was nominated for the National Book Award For Fiction many times however he never won it. He died in 1977 at the age of 78.

“As far as I can recall, the initial shiver of inspiration was somehow prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: this sketch showed the bars of the poor creature’s cage.”

“Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.”

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

“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.”

“Her intense and pure religiousness took the form of her having equal faith in the existence of another world and in the impossibility of comprehending it in terms of earthly life.”

“I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.”

“I certainly do speak Russian. You see, it was the fashionable language par excellence, much more than French, among the nobles of Zembla at least.”

“I don’t belong to any club or group.”

“I don’t think in any language. I think in images.”

“I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more.”

“I think he’s crude, I think he’s medieval, and I don’t want an elderly gentleman from Vienna with an umbrella inflicting his dreams upon me. I don’t have the dreams that he discusses in his books. I don’t see umbrellas in my dreams. Or balloons.”

“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.”

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

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

“Lolita is famous, not I.”

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

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

“Oh, “impressed” is not the right word! Treading the soil of the moon gives one, I imagine (or rather my projected self imagines), the most remarkable romantic thrill ever experienced in the history of discovery.”

“Philistinism implies not only a collection of stock ideas but also the use of set phrases, clichés, banalities expressed in faded words. A true philistine has nothing but these trivial ideas of which he entirely consists.”

“Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!”

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

“Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution.”

“Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.”

“Solitude is the play field of Satan.”

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

“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.”

“The heating system was a farce, depending as it did on registers in the floor wherefrom the tepid exhalations of a throbbing and groaning basement furnace were transmitted to the rooms with the faintness of a moribund’s last breath.”

“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.”

“The rich philistinism emanating from advertisements is due not to their exaggerating (or inventing) the glory of this or that serviceable article but to suggesting that the acme of human happiness is purchasable and that its purchase somehow ennobles the purchaser.”

“To know that no one before you has seen an organ you are examining, to trace relationships that have occurred to no one before, to immerse yourself in the wondrous crystalline world of the microscope, where silence reigns, circumscribed by its own horizon, a blindingly white arena — all this is so enticing that I cannot describe it.”

“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.”

“True art is above false honor.”

“What is this jest in majesty? This ass in passion? How do God and Devil combine to form a live dog?”

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