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VLADIMIR NABOKOV QUOTES

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

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Paris Review, Oct. 1967

Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Wisconson Studies in Contemporary Literature, Spring 1967

The reason we think of death in celestial terms is that the visible firmament, especially at night ... is the most adequate and ever-present symbol of that vast silent explosion.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, "That in Aleppo Once...," Nabokov's Dozen

The more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Strong Opinions

Above all, beware of platitudes, i.e., word combinations that have already appeared a thousand times.... As a general rule, try to find new combinations of words (not for the sake of their novelty, but because every person sees things in an individual way and must find his own words for them).

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, letter to Kirill Nabokov, c. 1930

Solitude is the playfield of Satan.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Pale Fire

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, "Philistines and Philistinism"

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

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, BBC interview, 1962

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

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, foreward, Strong Opinions

Readers are not sheep, and not every pen tempts them.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Lectures on Literature

At the peak of this human agonized selfless tenderness (with my soul actually hanging around her naked body and ready to repent), all at once, ironically, horribly, lust would swell again--and 'oh, no,' Lolita would say with a sigh to heaven, and the next moment the tenderness and the azure--all would be shattered.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Lolita

Which arrow flies for ever? The arrow that has hit its mark.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, "A Russian Beauty"

Art at its greatest is fantastically deceitful and complex.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Strong Opinions

I have the European urge to use my feet when a drive can be dispensed with.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Lolita

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.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Speak, Memory

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

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, attributed, Véra: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov

Let all of life be an unfettered howl.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

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

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Pale Fire

Dear Jesus, do something.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Pale Fire

Her lips were like large crimson polyps.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Lolita


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