Vladimir Nabokov
Quotations


There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.

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 novelist is, like all mortals, more fully at home on the surface of the present than in the ooze of the past.

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

Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travellers, 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."

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.

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

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

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.

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

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

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting.

I don't think in any language. I think in images. I don't believe that people think in languages. They don't move their lips when they think. It is only a certain type of illiterate person who moves his lips as he reads or ruminates. No, I think in images, and now and then a Russian phrase or an English phrase will form with the foam of the brainwave, but thatís about all.

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.

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.



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