Quotations From VLADIMIR NABOKOV
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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 (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Selected Letters, March 17, 1951 (1989). To an editor who objected to an absence of substance in "The Vane Sisters" as grounds for rejecting it.
Dear Felix, I have found some work for you. First of all we must have an eye-to-eye monologue and get things settled.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Despair, ch. 4 (1966). Hermann's first letter to Felix.
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The novel is not "a crazy quilt of bits"; it is a logical sequence of psychological events: the movements of stars may seem crazy to the simpleton, but wise men know the comets come back.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Selected Letters, July 14, 1938 (1989). To a literary agent considering The Gift.
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Darling, you know, I have a most ambitious fantasy.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters), Lolita, explaining to her husband, Humbert, her plans for a life without Lolita (1962).
No, I'm Spartacus. You come to free the slaves or something?Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Claire Quilty (Peter Sellers), Lolita, after Humbert has asked if he is Quilty (1962). Spartacus was Kubrick's previous film.
Between here and that old car outside there are twenty-five paces. Make them. Now.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Humbert Humbert (James Mason), Lolita, urging Lolita to leave her husband and run away with Humbert (1962).
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The wedding was a quiet affair, and when called upon to enjoy my promotion from lodger to lover did I experience only bitterness and distaste? No.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Humbert Humbert (James Mason), Lolita, writing in his diary about his marriage to Lolita's mother, Charlotte (1962).
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Today one does not hear much about him.... 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 (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. "Spring in Filata," Nabokov's Dozen (1958). Of a writer in the story.
There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Koncheyev, in The Gift, ch. 1 (1937, trans. 1963).
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[The Gift] is the last novel I wrote, or shall ever write, in Russian.Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. The Gift, foreword (1963).
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