Treasure Island

Quotations From VLADIMIR NABOKOV

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  • 11.
    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.
  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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).
  • 15.
    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.
  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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.

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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    [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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