Vladimir Nabokov

(1899-1977 / Saint Petersburg)

Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

  • ''Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lolita: A Screenplay, foreword (1974).
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  • ''There is nothing in the world that I loathe more than group activity, that communal bath where the hairy and slippery mix in a multiplication of mediocrity.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lolita: A Screenplay, foreword (1974). Of his constitutional unsuitability as a dramatist, regarding his being asked initially to do the screenplay of Lolita.
  • ''I'm really sorry that I cheated so much, but I guess that's just the way things are.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Lolita Haze (James Mason), Lolita, saying goodbye to Humbert Humbert as she is now married and pregnant (1962).
  • ''I haven't missed you. In fact, I've been revoltingly unfaithful to you.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian. Lolita Haze (Sue Lyon), Lolita, when Humbert, her stepfather, picks her up at camp following the death of her mother (1962).
  • ''Coincidence is a pimp and a cardsharper in ordinary fiction but a marvelous artist in the patterns of facts recollected by a non-ordinary memorist.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Look at the Harlequins! pt. VI, ch. 1 (1974).
  • ''I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. "Mademoiselle O," Nabokov's Dozen (1958).
  • ''A special feature of the structure of our book is the monstrous but perfectly organic part that eavesdropping plays in it.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. A Hero of Our Time, foreword (1958).
  • ''No author has created with less emphasis such pathetic characters as Chekhov has....''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. "Anton Chekhov," Lectures on Russian Literature (1981).
  • ''Let us wait for the page proof.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, interview (1971). on being asked "what is the meaning of life?"
  • ''There exist few things more tedious than a discussion of general ideas inflicted by author or reader upon a work of fiction.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Bend Sinister, foreword (1947).

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