Vladimir Nabokov

(1899-1977 / Saint Petersburg)

Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

  • ''[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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  • ''A masterpiece of fiction is an original world and as such is not likely to fit the world of the reader.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lectures on Don Quixote, introduction (1983).
  • ''The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lectures on Russian Literature, ch. I (1981).
  • ''At fifteen I visualized myself as a world-famous author of seventy with a mane of wavy white hair. Today I am practically bald.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. The New York Times, interview (1971). On being asked how far his youthful expectations had been fulfilled.
  • ''I cannot conceive how anybody in his right mind should go to a psychoanalyst.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Life, interview (1964).
  • ''To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. The New York Times Book Review, interview (1972). on being asked "What kinds of power do you favor, and which do you oppose?"
  • ''Mr. Goodman's large soft pinkish face was, and is, remarkably like a cow's udder.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, ch. 6 (1941). Of the rival biographer of Sebastian Knight.
  • ''Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lolita, afterword (1955).
  • ''Thus, in pornographic novels, action has to be limited to the copulation of cliches.''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lolita, afterword (1955).
  • ''Oh Lolita, you are my girl, as Vee was Poe's and Bea Dante's, and what little girl would not like to whirl in a circular skirt and scanties?''
    Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born U.S. novelist, poet. Lolita, pt. I, ch. 25.

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