Vladimir Nabokov Quotes (137 Quotes)


    If you want to make a movie out of my book, have one of these faces gently melt into my own, while I look.


    We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives.


    I'm thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art, And this is the only immortality that you and I may share, my Lolita.



    While a few pertinent points have to be marked, the general impression I desire to convey is of a side door crashing open in life's full flight, and a rush of roaring black time drowning with its whipping wind the cry of lone disaster.


    Imagine me; I shall not exist if you do not imagine me; try to discern the doe in me, trembling in the forest of my own iniquity; let's even smile a little. After all, there is no harm in smiling.

    One last word are you quite quite ure that - well not tomorrow of course and not after tomorrow but - well - some day any day you will not come to live with me I will create a brand new God and thank him with piercing cries if you give me that microscopic hope.


    When stripped and shiny in the mist of the bath house, his bold virilia contrasted harshly with his girlish grace. He was a regular faunlet.


    Perhaps if the year was 1447 instead of 1947 I might have hoodwinked my gentle nature by administering her some classical poison from a hollow agate, some tender philter of death. But in our middle-class nosy era it would not have come off the way it used to in the brocaded palaces of the past. Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer.

    Why do those people guess so much and shave so little, and are so disdainful of hearing aids?


    It is not the artistic aptitudes that are secondary sexual characters as some shams and shamans have said; it is the other way around: sex is but the ancilla of art.



    It is strange that the tactile sense, which is so infinitely less precious to men than sight, becomes at critical moments our main, if not only, handle to reality.

    She was only the faint violet whiff and dead leaf echo of the nymphet I had rolled myself upon with such cries in the past; an echo on the brink of a russet ravine, with a far wood under a white sky, and brown leaves choking the brook, and one last cricket in the crisp weeds.






    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

    The general impression is that fifteen year-old Dolly remains morbidly uninterested in sexual matters, or to be exact, represses her curiosity in order to save her ignorance and self-dignity.


    I grew, a happy, healthy child in a bright world of illustrated books, clean sand, orange trees, friendly dogs, sea vistas and smiling faces.

    Let me repeat with quite force: I was, and still am, despite mes malheurs, an exceptionally handsome male; slow moving tall, with dark soft hair and a gloomy but all the more seductive cast of demeanour.

    There he stood, in the camouflage of sun and shade, disfigured by them and masked by his own nakedness.

    All the seven deadly sins are peccadilloes but without three of them, Pride, Lust, and Sloth, poetry might never have been born.


    Life is short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five paces. It is a very short walk. Make those twenty-five steps. Now. Right now. Come just as you are. And we shall live happily ever after.


    And he absolutely had to find her at once to tell her that he adored her, but the large audience before him separated him from the door, and the notes reaching him through a succession of hands said that she was not available; that she was inaugurating a fire; that she had married an american businessman; that she had become a character in a novel; that she was dead.

    I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my specter shall come out of him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve. ...I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.


    This, to use an American term in which discovery, retribution, torture, death, eternity appear in the shape of a singularly repulsive nutshell, was it.


    I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.



    Feeling a bit nervous, as most people do at the prospect of seeing a doctor, I thought I would buy on my way to him something soothing to prevent an accelerated pulse from misleading credulous science.


    My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys.

    We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night - every night, every night - the moment I feigned sleep.


    I want you to leave your incidental Dick, and this awful hole, and come to live with me, and die with me, and everything with me.


    More Vladimir Nabokov Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Literature - Mind - Life - Books - Art - Death & Dying - Sense & Perception - Past - World - Happiness - Nature - Education - Genius - People - Cry - Emotions - Poetry - Imagination & Visualization - Work & Career - View All Vladimir Nabokov Quotations

    More Vladimir Nabokov Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Lolita
    - Pale Fire

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