Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.— Vladimir Nabokov
The most fulfilling Vladimir Nabokov quotes that are little-known but priceless
And the rest is rust and stardust.
Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.
Mind you, sometimes the angels smoke, hiding it with their sleeves, and when the archangel comes, they throw the cigarettes away: that’s when you get shooting stars.
Our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.
Imagination is the muscle of the soul.
The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.
I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.
A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish - but there was no diamond inside. That’s what I like about coincidence.
Loneliness as a situation can be corrected, but as a state of mind it is an incurable illness.
I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world’s muteness.
I loved you. I was a pentapod monster, but I loved you. I was despicable and brutal, and turpid, and everything, mais je t’aimais, je t’aimais!
A cluster of stars palely glowed above us, between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own.
Let all of life be an unfettered howl.
Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don't stop to think, don't interrupt the scream, exhale, release life's rapture.
Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.
I was the shadow of the waxwing slain/By the false azure in the windowpane.
The contemplation of beauty, whether it be a uniquely tinted sunset, a radiant face, or a work of art, makes us glance back unwittingly at our personal past and juxtapose ourselves and our inner being with the utterly unattainable beauty revealed to us.
And yet I adore him. I think he's quite crazy, and with no place or occupation in life, and far from happy, and philosophically irresponsible – and there is absolutely nobody like him.
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Life is just one small piece of light between two eternal darknesses.
Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends.
We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.
For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me.
in a sense, all poetry is positional: to try to express one's position in regard to the universe embraced by consciousness, is an immemorial urge. The arms of consciousness reach out and grope, and the longer they are the better. Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo's natural members.
It is a short walk from the hallelujah to the hoot.
The spiral is a spiritualized circle.
In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock.
She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Why should I tolerate a perfect stranger at the bedside of my mind?
...in my dreams the world would come alive, becoming so captivatingly majestic, free and ethereal, that afterwards it would be oppressive to breathe the dust of this painted life.
Suddenly for no earthly reason I felt immensely sorry for him and longed to say something real, something with wings and a heart, but the birds I wanted settled on my shoulders and head only later when I was alone and not in need of words.
We think not in words but in shadows of words.
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
Time is rhythm: the insect rhythm of a warm humid night, brain ripple, breathing, the drum in my temple—these are our faithful timekeepers; and reason corrects the feverish beat.
There he stood, in the camouflage of sun and shade, disfigured by them and masked by his own nakedness.
We are most artistically caged.
Art at its greatest is fantastically deceitful and complex.
All the seven deadly sins are peccadilloes but without three of them, Pride, Lust, and Sloth, poetry might never have been born.
I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published.
My pencils outlast their erasers.
if a violin string could ache, i would be that string.
There is an old American saying 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.
There are teachers and students with square minds who are by nature meant to undergo the fascination of catagories. For them, 'schools' and 'movements' are everything; by painting a group symbol on the brow of mediocrity, they condone their own incomprehension of true genius.
The more gifted and talkative one's characters are, the greater the chances of their resembling the author in tone or tint of mind.
Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm;
not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats: the Tender Interval.
Some might think that the creativity, imagination, and flights of fancy that give my life meaning are insanity.
Genius is an African who dreams up snow.
He was powerless because he had no precise desire, and this tortured him because he was vainly seeking something to desire. He could not even make himself stretch out his hand to switch on the light. The simple transition from intention to action seemed an unimaginable miracle.
There is only one real number: one. And love, apparently, is the best exponent of this singularity.
A philistine is a full-grown person whose interests are of a material and commonplace nature, and whose mentality is formed of the stock ideas and conventional ideals of his or her group and time.
Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained.