Yesterday was the birthday of multilingual Russian novelist, poet and short story writer Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov. Nabokov's (22 April 1899 – 2 July 1977) first nine novels were in Russian. He also made serious contributions as a lepidopterist and chess composer. Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequently cited as among his most important novels and is his most widely known, exhibiting the love of intricate word play and synesthetic detail that characterized all his works. The novel was ranked at No. 4 in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels. Pale Fire (1962) was ranked at No. 53 on the same list. His memoir, Speak, Memory, was listed No. 8 on the Modern Library nonfiction list. Presenting some Quotations : Being Poet
The evolution of sense is, in a sense, the evolution of nonsense.
If I were not perfectly sure of my power to write and of my marvelous ability to express ideas with the utmost grace and vividness.... So, more or less, I had thought of beginning my tale.
To a joke, then, I owe my first gleam of consciousness—which again has recapitulatory implications, since the first creatures on earth to become aware of time were also the first creatures to smile.
Happy is the novelist who manages to preserve an actual love letter that he received when he was young within a work of fiction, embedded in it like a clean bullet in flabby flesh and quite secure there, among spurious lives.
Trees appeared in groups and singly, revolving coolly and blandly, displaying the latest fashions. The blue dampness of a ravine. A memory of love, disguised as a meadow. Wispy clouds—the greyhounds of heaven.
To minor authors is left the ornamentation of the commonplace: these do not bother about any reinventing of the world; they merely try to squeeze the best they can out of a given order of things, out of traditional patterns of fiction.
Nowadays, when Freudism is discredited, the author recalls with a whistle of wonder that not so long ago—say before 1959 (i.e., before the publication of the first of the seven forewords to his Englished novels) Ma child's personality was supposed to split automatically in sympathetic consequence of parental divorce.
Among the many gifts I showered on Martin, I was careful not to include talent. How easy it would have been to make him an artist, a writer; how hard not to let him be one, while bestowing on him the keen sensitivity that one generally associates with the creative creature; how cruel to prevent him from finding in art—not an "escape" (which is only a cleaner cell on a quieter floor), but relief from the itch of being.
We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know. When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other worlds, other branches of knowledge.
The following passage is not for the general reader, but for the particular idiot who, because he lost a fortune in some crash, thinks he understands me.
My old (since 1917) quarrel with the Soviet dictatorship so wholly unrelated to any question of property. My contempt for the emigre who "hates the Reds" because they "stole" his money and land is complete. The nostalgia I have been cherishing all these years is a hypertrophied sense of lost childhood, not sorrow for lost banknotes.