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Vladimir Nabokov quotes Showing 1-30 of 1,570

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“And the rest is rust and stardust.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“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. 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. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. 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.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“Our imagination flies -- we are its shadow on the earth.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes”
Vladimir Nabokov
“Toska - noun /ˈtō-skə/ - Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

"No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“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.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”
Nabokov Vladimi, Lolita
“Oh, don't cry, I'm so sorry I cheated so much, but that's the way things are.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“Words without experience are meaningless.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other's soul and flesh; but there we were, unable even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do so.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“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”
Vladimir Nabokov
“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.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago - but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man's child. She could fade and wither - I didn't care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“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.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
“Literature was not born the day when a boy crying "wolf, wolf" came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying "wolf, wolf" and there was no wolf behind him.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
“The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.”
Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
“Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“Let all of life be an unfettered howl.”
Vladimir Nabokov
“And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full action but unable to cope with my tears.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Mary
“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! And there were times when I knew how you felt, and it was hell to know it, my little one. Lolita girl, brave Dolly Schiller.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness―in a landscape selected at random―is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern―to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”
Vladimir Nabokov

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