Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

Most popular Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.

parody

The good writer is first of all an enchanter.

writers

Curiosity ... is insubordination in its purest form.

curiosity

Our imagination flies; we are its shadow on the earth.
— Vladimir Nabokov
Why should I tolerate a perfect stranger at the bedside of my mind?
— Vladimir Nabokov

psychiatrist

Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.

literature

Beauty plus pity—this is the closest we can get to a definition of art.

art

Initially, I was unaware that time, so boundless at first blush, was a prison.

time

A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.
— Vladimir Nabokov

writers

There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.

aphorisms

Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished manuscript.

masterpiece

Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece.

life

A novelist is, like all mortals, more fully at home on the surface of the present than in the ooze of the past.

novelists

When a man writes a letter to himself, it is a pity to post it to somebody else.  Perhaps the same is true of a book.

books

That trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand...is as old as the quills....  My characters are galley slaves.
Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals.  It is a mental torture I find debasing.

sleep

Ideas in modern Russia are machine-cut blocks coming in solid colors; the nuance is outlawed, the interval walled up, the curve grossly stepped.

Russia

Literature was born not 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.

literature