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A collection of Vladimir Nabokov quotes about love, life, poetry, writing, books, memory, wit and much more.

100 Quotes By Vladimir Nabokov That You Would Like To Share

Quick Facts

Famous As: Novelist

Born On: April 22, 1899

Died On: July 2, 1977

Born In: Saint Petersburg

Died At Age: 78

'Lolita', a single word that ropes in sin, sex and shame, is a delectable creation by the artful hands of Vladimir Nabokov. One of the best novels of the early twentieth century, this simple title carries a lot of weight, but this isn't all. Nabokov's best pieces like 'Pale Fire', parody 'The Real Life of Sebastian Knight' and novels 'Bend Sinister' and 'Speak. Memory' (his memoir) encloses carefully structured storyline, dramatic descriptions and experimental thinking. Vladimir was a Russian-born American fiction writer, poet, teacher, political analyst, entomologist (butterfly expert) and a highly acclaimed novelist. At National Book Award for Fiction, he was a finalist seven times. He began his career as a teacher and crossword developer. He taught boxing, tennis and designed crossword puzzles for kids in his spare time. Vladimir was a teacher of languages at Stanford, California. Later, he joined as a professor of literature at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. Being a multi-talented person, Nabokov was famous for his plays, funny sketches for 'New Yorker', criticism and stirring short stories. His research in entomology, especially the discovery of "Nabokov's wood nymph" made him famous at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. Nabokov has so much talent that it's unbelievable. His life is an inspiring lesson for today's youths. We have excerpted Vladimir Nabokov’s quotes from his works, books, interviews and life. Here is a collection of Vladimir Nabokov quotes about love, life, poetry, writing, books, memory and much more.

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It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.

Vladimir Nabokov

And the rest is rust and stardust.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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

He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.

Vladimir Nabokov

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Vladimir Nabokov

I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.

Vladimir Nabokov

Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.

Vladimir Nabokov

You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

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

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

Words without experience are meaningless.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Vladimir Nabokov

Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.

Vladimir Nabokov

Let all of life be an unfettered howl.

Vladimir Nabokov

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

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

Some might think that the creativity, imagination, and flights of fancy that give my life meaning are insanity.

Vladimir Nabokov

I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind is poisoning everything else.

Vladimir Nabokov

And she was mine, she was mine, the key was in my fist, my fist was in my pocket, she was mine.

Vladimir Nabokov

Dear Jesus, do something.

Vladimir Nabokov

Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Vladimir Nabokov

Curiously enough, one cannot read a book; one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, and active and creative reader is a rereader.

Vladimir Nabokov

I was weeping again, drunk on the impossible past.

Vladimir Nabokov

All colors made me happy: even gray. My eyes were such that literally they Took photographs.

Vladimir Nabokov

I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Vladimir Nabokov

A wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine. It is there that occurs the telltale tingle...

Vladimir Nabokov

Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.

Vladimir Nabokov

You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.

Vladimir Nabokov

I am sufficiently proud of my knowing something to be modest about my not knowing all.

Vladimir Nabokov

We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.

Vladimir Nabokov

If a violin string could ache, i would be that string.

Vladimir Nabokov

Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.

Vladimir Nabokov

My loathings are simple. stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. My pleasures are the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting.

Vladimir Nabokov

You know, what's so dreadful about dying is that you are completely on your own.

Vladimir Nabokov

Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

She was like Marat only with nobody to kill her.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Everything in the world is beautiful, but Man only recognizes beauty if he sees it either seldom or from afar. Listen, today we are gods! Our blue shadows are enormous! We move in a gigantic, joyful world!

Vladimir Nabokov

We are most artistically caged.

Vladimir Nabokov

Ink, a Drug.

Vladimir Nabokov

Humbert was perfectly capable of intercourse with Eve, but it was Lilith he longed for.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

The sun is a thief: she lures the sea and robs it. The moon is a thief: he steals his silvery light from the sun. The sea is a thief: it dissolves the moon.

Vladimir Nabokov

...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.

Vladimir Nabokov

...(hot, opalescent, thick tears that poets and lovers shed)...

Vladimir Nabokov

Don't touch me; I'll die if you touch me.

Vladimir Nabokov

The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.

Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.

Vladimir Nabokov

Because you took advantage of my disadvantage.

Vladimir Nabokov

It's a pity one can't imagine what one can't compare to anything. Genius is an African who dreams up snow.

Vladimir Nabokov

I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.

Vladimir Nabokov

A change of environment is the traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.

Vladimir Nabokov

Readers are not sheep, and not every pen tempts them.

Vladimir Nabokov

One is always at home in one's past...

Vladimir Nabokov

My heart was a hysterical unreliable organ.

Vladimir Nabokov

Oh, don't cry, I'm so sorry I cheated so much, but that's the way things are.

Vladimir Nabokov

Theoretically there is no absolute proof that one's awakening in the morning (the finding oneself again in the saddle of one's personality) is not really a quite unprecedented event, a perfectly original birth.

Vladimir Nabokov

I talk in a daze, I walk in a maze I cannot get out, said the starling

Vladimir Nabokov

A thousand years ago five minutes were Equal to forty ounces of fine sand. Outstare the stars. Infinite foretime and Infinite aftertime: above your head They close like giant wings, and you are dead.

Vladimir Nabokov

Was she really beautiful? Was she at least what they call attractive? She was exasperation, she was torture.

Vladimir Nabokov

A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Life is just one small piece of light between two eternal darknesses.

Vladimir Nabokov

Loneliness as a situation can be corrected, but as a state of mind it is an incurable illness.

Vladimir Nabokov

I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more.

Vladimir Nabokov

He was afraid of touching his own wrist. He never attempted to sleep on his left side, even in those dismal hours of the night when the insomniac longs for a third side after trying the two he has.

Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.

Vladimir Nabokov

I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world’s muteness.

Vladimir Nabokov

Be true to your Dick.

Vladimir Nabokov

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain/By the false azure in the windowpane...

Vladimir Nabokov

The square root of I is I.

Vladimir Nabokov

Who can say what heartbreaks are caused in a dog by our discontinuing a romp?

Vladimir Nabokov

But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Vladimir Nabokov

There is no science without fancy and no art without fact.

Vladimir Nabokov

I adore you, mon petit, and would never allow him to hurt you, no matter how gently or madly.

Vladimir Nabokov

The lost glove is happy.

Vladimir Nabokov

There is an old American saying 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

Do what only a true artist can do ... pounce upon the forgotten butterfly of revelation

Vladimir Nabokov

Genius is finding the invisible link between things.

Vladimir Nabokov

In and out of my heart flowed my rainbow blood.

Vladimir Nabokov

…She was, obviously, one of those women whose polished words may reflect a book club or bridge club, or any other deadly conventionality, but never her soul.

Vladimir Nabokov

...for the human brain can become the best torture house of all those it has invented, established and used in a millions of years, in millions of lands, on millions of howling creatures.

Vladimir Nabokov

All religions are based on obsolete terminology.

Vladimir Nabokov

My God died young. Theolatry i found Degrading, and its premises, unsound. No free man needs God; but was I free?

Vladimir Nabokov

Discussion in class, which means letting twenty young blockheads and two cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.

Vladimir Nabokov

What surprises you in life? The marvel of consciousness -- that sudden window swinging open on a sunlit landscape amidst the night of non-being.

Vladimir Nabokov

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.

Vladimir Nabokov

To begin with, let us take the following motto...Literature is Love. Now we can continue.

Vladimir Nabokov

How small the cosmos (a kangaroo's pouch would hold it), how paltry and puny in comparison to human consciousness, to a single individual recollection, and its expression in words!

Vladimir Nabokov