Vladimir Nabokov“... one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do no have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous achievement of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is - a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed) - a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.” ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
The best part of a writer's biography is not the record of his adventures but the story of his style. [Vogue, interview, 1969]
Why did I hope we would be happy abroad? A change of environment is that traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.
I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind is poisoning everything else.
My darling, what a cat they have! Something perfectly stupendous. Siamese, in colour dark beige, or taupe, with chocolate paws and the tail the same. Moreover, his tail is comparatively short, so his croup has something of a little dog, or rather, a kangaroo, and that’s its colour, too. And that special silkiness of short fur, and some very tender white tints on its folds, and wonderful clear-blue eyes, turning transparently green towards evening, and a pensive tenderness of its walk, a sort of heavenly circumspection of movement. An amazing, sacred animal, and so quiet – it’s unclear what he is looking at with those eyes filled to the brim with sapphire water.
For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist.
For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann.
Genius is finding the invisible link between things.
while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.
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...