Let at least one word of my writings impregnate the reader's heart.
And the red sun of desire and decision (the two things that create a live world) rose higher and higher, while upon a succession of balconies a succession of libertines, sparkling glass in hand, toasted the bliss of past and future nights.
The commentator may be excused for repeating what he has stressed in his own books and lectures, namely that "offensive" is frequently but a synonym for "unusual;" and a great work of art is of course always original, and thus by its very nature should come more or less as a shocking surprise.
As it happens with many people who do not trouble about religion in the ordinary trend of life, I hastily invented a soft, warm, tear-misty God, and whispered an informal prayer. Let me get there in time, let him hold out till I come, let him tell me his secret. Now it was all snow: the glass had grown a grey beard.
The act of vividly recalling a patch of the past is something that I seem to have been performing with the utmost zest all my life, and I have reason to believe that this almost pathological keenness of the retrospective faculty is a hereditary trait.
One was the common one with writers of his type: the bridging of the abyss lying between expression and thought; the maddening feeling that the right words, the only words are awaiting you on the opposite bank in the misty distance, and the shudderings of the still unclothed thought clamouring for them on this side of the abyss.
Delvig's best poem is the one he dedicated to Pushkin, his schoolmate, in January 1815. A boy of sixteen, prophesying in exact detail literary immortality to a boy of fifteen, and doing it in a poem that is itself immortal - this is a combination of intuitive genius and actual destiny to which I can find no parallel in the history of world poetry.
A novelist is, like all mortals, more fully at home on the surface of the present than in the ooze of the past.
The hoary judge put his mouth close to his ear, panted for a moment, made the announcement and slowly moved away, as though ungluing himself.
We shall connect the points, draw the line, and you and I shall form that unique design for which I yearn. If they do this kind of thing to me every morning, they will get me trained and I shall become quite wooden.
There is nothing more atrociously cruel than an adored child.
There is an old American saying 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.
And then will come the day when the last person who remembers me will die.
I could isolate, consciously, little. Everything seemed blurred, yellow-clouded, yielding nothing tangible. Her inept acrostics, maudlin evasions, theopathies - every recollection formed ripples of mysterious meaning. Everything seemed yellowly blurred, illusive, lost.
Inventing for them elaborate dreams, pure classics in style (which make them, the dream-extortionists, dream and wake up shrieking); [...] By bribing a nurse I won access to some files and discovered, with glee, cards calling me potentially homosexual and totally impotent.
Oh, 'impressed' is not the right word! Treading the soil of the moon gives one, I imagine (or rather my projected self imagines), the most remarkable romantic thrill ever experienced in the history of discovery.
Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer.
Both Erica and Liza Wind were morbidly concerned with heredity, and instead of delighting in Victor's artistic genius, they used to worry gloomily about its genetic cause.
In life, as in chess, it is always better to analyze one's motives and intentions.
Before I drove to wherever the beast's lair was - and then pulled the pistol's foreskin back, and then enjoyed the orgasm of the crushed trigger.
Although there is plenty of space on a gravestone to contain, bound in moss, the abridged version of a man's life, detail is always welcome.
Speak, Memory is strictly autobiographic. There is nothing autobiographic in Lolita.
In fact I believe that one day a reappraiser will come and declare that, far from having been a frivolous firebird, I was a rigid moralist: kicking sin, cuffing stupidity, ridiculing the vulgar and cruel—and assigning sovereign power to tenderness, talent and pride.
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.
It is easy for him and me to decipher now a past destiny; but a destiny in the making is, believe me, not one of those honest mystery stories where all you have to do is keep an eye on the clues.
With a heavy heart I left the house and walked through the spotted blaze of the sun to my car. Two other cars were parked on both sides of it, and I had some trouble squeezing out.
If told I am a bad poet, I smile; but if told I am a poor scholar, I reach for my heaviest dictionary.
I almost said—trying to find some casual remark—'I wonder sometimes what has become of the little McCoo girl, did she ever get better?'—but stopped in time lest she rejoin: 'I wonder sometimes what has become of the little Haze girl . . .
Under no circumstances would he [Humbert Humbert] have interfered with the innocence of a child, if there was the least risk of a row.
I dreamt of you last night - as if I was playing the piano and you were turning the pages for me.
One last word are you quite quite ure that - well not tomorrow of course and not after tomorrow but - well - some day any day you will not come to live with me I will create a brand new God and thank him with piercing cries if you give me that microscopic hope.
That human life is but a first installment of the serial soul and that one's individual secret is not lost in the process of earthly dissolution, becomes something more than an optimistic conjecture, and even more than a matter of religious faith, when we remember that only commonsense rules immortality out.
The decrees of society are temporary ones; what Tolstoy is interested in are the eternal demands of morality.
Solitude was corrupting me...My heart was a hysterical unreliable organ.
Remember that what you are told is really threefold: shaped by the teller, reshaped by the listener, concealed from both by the dead man in the tale.
Perhaps what matters is not the human pain or joy at all but, rather, the play of shadow and light on a live body, the harmony of trifles assembled...in a unique and inimitable way.
All my stories are webs of style and none seems at first blush to contain much kinetic matter. For me style is matter.
You know, what's so dreadful about dying is that you are completely on your own.
All my best words are deserters and do not answer the trumpet call, and the remainder are cripples.
Another tormentor inquired if it was true that I had installed two ping-pong tables in my basement. I asked, was it a crime? No, he said, but why two? "Is that a crime?" I countered, and they all laughed.