Vladimir Nabokov Quotes

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

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.

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

Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.

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


And the rest is rust and stardust.

Genius is finding the invisible link between things.

…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.

Only one letter divides the comic from the cosmic.

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

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

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

Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!

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

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.


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.

I don’t think in any language. I think in images.

My mind speaks English, my heart speaks Russian, and my ear prefers French.

Why should I tolerate a perfect stranger at the bedside of my mind?

The square root of I is I.

Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.

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.

The contemplation of beauty, whether it be a uniquely tinted sunset, a radiant face, or a work of art, makes us glance back unwittingly at our personal past and juxtapose ourselves and our inner being with the utterly unattainable beauty revealed to us.

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

For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me.