. . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate, a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts. — Vladimir Nabokov Advertisements
And meanwhile, outside the door, waits my faithful, my lonely night… — Vladimir Nabokov, from “A Letter that Never Reached Russia,” The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)
You came into my life — not as one comes to visit … but as one comes to a kingdom where all the rivers have been waiting for your reflection, all the roads, for your steps. — Vladimir Nabokov, Letters to Véra, ed. and transl. Olga Voronina and Brian Boyd (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014)
–and it seemed to him that happiness itself had that smell, the smell of dead leaves. — , from “The Return of Chorb,” The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)
I shall continue to exist. I may assume other disguises, other forms, but I shall try to exist. — Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos (Putnam, 1962)
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. — Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye (Phaedra, 1965)Originally published 1930.
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