Vladimir Nabokov’s 20 Quotes on Writing

(Click the image) for 20 Vladimir Nabokov's quotes on writing

1. “Literature is invention. Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both truth and art.”

2. “It is a singular reaction, this sitting still and writing, writing, writing, or ruminating at length, which is much the same, really.

3. “There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer…The three facets of the great writer — magic, story, lesson — are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought…Then with a pleasure which is both sensual and intellectual we shall watch the artist build his castle of cards and watch the castle of cards become a castle of beautiful steel and glass.”

4. “The thought, when written down, becomes less oppressive, but some thoughts are like a cancerous tumor: you express is, you excise it, and it grows back worse than before.”

5. “No writer in a free country should be expected to bother about the exact demarcation between the sensuous and the sensual; this is preposterous; I can only admire but cannot emulate the accuracy of judgment of those who pose the fair young mammals photographed in magazines where the general neckline is just low enough to provoke a past master’s chuckle and just high enough not to make a postmaster frown.”

6. “The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.”

7. “Even while writing his book, he had become painfully aware how little he knew his own planet while attempting to piece together another one from jagged bits filched from deranged brains.”

8. “The pleasures of writing correspond exactly to the pleasures of reading.”

9. “Just as the universal family of gifted writers transcends national barriers, so is the gifted reader a universal figure, not subject to spatial or temporal laws. It is he—the good, the excellent reader—who has saved the artists again and again from being destroyed by emperors, dictators, priests, puritans, philistines, political moralists, policemen, postmasters, and prigs. Let me define this admirable reader. He does not belong to any specific nation or class. No director of conscience and no book club can manage his soul. His approach to a work of fiction is not governed by those juvenile emotions that make the mediocre reader identify himself with this or that character and “skip descriptions.” 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. The admirable reader does not seek information about Russia in a Russian novel, for he knows that the Russia of Tolstoy or Chekhov is not the average Russia of history but a specific world imagined and created by individual genius. The admirable reader is not concerned with general ideas; he is interested in the particular vision. He likes the novel not because it helps him to get along with the group (to use a diabolical progressive-school cliche); he likes the novel because he imbibes and understands every detail of the text, enjoys what the author meant to be injoyed, beams inwardly and all over, is thrilled by the magic imageries of the master-forger, the fancy-forger, the conjuror, the artist. Indeed of all the characters that a great artist creates, his readers are the best. (“Russian Writers, Censors, and Readers”)”

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

(Click the image) for 19 more Vladimir Nabokov's quotes on writing

11. “Ink, a Drug.”

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

13. “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.”

14. “Readers are not sheep, and not every pen tempts them.”

15. “There are gentle souls who would pronounce Lolita meaningless because it does not teach them anything. I am neither a reader nor a writer of didactic fiction…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.”

(Click) for 20 Vladimir Nabokov's quotes on writing

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

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

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

19. “Literature was not born the day when a boy crying “wolf, wolf” came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying “wolf, wolf” and there was no wolf behind him.”

20. “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible.”

(Click) for 19 more Vladimir Nabokov's quotes on writing

Next: Mark Twain’s 20 Quotes on Writing

see also:

Bukowski on Writing

JK Rowling on Writing

Isaac Asimov on Writing

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About Azevedo

Singular person (ex-child), slightly knowledgeable about movies, books and humour, who lacks the ability to finish what he...

Posted on July 18, 2013, in 20 Quotes, QUOTES, Uncategorized, WRITING, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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