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But even in such works where the author is ideally unobtrusive, he remains diffused through the book so that his very absence becomes a kind of radiant presence. As the French say, il brille par son absence — "he shines by his absence." In connection with Bleak House we are concerned with one of those authors who are so to speak not supreme deities, diffuse and aloof, but puttering, amiable, sympathetic demigods, who descend into their books under various disguises or send therein various middlemen, representatives, agents, minions, spies, and stooges. [...]

Roughly speaking, there are three types of such representatives. Let us inspect them.

First, the narrator insofar as he speaks in the first person, the capital I of the story, its moving pillar. [...] Second, a type of author's representative, what I call the sifting agent. [...] The third type is the so-called perry, possibly derived from periscope, despite the double r, or perhaps from parry in vague connection with foil as in fencing. But this does not matter much since anyway I invented the term myself many years ago.


Vladimir Nabokov

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Some people, and I am one of them, hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
The evolution of sense is, in a sense, the evolution of nonsense.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before bein...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
A wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his ...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
It's a pity one can't imagine what one can't compare to anything. Genius is an African who dreams up...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Other men die; but I Am not another; therefore I'll not die
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Life is a great surprise. I don't see why death should not be an even greater one.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Rereading this novel today, replaying the moves of its plot, I feel rather like Anderssen fondly rec...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Readers are not sheep, and not every pen tempts them.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
It's a pity one can't imagine what one can't compare to anything. Genius is an African who dreams up...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Poor Knight! he really had two periods, the first - a dull man writing broken English, the second - ...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Solitude is the play field of Satan
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
[Against whom was it turned? Against whom did he conspire?] Tum-tee-tum. And once more - TUM! ... I ...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
- A sentyment staje się uciążliwy. W końcu jest coś nazbyt fizycznego w próbie zachowania czą...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Adultery is a most conventional way to rise above the conventional.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, ban...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Toska - noun /ˈtō-skə/ - Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness....
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Here lies the sense of literary creation: to portray ordinary objects as they will be reflected in k...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that liter...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
A wave would arrive, all out of breath, but, as it had nothing to report, it would disperse in apolo...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Life is short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five ...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I cannot conceive how anybody in his right mind should go to a psychoanalyst.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world’s muteness.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Children of her type contrive the purest philosophies. Ada had worked out her own little system. Har...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I have the European urge to use my feet when a drive can be dispensed with
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exa...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
There was no Lo to behold.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
He loved her in spite of her unlovableness. Armande had many trying, though not necessarily rare, tr...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
There are gentle souls who would pronounce Lolita meaningless because it does not teach them anythin...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Thus, in pornographic novels, action has to be limited to the copulation of clichés.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bl...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Perhaps what matters is not the human pain or joy at all but, rather, the play of shadow and light o...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Coordinating there
Events and objects with remote events
And vanished objects. Making orna...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
The stars that sparkled, and the cars that parkled, and the bars, and the barmen, were presently tak...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
for did it not mean I was losing my darling, just when I had secretly made her mine?
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I talk in a daze, I walk in a maze
I cannot get out, said the starling
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
His brown eyes would roam around the various sentimental and artistic bric-a-brac present, and his o...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
In spite of everything I loved you, and will go on loving you―on my knees, with my shoulders drawn...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
And speaking of this wonderful machine:
[840] I’m puzzled by the difference between
Two ...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I discovered in nature the non utilitarian delights that I sought in art. Both were a form of magic,...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
[D]avid began to argue, with the whining intonations of German astonishment, [...] that everyone did...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
A masterpiece of fiction is an original world and as such is not likely to fit the world of the read...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution.
VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer. No, no, I was neither. Ladies and ge...
VLADIMIR NABOKOV