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Bend Sinister

Vladimir Nabokov

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Theoretically there is no absolute proof that one's awakening in the morning (the finding oneself again in the saddle of one's personality) is not really a quite unprecedented event, a perfectly original birth.”

“The square root of I is I.”

“Do all people have that? A face, a phrase, a landscape, an air bubble from the past suddenly floating up as if released by the head warden's child from a cell in the brain while the mind is at work on some totally different matter? Something of the sort also occurs just before falling asleep when what you think you are thinking is not at all what you think. Or two parallel passenger trains of thought, one overtaking the other.”

“Devices which in some curious new way imitate nature are attractive to simple minds.”

“He was one of those persons whom one loves not because of some lustrous streak of talent (this retired businessman possessed none), but because every moment spent with them fits exactly the gauge of one's life. There are friendships like circuses, waterfalls, libraries; there are others comparable to old dressing gowns. You found nothing especially attractive about Maximov's mind if you took it apart: his ideas were conservative, his tastes undistinguished: but somehow or other these dull components formed a wonderfully comfortable and harmonious whole.”

“An oblong puddle inset in the coarse asphalt; like a fancy footprint filled to the brim with quicksilver; like a spatulate hole through which you can see the nether sky. Surrounded, I note, by a diffuse tentacled black dampness where some dull dun dead leaves have stuck. Drowned, I should say, before the puddle had shrunk to its present size.”

“anyone can create the future but only a wise man can create the past”

“And what agony, thought Krug the thinker, to love so madly a little creature, formed in some mysterious fashion (even more mysterious to us than it had been to the very first thinkers in their pale olive gloves) by the fusion of two mysteries, or rather two sets of a trillion of mysteries each; formed by a fusion which is, at the same time, a matter of choice and a matter of chance and a matter of pure enchantment; thus formed and then permitted to accumulate trillions of its own mysteries; the whole suffused with consciousness, which is the only real thing in the world and the greatest mystery of all.”

“Nothing on earth really matters, there is nothing to fear, and death is but a question of style, a mere literary device, a musical resolution.”

“We have imagined that a white hospital train with a white Diesel engine has taken you through many a tunnel to a mountainous country by the sea. You are getting well there. But you cannot write because your fingers are so very weak. Moonbeams cannot hold even a white pencil. The picture is pretty, but how long can it stay on the screen? We expect the next slide, but the magic-lantern man has none left. Shall we let the theme of a long separation expand till it breaks into tears? Shall we say (daintily handling the disinfected white symbols) that the train is Death and the nursing home Paradise? Or shall we leave the picture to fade by itself, to mingle with other fading impressions? But we want to write letters to you even if you cannot answer. Shall we suffer the slow wobbly scrawl (we can manage our name and two or three words of greeting) to work its conscientious and unnecessary way across a post card which will never be mailed? Are not these problems so hard to solve because my own mind is not made up yet in regard to your death? My intelligence does not accept the transformation of physical discontinuity into the permanent continuity of a nonphysical element escaping the obvious law, nor can it accept the inanity of accumulating incalculable treasures of thought and sensation, and thought-behind-thought and sensation-behind-sensation, to lose them all at once and forever in a fit of black nausea followed by infinite nothingness. Unquote.”

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Book Keywords:

simple-minds, nature, the-pennant-race, birth, love, consciousness, self, child, landscape, ego, philosophy, thoughts, recollection

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