Pnin Nabokov Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Pnin Nabokov. Here they are! All 78 of them:

Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
He was afraid of touching his own wrist. He never attempted to sleep on his left side, even in those dismal hours of the night when the insomniac longs for a third side after trying the two he has.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
There is an old American saying 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
I do not know if it has ever been noted before that one of the main characteristics of life is discreteness. Unless a film of flesh envelopes us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler's helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Why not leave their private sorrows to people? Is sorrow not, one asks, the only thing in the world people really possess?
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
It is nothing but a kind of microcosmos of communism—all that psychiatry,' rumbled Pnin, in his answer to Chateau. 'Why not leave their private sorrows to people? Is sorrow not, one asks, the only thing in the world people really possess?
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Unless a film of flesh envelops us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler's helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
We sat and drank, each with a separate past locked up in him, and fate's alarm clocks set at unrelated futures -- when, at last, a wrist was cocked, and eyes of consorts met.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
The accumulation of consecutive rooms in his memory now resembled those displays of grouped elbow chairs on show, and beds, and lamps, and inglebooks which, ignoring all space-time distinctions, commingle in the soft light of a furniture store beyond which it snows, and the dusk deepens, and nobody really loves anybody.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
...If he failed the first time he took his driver's licence test, it was mainly because he started an argument with the examiner in an ill-timed effort to prove that nothing could be more humiliating to a rational creature than being required to encourage the development of a base conditional reflex by stopping at a red light when there was not an earthly soul around, heeled or wheeled. He was more circumspect the next time, and passed...
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
All three of them stood for a moment gazing at the stars. ''And all these are worlds,'' said Hagen. ''Or else,'' said Clements with a yawn, ''a frightful mess. I suspect it is really a fluorescent corpse, and we are inside it.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
His life was a constant war with insensate objects that fell apart, or attacked him, or refused to function, or viciously got themselves lost as soon as they entered the sphere of his existence.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
…two lumpy old ladies in semitransparent raincoats, like potatoes in cellophane…
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
If his Russian was music, his English was murder.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Pnin slowly walked under solemn pines. The sky was dying. He did not believe in an autocratic God. He did believe, dimly, in a democracy of ghosts. The souls of the dead, perhaps, formed committees, and these, in continuous session, attended the destinies of the quick.
Vladimir Nabokov
Geniusz to brak przystosowania.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Some people-and I am one of them-hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
When, on a Sunday evening in May 1876, Anna throws herself under the freight train, she has existed more than four years since the beginning of the novel, but in the case of the Lyovins, during the same period, 1872 to 1876, hardly three years have elapsed. It is the best example of relativity in literature that is known to me.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
To hold her, to keep her -- just as she was -- with her cruelty, with her vulgarity, with her blinding blue eyes, with her miserable poetry, with her fat feet, with her impure, dry, sordid, infantile soul. All of a sudden he thought: If people are reunited in Heaven (I don’t believe it, but suppose), then how shall I stop it from creeping upon me, that shriveled, helpless, lame thing, her soul? But this is the earth, and I am, curiously enough, alive, and there is something in me and in life ---
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Because of a streak of dreaminess and a gentle abstraction in his nature, Victor in any queue was always at its very end. He had long since grown used to this handicap, as one grows used to weak sight or a limp.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Everyman's Library))
(...) after an early dinner at The Egg and We, a recently inaugurated and not very successful little restaurant which Pnin frequented from sheer sympathy with failure (...)
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Both Erica and Liza Wind were morbidly concerned with heredity, and instead of delighting in Victor's artistic genius, they used to worry gloomily about its genetic cause.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
I do not want, John. You know I do not understand what is advertisement and what is not advertisement.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Penguin Modern Classics))
The evolution of sense is, in a sense, the evolution of nonsense.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
A warm flow of pain was gradually replacing the ice and wood of the anaesthetic in his thawing, still half-dead, abominably martyred mouth. After that, during a few days he was in mourning for an intimate part of himself. It surprised him to realize how fond he had been of his teeth. His tongue, a fat sleek seal, used to flop and slide so happily among the familiar rocks, checking the contours of a battered but still secure kingdom, plunging from cave to cove, climbing this jag, nuzzling that notch, finding a shred of sweet seaweed in the same old cleft; but now not a landmark remained, and all there existed was a great dark wound, a terra incognita of gums which dread and disgust forbade one to investigate. And when the plates were thrust in, it was like a poor fossil skull being fitted with the grinning jaws of a perfect stranger.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
the satisfaction of a special Pninian craving.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Everyman's Library))
All of which does not alter the fact that Pnin was on the wrong train.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Dr. Falternfels was writing and smiling; his sandwich was half unwrapped; his dog was dead.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
[...] wszystko, co budzi zachwyt wywołany wiecznym zbliżaniem się do celu, czeka zagłada.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
...if one were quite sincere with oneself, no conscience, and hence no consciousness, could be expected to subsist in a world where such things as Mira's death were possible.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
...he was more of a poltergeist than a lodger
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Vài người – và tôi là một trong số họ – ghét những cái kết vui. Chúng tôi thấy bị lừa. Tổn thương là bình thường. Nghiệp chướng bất khả cưỡng. Trận tuyết lở dừng giữa đường chỉ vài bước trên ngôi làng co rúm đã hành xử không chỉ phi luân mà còn vô đạo.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Nothing could be more humiliating to a rational creature than being required to encourage the development of a Base conditional reflex by stopping at a red light when there was not an earthly soul around, heeled or wheeled.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
My patient was one of those singular and unfortunate people who regard their heart (“a hollow, muscular organ,” according to the gruesome definition in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, which Pnin’s orphaned bag contained) with a queasy dread, a nervous repulsion, a sick hate, as if it were some strong slimy untouchable monster that one had to be parasitized with, alas.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Some people - and I am one of them - hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically. Had I been reading about this mild old man, instead of writing about him, I would have preferred him to discover, upon his arrival to Cremona, that his lecture was not this Friday but the next. Actually, however, he not only arrived safely but was in time for dinner - a fruit cocktail, to begin with, mint jelly with the anonymous meat course, chocolate syrup with the vanilla ice cream.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
The bowl that emerged was one of those gifts whose first impact produces in the recipient's mind a colored image, a blazoned blur, reflecting with such emblematic force the sweet nature of the donor that the tangible attributes of the thing are dissolved, as it were, in this pure inner blaze, but suddenly and forever leap into brilliant being when praised by an outsider to whom the true glory of the object is unknown.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
This stood for the Evolution of Sense, his greatest course (with an enrollment of twelve, none even remotely apostolic) which had opened and would close with the phrase destined to be overquoted one day: The evolution of sense is, in a sense, the evolution of nonsense.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Important lecture!' cried Pnin. 'What to do? It is a catastroph!
Vladimir Nabokov
- A sentyment staje się uciążliwy. W końcu jest coś nazbyt fizycznego w próbie zachowania cząstki dzieciństwa na swoim mostku. - Nie pan pierwszy sprowadza wiarę do zmysłu dotyku.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Wspomnienie nie dawało mu spokoju. Można je było wytrzymać przez chwilę i to tylko z perspektywy nieuleczalnej choroby, w wyraźnym przeczuciu nadchodzącej śmierci.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
در دنیایی که چیزهایی مثل مرگ میرا امکان‌پذیر است، نمی‌توان وجود هیچ وجدان و بنابرین هیچ شعوری را توقع داشت.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
چون شکل دقیق مرگش ثبت نشده بود، میرا در ذهن آدم همواره به مرگ‌های گوناگون می‌میرد و به صورت‌های گوناگون زنده می‌شود تا باز هم بار دیگر بمیرد.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
همین و همین، اما درد محبت باقی ماند ـ مثلِ طرح لرزان شعرهایی که می‌دانید می‌دانید اما نمی‌توانید به یاد بیاورید.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
To the Winds, Victor was a problem child insofar as he refused to be one.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
... و هیچ‌کس واقعا کسی را دوست ندارد.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
No jewels, save my eyes, do I own, but I have a rose which is even softer than my rosy lips. And a quiet youth said: 'There is nothing softer than your heart.' And I lowered my gaze...” I wrote back telling Liza that her poems were bad and she ought to stop composing. Sometime later I saw her in another cafe, sitting at a long table, abloom and ablaze among a dozen young Russian poets. She kept her sapphire glance on me with a mocking and mysterious persistence.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
What chatty Madam Shpolyanski mentioned had conjured up Mira's image with unusual force. This was disturbing. Only in the detachment of an incurable complaint, in the sanity of near death, could one cope with this for a moment. In order to exist rationally, Pnin had taught himself...never to remember Mira Belochkin - not because...the evocation of a youthful love affair, banal and brief, threatened his peace of mind...but because, if one were quite sincere with oneself, no conscience, and hence no consciousness, could be expected to subsist in a world where such things as Mira's death were possible. One had to forget - because one could not live with the thought that this graceful, fragile, tender young woman with those eyes, that smile, those gardens and snows in the background, had been brought in a cattle car and killed by an injection of phenol into the heart, into the gentle heart one had heard beating under one's lips in the dusk of the past.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Ta cała psychiatria to nic innego, jak tylko swoisty mikrokosmos komunizmu [...]. Lepiej by zostawili ludziom ich kłopoty osobiste. Nasuwa się bowiem pytanie, czy kłopoty nie są jedyną rzeczą na świecie, którą ludzie mogą mieć na własność?
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
بعضی‌ها _ که من هم یکی از آن‌ها هستم _ از قصه‌هایی که پایان خوش دارند بدشان می‌آید. احساس می‌کنیم گول خورده‌ایم. روال بر ضرر است. تقدیر نباید متوقف شود. بهمنی که در مسیرش درست در چند متری بالای سر یک روستای چندک‌زده متوقف می‌شود نه فقط غیرطبیعی بلکه غیراخلاقی عمل می‌کند.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
[...] odrębność stanowi jedną z podstawowych cech życia. Jeżeli nie otacza nas powłoka cielesna, musimy umrzeć. Człowiek egzystuje tylko wtedy, kiedy jest odizolowany od otoczenia. Czaszka to nasz hełm kosmonauty. Musimy w niej tkwić, bo w przeciwnym razie czeka nas zguba. Śmierć zaś uwalnia i jednoczy. Chociaż przeniknięcie do natury może się wydawać kuszące, oznacza ono zarazem koniec naszej kruchej tożsamości.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
[...] należała jednak do tych kobiet, które łączą w sobie zdrową urodę z histeryczną łzawliwością, wybuchy liryczne z bardzo praktycznym, banalnym myśleniem, podły charakter z sentymentalizmem, ospałą bierność z trzeźwą umiejętnością wysyłania bliźnich na poszukiwanie wiatru w polu.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
It stood to reason that if the evil designer – the destroyer of minds, the friend of fever – had concealed the key of the pattern with such monstrous care, that key must be as precious as life itself and, when found, would regain for Timofey Pnin his everyday health, his everyday world
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
And all these are worlds,” said Hagen. “Or else,” said Clements with a yawn, “a frightful mess. I suspect it is really a fluorescent corpse, and we are inside it.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Everyman's Library))
Russia - the country of Tolstoy, Stanislavski, Raskolnikov, and other great and good men.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
...Greek Catholic Church, that mild communion whose demands on one's conscience are so small in comparison with the comforts it offers.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
A horsefly applied itself, blind fool, to Pnin's bald head, and was stunned by a smack of his meaty palm.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Two interesting characteristics distinguished Leonard Blorenge, Chairman of French Literature and Language; he disliked Literature and he had no French.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
In life, as in chess, it is always better to analyze one's motives and intentions.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
her husband had such a soothing capacity for showing how silent a man could be if he strictly avoided comments on the weather.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Why not leave their private sorrows to people? Is sorrow not, one asks, the only thing in the world people really possess?
NABOKOV (Pnin)
He would remove his glasses to beam at the past while massaging the lenses of the present.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Here speaks Professor--' There followed a preposterous little explosion. 'I conduct the classes in Russian. Mrs Fire, who is now working at the library part-time--
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
El cielo se moría. No creía en un Dios autócrata.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
He was beloved not for any essential ability but for those unforgettable digressions of his, when he would remove his glasses to beam at the past while massaging the lenses of the present.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Penguin Modern Classics))
One had to forget - because one could not live with the thought that this graceful, fragile, tender young woman with those eyes, that smile, those gardens and snows in the background, had been brought in a cattle car to an extermination camp and killed by an injection of phenol into the heart, into the gentle heart one had heard beating under one's lips in the dusk of the past.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
And since the exact form of her death had not been recorded, Mira kept dying a great number of deaths in one’s mind, and undergoing a great number of resurrections, only to die again and again, led away by a trained nurse, inoculated with filth, tetanus bacilli, broken glass, gassed in a sham shower-bath with prussic acid, burned alive in a pit on a gasoline-soaked pile of beechwood.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
The organs concerned in the production of English speech sounds are the larynx, the velum, the lips, the tongue (that punchinello in the troupe), and, last but not least, the lower jaw; mainly upon its overenergetic and somewhat ruminant motion did Pnin rely when translating in class passages in the Russian grammar or some poem by Pushkin. If his Russian was music, his English was murder.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
While endowed with the morose temper of genius, he [Lakes, Arts Professor] lacked originality and was aware of that lack; his own paintings always seemed beautifully clever imitations, although one could never quite tell whose manner he mimicked. His profound knowledge of innumerable techniques, his indifference to 'schools' and 'trends', his detestation of quacks, his conviction that there was no difference whatever between a genteel aquarelle of yesterday and, say, conventional neoplasticism or banal non-objectivism of today, and that nothing but individual talent mattered--these views made of him an unusual teacher. St Bart's was not particularly pleased either with Lake's methods or with their results, but kept him on because it was fashionable to have at least one distinguished freak on the staff. Among the many exhilarating things Lake taught was that the order of the solar spectrum is not a closed circle but a spiral of tints from cadmium red and oranges through a strontian yellow and a pale paradisal green to cobalt blues and violets, at which point the sequence does not grade into red again but passes into another spiral, which starts with a kind of lavender grey and goes on to Cinderella shades transcending human perception. He taught that there is no such thing as the Ashcan School or the Cache Cache School or the Cancan School. That the work of art created with string, stamps, a Leftist newspaper, and the droppings of doves is based on a series of dreary platitudes. That there is nothing more banal and more bourgeois than paranoia. That Dali is really Norman Rockwell's twin brother kidnapped by gipsies in babyhood. That Van Gogh is second-rate and Picasso supreme, despite his commercial foibles; and that if Degas could immortalize a calèche, why could not Victor Wind do the same to a motor car?
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
As soon as the pegs were driven in and the game started, the man was transfigured. From his habitual, slow, ponderous, rather rigid self, he changed into a terrifically mobile, scampering, mute, sly-visaged hunchback.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Ich weiß nicht, ob jemals festgestellt wurde, daß ein Hauptmerkmal des Lebens die Separatheit ist. Wenn uns keine Fleischesschicht umhüllt, sterben wir. Der Mensch existiert nur in dem Maße, in dem er von seiner Umwelt abgesondert ist.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Samo je neki drugi Rus mogao da razume reakcionarnu i sovjetofilsku mešavinu kakvu su nudili kobajagi-živopisni-Komarovi, za koje su idealnu Rusiju činili Crvena armija, miropomazani monarh, kolhozi, antropozofija, ruska crkva i hidroelektrane.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
I do not know if it has ever been noted before that one of the main characteristics of life is discreteness. Unless a film of flesh envelops us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a spacetraveller's helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
I do not know if it has ever been noted before that one of the main characteristics of life is discreteness. Unless a film of flesh envelops us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler’s helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin (Everyman's Library))
I am not handsome, I am not interesting, I am not talented. I am not even rich. But, Lise, I offer you everything I have, to the last blood corpuscle, to the last tear, everything. And, believe me, this is more than any genius can offer you because a genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do. I may not achieve happiness, but I know I shall do everything to make you happy.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Он спрашивает: "Вы анархист?" -- "Я отвечаю, -- здесь Пнин прерывает свой рассказ, чтобы предаться уютному беззвучному веселью. -- Первое, что мы понимаем под "анархизмом"? Анархизм практический, метафизический, теоретический, абстрактический, индивидуальный, социальный, мистикальный? Когда я был молод, -- так я говорю, -- это все для меня имело важнейшн значейшн. Таким образом, мы имели интереснейшн дискушн, вследствие которой я проводил две цельные недели на Эллис-Айленд", -- брюшко рассказчика начинает сотрясаться; оно сотрясается; рассказчик корчится от смеха.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
Suggested Reading Nuha al-Radi, Baghdad Diaries Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin Jane Austen, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Pride and Prejudice Saul Bellow, The Dean’s December and More Die of Heartbreak Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes Henry Fielding, Shamela and Tom Jones Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank Henry James, The Ambassadors, Daisy Miller, and Washington Square Franz Kafka, In the Penal Colony and The Trial Katherine Kressman Taylor, Address Unknown Herman Melville, The Confidence Man Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, and Pnin Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs Iraj Pezeshkzad, My Uncle Napoleon Diane Ravitch, The Language Police Julie Salamon, The Net of Dreams Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis Scheherazade, A Thousand and One Nights F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby W. G. Sebald, The Emigrants Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries Joseph Skvorecky, The Engineer of Human Souls Muriel Spark, Loitering with Intent and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Italo Svevo, Confessions of Zeno Peter Taylor, A Summons to Memphis Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups and St. Maybe Mario Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter Reading
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Ma cosa potevo dare io a una ragazza che si aspettava dalla vita tanti di più di quanto le era stato concesso? Non c'era niente, in realtà, che potessi fare per lei, e così le raccontai dell' "altro mondo" di Nabokov. Le domandai se aveva notato come in molti suoi romanzi - Invito a una decapitazione, I bastardi, Ada o ardore, Pnin - si intuisce sempre l'ombra di un altro mondo, cui si accede solo attraverso la finzione letteraria. È questo mondo che salva i suoi personaggi dalla disperazione totale, che diventa il loro rifugio in una vita tanto brutale quanto implacabile.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Pnin is constantly being misled by subjective interpretations of objective reality but it doesn’t really matter, it doesn’t do him any real harm.
Violet Wells