29+ quotes from The Annotated Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Quotes from The Annotated Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov ·  457 pages

Rating: (543.6K votes)


“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“And the rest is rust and stardust.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other's soul and flesh; but there we were, unable even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do so.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago - but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man's child. She could fade and wither - I didn't care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full action but unable to cope with my tears.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I loved you. I was a pentapod monster, but I loved you. I was despicable and brutal, and turpid, and everything, mais je t’aimais, je t’aimais! And there were times when I knew how you felt, and it was hell to know it, my little one. Lolita girl, brave Dolly Schiller.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Life is short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five paces. It is a very short walk. Make those twenty-five steps. Now. Right now. Come just as you are. And we shall live happily ever after. ”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine (oh, how you have to cringe and hide!), in order to discern at once, by ineffable signs―the slightly feline outline of a cheekbone, the slenderness of a downy limbs, and other indices which despair and shame and tears of tenderness forbid me to tabulate―the little deadly demon among the wholesome children; she stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“And she was mine, she was mine, the key was in my fist, my fist was in my pocket, she was mine.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader's mind. [...] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“We all have such fateful objects -- it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another -- carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble; there shall Jane's heart always break.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I recall certain moments, let us call them icebergs in paradise, when after having had my fill of her –after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred–I would gather her in my arms with, at last, a mute moan of human tenderness (her skin glistening in the neon light coming from the paved court through the slits in the blind, her soot-black lashes matted, her grave gray eyes more vacant than ever–for all the world a little patient still in the confusion of a drug after a major operation)–and the tenderness would deepen to shame and despair, and I would lull and rock my lone light Lolita in my marble arms, and moan in her warm hair, and caress her at random and mutely ask her blessing, and at the peak of this human agonized selfless tenderness (with my soul actually hanging around her naked body and ready to repent), all at once, ironically, horribly, lust would swell again–and 'oh, no,' Lolita would say with a sigh to heaven, and the next moment the tenderness and the azure–all would be shattered.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night — every night, every night — the moment I feigned sleep.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Hair: brown. Lips: scarlet.
Age: five thousand three hundred days.
Profession: none, or "starlet"

Where are you hiding, Dolores Haze?
Why are you hiding, darling?
(I Talk in a daze, I walk in a maze
I cannot get out, said the starling).

Where are you riding, Dolores Haze?
What make is the magic carpet?
Is a Cream Cougar the present craze?
And where are you parked, my car pet?

Who is your hero, Dolores Haze?
Still one of those blue-capped star-men?
Oh the balmy days and the palmy bays,
And the cars, and the bars, my Carmen!

Oh Dolores, that juke-box hurts!
Are you still dancin', darlin'?
(Both in worn levis, both in torn T-shirts,
And I, in my corner, snarlin').

Happy, happy is gnarled McFate
Touring the States with a child wife,
Plowing his Molly in every State
Among the protected wild life.

My Dolly, my folly! Her eyes were vair,
And never closed when I kissed her.
Know an old perfume called Soliel Vert?
Are you from Paris, mister?

L'autre soir un air froid d'opera m'alita;
Son fele -- bien fol est qui s'y fie!
Il neige, le decor s'ecroule, Lolita!
Lolita, qu'ai-je fait de ta vie?

Dying, dying, Lolita Haze,
Of hate and remorse, I'm dying.
And again my hairy fist I raise,
And again I hear you crying.

Officer, officer, there they go--
In the rain, where that lighted store is!
And her socks are white, and I love her so,
And her name is Haze, Dolores.

Officer, officer, there they are--
Dolores Haze and her lover!
Whip out your gun and follow that car.
Now tumble out and take cover.

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Her dream-gray gaze never flinches.
Ninety pounds is all she weighs
With a height of sixty inches.

My car is limping, Dolores Haze,
And the last long lap is the hardest,
And I shall be dumped where the weed decays,
And the rest is rust and stardust.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“if a violin string could ache, i would be that string.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


“I am sufficiently proud of my knowing something to be modest about my not knowing all.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Annotated Lolita


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About the author

Vladimir Nabokov
Born place: in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Born date April 22, 1899
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