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.
Why did I hope we would be happy abroad? A change of environment is that traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.
Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. The affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabiness of the subject matter. This is why we love Madame Bovary and cry for Emma, why we greedily read Lolita as our heart breaks for its small, vulgar, poetic and defiant orphaned heroine.
History, lie of our lives, mire of our loins. Our sins, our souls. Hiss-tih-ree: the tip of the pen taking a trip of three steps (with one glide) down the chronicle to trap a slick, sibilant character. Hiss. (Ss.) Tih. Ree.He was a pig, a plain pig, in the morning, standing five feet ten on one hoof. He was a pig in slacks. He was a pig in school. He was a pig on the dotted line. But in my eyes it’s always the ones signing dotted lines that become pigs.Did this pig have a precursor? He did, indeed he did. In point of fact, dating all the way back to the Biblical Age. Oh where? About everywhere you look there's pigs giving that fancy ol’ snake a chase. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can always count on a fuckin’ pretentious sarcastican for a fancy prose style.
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.
... she had painted her lips and was holding in her hollowed hands a beautiful, banal, Eden-red apple.
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. No matter how many times we reopen 'King Lear,' never shall we find the good king banging his tankard in high revelry, all woes forgotten, at a jolly reunion with all three daughters and their lapdogs. Never will Emma rally, revived by the sympathetic salts in Flaubert's father's timely tear. 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.
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. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann.
Aurora, you're a child, live like one, don't act like one. Enjoy the innocence, dump the immaturity.
She had to save herself from every last one of them. All of them, the people at the orphanage, the foster care system, the middle school, they were all outsiders and strangers and a possible threat.....The counselor couldn't prove otherwise.
I ask you, what would you do if you could erase one bad memory and retain all that was beautiful in your life? Would you not move heaven and earth - and get loads of therapy - to have that?
What I've always taken away from his words is the sense that we all have something that confines us, that seeks to define us, label us, belittling us in the process, shortchanging our potential. Can it be that that is our sanctuary, our refuge, our way to liberty?
For some reason, I kept seeing it—it trembled and silkily glowed on my damp retina—a radiant child of twelve, sitting on a threshold, pinging pebbles at an empty can.
One last word,' I said in my horrible careful English, 'are you quite, quite sure that—well, not tomorrow, of course, and not after tomorrow, but—well—some day, any day, you will not come to live with me? I will create a brand new God and thank him with piercing cries, if you give me that microscopic hope''No,' she said smiling, 'no.''It would have made all the difference,' said Humbert Humbert.Then I pulled out my automatic-I mean, this is the kind of fool thing a reader might suppose I did. It never even occurred to me to do it.
No, it is not my sense of the immorality of the Humbert Humbert-Lolita relationship that is strong; it is Humbert's sense. He cares, I do not. I do not give a damn for public morals, in America or elsewhere. And, anyway, cases of men in their forties marrying girls in their teens or early twenties have no bearing on Lolita whatever. Humbert was fond of little girls—not simply young girls. Nymphets are girl-children, not starlets and sex kittens. Lolita was twelve, not eighteen, when Humbert met her. You may remember that by the time she is fourteen, he refers to her as his aging mistress.
And I thought to myself how those fast little articles forget everything, everything, while we, old lovers, treasure every inch of their nymphancy
All I ever wanted, nira I expected: Nonette, upon whom my life pivots.The name I give my fire when I lay down, defenseless before its majestic awfulness.A little no, a little negation. A French girly pout, the syllables for which have been found at last.All my hurt dug up, exposed for dissection in the glaring light, and finally melted away by the loving caresses of her yielding thighs.And the girl who took such simple job in this terrible duty.Nonette.
They are beautiful, heart-rendingly beautiful, those wilds, with a quality of wide-eyed, unsung, innocent surrender that my lacquered, toy-bright Swiss villages and exhaustively lauded Alps no longer possess. Innumerable lovers have clipped and kissed on the trim turf of old-world mountainsides, on the innerspring moss, by a handy, hygienic rill, on rustic benches under the initialed oaks, and in so many cabanes in so so many beech forests. But in the Wilds of America the open-air lover will not find it easy to indulge in the most ancient of all crimes and pastimes. Poisonous plants burn his sweetheart's buttocks, nameless insects sting his; sharp items of the forest floor prick his knees, insects hers; and all around there abides a sustained rustle of potential snakes--que dis-je,of semi-extinct dragons!--while the crablike seeds of ferocious flowers cling, in a hideous green crust, to gartered black sock and sloppy white sock alike.
It was something quite special, that feeling: an oppressive, hideous constraint as if I were sitting with the small ghost of somebody I had just killed.
Good by-aye! she chanted, my American sweet immortal dead love; for she is dead and immortal if you are reading this.
Music is a form that tends to give shape to rules, social mores, social attitudes, feelings—it does this in a very beautiful, fluid way. To me the issue of form and formlessness is most strong in the theme of mortality versus a human wish for immortality of a sort. Take, for example, the definition of beauty in fashion. Remember what Alison says at the beginning? She says when she was young she didn’t know what beautiful was. She looked at this woman who everyone was saying was beautiful and she didn’t even know what they were talking about. I experienced that when I was a child. If I loved someone I thought they were really beautiful. And then eventually, I began to get it, the social concept of beauty. Not that I think beautiful is completely imaginary, but beauty is so wide ranging and fluid. Yet there’s a need to say: “This is what it is, and it’s not changing; we’re taking a picture of it to hold it still.” It’s like an impulse to put up a building meant to last forever. An urge to grab and hold something in place when nothing human can be grabbed and held in place. We come into these physical bodies . . . whatever we are takes this shape that is so particular and distinct—eyes, nose, mouth—and then it gradually begins to disintegrate. Eventually it’s going to dissolve completely. It’s a huge problem for people; we can understand it, but it breaks our hearts. And so we’re constantly trying to pin something down or leave a trace that will last forever. “And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita . . .” What other immortality will anyone share?