Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

Novelist, Author

1899 – 1977


Who was Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov?

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a Russian-born novelist. Nabokov's first nine novels were in Russian. He then rose to international prominence as a writer of English prose. He also made serious contributions as a lepidopterist and chess composer.

Nabokov's Lolita is his most famous novel, and often considered his finest work in English. It exhibits the love of intricate word play and synesthetic detail that characterised all his works. The novel was ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels; Pale Fire was ranked at 53rd on the same list, and his memoir, Speak, Memory, was listed eighth on the Modern Library nonfiction list. He was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven times, but never won it.

Famous Quotes:

  • Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one's stomach the separation from terra... these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known... this is the only thing I can say about the matter. The utilitarian results do not interest me.
  • Genius is an African who dreams up snow.
  • The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
  • Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as nymphets.
  • Style and Structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.
  • The tiny madman in his padded cell.
  • There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.
  • A novelist is, like all mortals, more fully at home on the surface of the present than in the ooze of the past.
  • You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
  • It is a short walk from the hallelujah to the hoot.


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Apr 22, 1899
Saint Petersburg
Also known as
  • Владимир Владимирович Набоков
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • Vladimir Nabokoff-Sirin
  • V. Sirin
  • Vladimir Sirin
  • Russian
  • United States of America
  • Russian Empire
  • Trinity College, Cambridge
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cornell University
Lived in
  • Ashland
Jul 2, 1977

on July 23, 2013