" I shall never regret Lolita. She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle—its composition and its solution at the same time, since one is a mirror view of the other, depending on the way you look. Of course she completely eclipsed my other works—at least those I wrote in English: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Bend Sinister, my short stories, my book of recollections; but I cannot grudge her this. There is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet. "
" Ada, her keepsake profile inclined, her mournful magdalene hair hanging down (in sympathy with the weeping shadows) along her pale arm, sat examining abstractly the yellow throat of a waxy-white helleborine she had picked. She hated him, adored him. He was brutal, she was defenseless. "
" What it sees there isn’t so much a face as the expression of a predicament. Here’s
what it has done to itself, here’s the mess it has somehow managed to get itself into
during its fifty-eight years; expressed in terms of a dull, harassed stare, a coarsened nose,
a mouth dragged down by the corners into a grimace as if at the sourness of its own
toxins, cheeks sagging from their anchors of muscle, a throat hanging limp in tiny
wrinkled folds. The harassed look is that of a desperately tired swimmer or runner; yet
there is no question of stopping. The creature we are watching will struggle on and on
until it drops. Not because it is heroic. It can imagine no alternative. "
" George Orwell got it backward.
Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted.
He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled.
And this being fed is worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world. "
" Yet there are moments when the walls of the mind grow thin; when nothing is unabsorbed, and I could fancy that we might blow so vast a bubble that the sun might set and rise in it and we might take the blue of midday and the black of midnight and be cast off and escape from here and now. "
" I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed it’s beauty to them. "
" The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others. "