Tuesday, March 22, 2005
A few words from Vladimir Nabokov
This is from Bend Sinister, the first novel that Nabokov wrote in America. It is spoken by the Professor of Modern History (this is why one loves Nabokov, I suppose, if one chooses to love Nabokov):
As with so many phenomena of time, recurrent combinations are perceptible as such only when they cannot affect us any more--when they are imprisoned so to speak in the past, which is the past just because it is disinfected. To try to map our tomorrows with the help of data supplied by our yesteryears means ignoring the basic element of the future which is its complete non-existence. The giddy rush of the present into this vacuum is mistaken by us for a rational movement.
You know, I think I like Nabokov best when he writes about butterflies. But I don't remember the context of this quote, so perhaps he is simply being cryptic and omnisciently ironic -- things he loved doing as a writer. After all, it IS the Professor of Modern History saying this, right??
Indeed, I think the irony of it being the Prof. of Modern History is what I like about it. That and the last sentence, which I just like. I think maybe I should have cut out the first sentence. I thought it would add context, but I think it just adds words.Post a Comment