Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Quote of the Day

with 6 comments

The Paris Review: E. M. Forster speaks of his major characters sometimes taking over and dictating the course of his novels. Has this ever been a problem for you, or are you in complete command?

Vladimir Nabokov: My knowledge of Mr. Forster’s works is limited to one novel, which I dislike; and anyway, it was not he who fathered that trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand; it is as old as the quills, although of course one sympathizes with his people if they try to wriggle out of that trip to India or wherever he takes them. My characters are galley slaves.

Written by nevalalee

December 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

6 Responses

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  1. Ha. My knowledge of Nabokov is likewise limited to one novel I haven’t fully read, and my only Forster encounter is a famous backchannels euphemism joke which probably only Alec still remembers.


    December 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

  2. I’m afraid that even Alec is stumped by that one.


    December 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

  3. You can show her the “Passage to India”! No? Okay… That’s the “Pale Fire” of jokes that are, like carousels, extremely loud?

    Hi, when!

    December 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

  4. The funny thing is that I remember the joke now, but can’t remember to whom it refers. (Maybe that’s for the best…)


    December 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

  5. Having never read either “Conclusive Evidence” or “Speak, Memory” in full, I still like Nabokov best from one of his prefaces.

    Hi, when!

    December 4, 2010 at 2:33 am

  6. For the sake of what turned out to be two small details in my novel, I finally finished reading all 900 pages of Nabokov’s notes to Eugene Onegin. They’re exactly as amazing, and as crazy, as they sound.


    December 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm

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