Monday, August 31, 2009


For those who have ever been delightfully lost in looking, who have willingly drifted into a timeless place when surrounded by beauty, this excerpt from Vladimir Nabokov's riveting Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited will recapture that feeling:

I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness -- in a landscape selected at random -- is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern -- to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.

-- Vladimir Nabokov

The photograph of the Renwal doll was taken at the pond at the top of my street this spring. Click on image to enlarge. The paragraph is from Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov, page 139, Vintage International, 1989. It was originally published, in different form, by Harper & Bros., New York , in 1951.


Deborah Batterman said...

One of the many wonderful passages I marked when I first read the book . . . thank you for taking me back to it.

Christine said...

There were so many passages to mark and return to in this book. Some fascinating thoughts and anecdotes! Thanks for dropping in.