Sunday, May 29, 2011

Aimless Reading: The N's, Part 1.1 (Vladimir Nabokov)

Lolita by Michael_Kelleher
Lolita, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.

Nabokov, Vladimir

I am not sure where I bought this. The smart money would be on St. Mark's Books, but I have a vague memory of seeing it on one of those bookseller's tables that you used to see lining the sidewalks of St. Mark's Place and the surrounding environs. My memory may simply be of seeing it on one of those tables and considering a purchase. I am not really sure. On the other hand, I feel like I read this in college, so it is also possible I bought it at the university book store or someplace else. Anyhow, I know I read it in New York and that I bought it in New York, but I can't quite pinpoint where I bought it or when I read it. I bought it. I read it. That's it.

from Lolita

I was born in 1910, in Paris. My father was a gentle, easy-going person, a salad of racial genes: a Swiss citizen, of mixed French and Austrian descent, with a dash of the Danube in his veins. I am going to pass around in a minute some lovely, glossy-blue picture-postcards. He owned a luxurious hotel on the Riviera. His father and two grandfathers had sold wine, jewels and silk, respectively. At thirty he married an English girl, daughter of Jerome Dunn, the alpinist, and granddaughter of two Dorset parsons, experts in obscure subjects--paleopedology and Aeolian harps, respectively. My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory, over which, if you can still stand my style (I am writing under observation), the sun of my infancy had set: surely, you all know those redolent remnants of day suspended, with the midges, about some hedge in bloom or suddenly entered and traversed by the rambler, at the bottom of a hill, in the summer dusk; a furry warmth, golden midges.

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