Brilliant People Who Are Dull.

“During the ten years that were to elapse between Hugh Person’s first and second visits to Switzerland he earned his living in the various dull ways that fall to the lot of brilliant young people who lack any special gift or ambition and get accustomed to applying only a small part of their wits to humdrum and charlatan tasks. What they do with the other, much greater, portion, how and where their real fancies and feelings are housed, is not exactly a mystery – there are no mysteries now – but would entail explications and revelations too sad, too frightful, to face. Only experts, for experts, should probe a mind’s misery.”

– Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov.

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HUMBERT’S RARE FORM OF BLISS.

“I am ready to believe that the sensations I derived from natural fornication were much the same as those known to normal big males consorting with their normal big mates in that routine rhythm which shakes the world. The trouble was that those gentlemen had not, and I had, caught glimpses of an incomparably more poignant bliss. The dimmest of my pollutive dreams was a thousand times more dazzling than all the adultery the most virile writer of genius or the most talented impotent might imagine.”

– Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

HUMBERT HUMBERT AND HIS NYMPHETS.

“We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives. I was a strong lad and survived; but the poison was in the wound, and the wound remained ever open, and I soon found myself maturing amid a civilization which allows a man of twenty five to court a girl of sixteen but not a girl of twelve.”

– Lolita by Validmir Nabokov

When We Are Terrified.

“A furry bee came and buzzed round it for a moment. Then it began to scramble all over the oval stellated globe of the tiny blossoms. He watched it with that strange interest in trivial things that we try to develop when things of high import make us afraid, or when we are stirred by some new emotion for which we cannot find expression, or when some thought that terrifies us lays sudden siege to the brain and calls on us to yield.”

– The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

LUXURY IN SELF-REPROACH.

“He covered page after page with wild words of sorrow, and wilder words of pain. There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution. When Dorian Gray had finished the letter, he felt that he had been forgiven.”

– The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.