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Words of Wisdom

Vladimir Nabokov: “Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.”

The Russian-American author of Lolita wrote constantly on themes of oppression, subversion, and tyranny.

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was a Russian-American author famous for penning the landmark 1955 novel Lolita. Born in Saint Petersburg and later an emigrant to Germany and the United States, Nabokov began his career writing novels in Russian. He rose to prominence after switching to English and authoring Lolita. He also made notable contributions in the field of Lepidoptera, a subcategory of entomology focusing on butterflies and moths. 

“Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.”

Common themes in Nabokov’s work include oppression, subversion, and tyranny. These no doubt stem from his life experience. His family fled Russia near the end of World War I. He later fled Germany and France as the Nazis aggressively grew in power. Nabokov’s father had been assassinated in Berlin by a Russian monarchist; his brother died in a German concentration camp.

Quote source: Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) by Azar Nafisi (via Wikiquote)

Image Credit: NCMallory / Flickr (via Creative Commons License 2.0)


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