Friday, June 17, 2016

"... the ninth of May 1930 found me on a business trip to Prague. My business was chocolate. Chocolate is a good thing." #QotD

2016.06.16-DSC06761Nabokov's Despair (1936) is partially set in Prague, where I too, like Nabokov's protagonist, took a business trip ... mine turned out much better ... some quotes from the text:

Well, as I was saying, the ninth of May 1930 found me on a business trip to Prague. My business was chocolate. Chocolate is a good thing. There are damsels who like only the bitter kind … fastidious little prigs. (Don’t quite see why I write in this vein.).

You forget, my good man, that what the artist perceives is, primarily, the difference between things. It is the vulgar who note their resemblance.

A black smear of gravelly mud on the wall near the switch reminded me of a spring day in Prague. Oh, I could scrape it off so as to leave no trace, no trace, no trace! I longed for the hot bath I would take in my beautiful home—though wryly correcting anticipation with the thought that Ardalion had probably used the tub as his kind cousin had already allowed him to do, I suspected, once or twice in my absence.

The nonexistence of God is simple to prove. Impossible to concede, for example, that a serious Jah, all wise and almighty, could employ his time in such inane fashion as playing with manikins, and—what is still more incongruous—should restrict his game to the dreadfully trite laws of mechanics, chemistry, mathematics, and never—mind you, never!—show his face, but allow himself surreptitious peeps and circumlocutions, and the sneaky whispering (revelations, indeed!) of contentious truths from behind the back of some gentle hysteric.

An artist cannot live without mistresses and cypresses, as Pushkin says somewhere or should have said.

Every mouse has its house.… I like squirrels and sparrows. Czech beer is cheaper. Ah, if one could only get shod by a smith—how economical! All state ministers are bribed, and all poetry is bilge.

From: Despair (RussianОтчаяние, or Otchayanie) by Vladimir Nabokov

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