It was so obscurely worded that at first I thought it might refer to rough drafts or discarded manuscripts, but I soon found out that, except for a few odd pages dispersed among other papers, he himself had destroyed them long ago, for he belonged to that rare type of writer who knows that nothing ought to remain except the perfect achievement: the printed book; that its actual existence is inconsistent with that of its spectre, the uncouth manuscript flaunting its imperfections like a revengeful ghost carrying its own head under its arm; and that for this reason the litter of the workshop, no matter its sentimental or commercial value, must never subsist.
— Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
One gentle writer, the author of a single famous book, rebuked Sebastian (April 4, 1928) for being 'Conradish' and suggested his leaving out the 'con' and cultivating the 'radish' in future works – a singularly silly idea, I thought. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
It is curious to note that Mr Goodman, quoting the same passage, is content to comment that 'Sebastian Knight was so enamoured of the burlesque side of things and so incapable of caring for their serious core that he managed, without being by nature either callous or cynical, to make fun of intimate emotions, rightly held sacred by the rest of humanity'. No wonder this solemn biographer is out of tune with his hero at every point of the story. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
Naturally, I cannot touch upon the intimate side of their relationship, firstly, because it would be ridiculous to discuss what no one can definitely assert, and secondly because the very sound of the word 'sex' with its hissing vulgarity and the 'ks, ks' catcall at the end, seems so inane to me that I cannot help doubting whether there is any real idea behind the word. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
The weather was fair and every time the train stopped I seemed to hear the light uneven breathing of spring, still barely visible but unquestionably present: 'cold-limbed ballet-girls waiting in the wings', as Sebastian put it once. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
Her small hard bosom heaved (Sebastian once wrote that it happened only in books but here was proof that he was mistaken). The blue vein on her pale girlish neck seemed to throb (but of that I am not sure). ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
In a moment or two, at the end of this sentence, in the middle of the next, or perhaps a little further still, we shall learn something that will change all our concepts, as if we discovered that by moving our arms in some simple, but never yet attempted manner, we could fly. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем
There was the picture of a steamer on the wall, and the waves on the picture moved like a procession of caterpillars, and the steamer rocked and this annoyed me – until I remembered that the hanging of such a picture was an old and commonplace custom, when awaiting a traveller's return. He might arrive at any moment, and the wooden floor near the door had been sprinkled with sand, so that he might not slip. ‎- как человек, чтобы быть попугаем