Things Nabokov Hates
Why you should never, ever use the phrase “the moment of truth” in your writing.
By Maria Popova
Vladimir Nabokov — celebrated author, butterfly-lover, no-bullshit lecturer — was never afraid to have strong opinions. In this short and delightfully curmudgeonly excerpt from a vintage French documentary, Nabokov pulls a Jonathan Franzen and shares some of the things he detests, including:
- italicized passages in a novel, which are meant to represent the protagonist’s cloudburst of thought
- background music, canned music, piped-in music, portable music, minstrel music, inflicted music…
- journalistic cliches… ‘the moment of truth’ — ‘the moment of truth!’
Complement with 18 rants by Mark Twain and treat yourself to Nabokov’s most unabashedly opinionated in Strong Opinions.
Published March 29, 2013