Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Vladimir Navokov describes relishing a magic word while clambering over wet black rocks at the seaside:

As I crawl over those rocks, I keep repeating, in a kind of zestful, copious, and deeply gratifying incantation, the English word 'childhood,' which sounds mysterious and new, and becomes stranger and stranger as it gets mixed up in my small, overstocked, hectic mind, with Robin Hood and Little Red Riding Hood, and the brown hoods of old hunchbacked fairies. There are dimples in the rocks, full of tepid seawater, and my magic muttering accompanies certain spells I am weaving over the tiny sapphire pools. (Speak: Memory, revised edition, 1967)

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