on Ada, Vladimir Nabokov

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from an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk [1971-72]:

Personal Past

“Pure  Time,  Perceptual  Time, Tangible Time, Time free of
content and context, this, then, is the kind of Time  described
by my creature under my sympathetic direction.
     The  Past is also part of the tissue, part of the present,
but it looks somewhat out of focus.  The  Past  is  a  constant
accumulation of images, but our brain is not an ideal organ for
constant  retrospection  and  the best we can do is to pick out
and try to retain  those  patches  of  rainbow  light  flitting
through  memory.  The  act  of  retention  is  the  act of art,
artistic selection, artistic blending, artistic  re-combination
of  actual  events.  The bad memoirist re-touches his past, and
the result is a blue-tinted or pink-shaded photograph taken  by
a   stranger  to  console  sentimental  bereavement.  The  good
memoirist, on the other hand, does his best  to  preserve  the
utmost  truth  of  the  detail. One of the ways he achieves his
intent is to find the right spot on his canvas for placing  the
right patch of remembered color.”

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