This is a quote from Vladimir Nabokov:
“There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three—storyteller, teacher, enchanter—but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer… The three facets of the great writer—magic, story, lesson—are prone to blend in one impression of unified radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought.” [From Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature, c1980.]
When I came across this quote the other day, it struck me as quite profound, quite inspirational. Something to consider when writing…even if I can only hope to create my own sort of radiance one day. It reminded me of a “rule” I have when I write—hey, if you’re bored with what you’re writing, everyone else will be, too (no enchantment there). This quote also reminded me of the reason I have always wanted to write: to make others feel even a fraction of the ineffable magic created by all the enchanters I’ve read over the years. Here’s a short list of my favorite stories in no particular order that come to mind at this moment: Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Hardy), Les Miserables (Hugo), Kindred (Butler), Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury), Metamorphosis (Kafka), “The Little Mermaid” (Andersen), “The Golden Key” (MacDonald), The Passage (Cronin), The Crimson Petal and the White (Faber), “Mr. Arcularis” (Aiken), the poetry of W. B. Yeats, the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, The Knife Thrower and Other Stories (Millhauser), The Orientalist (Reiss), the short stories of Graham Greene, Ali and Nino (Said), and Anna Karenina (Tolstoy).
I’d love to hear what stories have cast a spell over others who come across this post!