Vladimir Nabokov once wrote: "The good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense - which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance."
Today is the anniversary of Nabokov's death. Here's a sense of the man (from Alden Whitman's obituary, for The New York Times): "Six feet tall and sturdily built, Mr. Nabokov resembled an athlete (he was an excellent tennis player most of his life), yet when he donned his shell glasses he seemed like an avancular professor. His manner was courtly, his green and amber eyes merry, his lips seemed always to be pursed for a joke or a jape. His voice was that of a skilled actor; he could project it to any emotion or range, so that his conversations had a quality of drama that transfixed listeners."
Reading that description, I get a sense of what a character he must have been. (I would have liked to have met him, or at least have seen him--far off on stage, or walking by. But, we are still left with his presence in his works of literature--a controlling force. Ever studied. Ever determined. His was hand of a stylistic master.