Nabokov on Gogol

A unique rolling stone, gathering–or thinking he would gather–a unique kind of moss, he spent many summers wandering from spa to spa.  His complaint was difficult to cure because it was both vague and variable:  attacks of melancholy when his mind would be benumbed with unspeakable feelings of forebodings and nothing except an abrupt change of surroundings could bring relief; or else a recurrent state of physical distress marked by shiverings when no abundance of clothing could warm his limbs and when the only thing that helped, if persistently repeated, was a brisk walk–the longer the better.  The paradox was that while needing constant movement to prompt inspiration, this movement physically prevented him from writing.

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