Mes fenêtres! Hanging above blotched sunset and welling night, grinding my teeth, I would crowd all the demons of my desire against the railing of a throbbing balcony: it would be ready to take off in the apricot and black humid evening; did take off—whereupon the lighted image would move and Eve would revert to a rib, and there would be nothing in the window but an obese partly clad man reading the paper.

The quote comes from Lolita by Nabokov. Does apricot signify the apricot colour? Nabokov used apricot to signify the colour in other parts of Lolita. I can very well imagine that sunsets are of apricot colour (and then black nights come), yet the sentence in question sounds strange to me because of apricot and black being so close to each other.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question because interpretation of literature is off-topic.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


In the Russian version of the novel, which was translated by the author himself, it's literally said:

в абрикосовую мглу влажного вечера

His use of the word абрикосовый (abrikosovy) indeed indicates the apricot color and nothing else, but he doesn't use the adjective black, using instead the noun мгла (mgla) which can be translated as: "darkness, murk, blackness, haze, mist". It's quite commonly used to describe late twilight or fog, with a connotation of it being hard to see through. It also implies humid air.


The author might be referring to -


: the light from the sky between full night and sunrise or between sunset and full night produced by diffusion of sunlight through the atmosphere and its dust.

That takes care of an apricot-colored sunset mixed with a black night on a wet (humid) evening.


A specific twilight for use in this context -

Nautical twilight

Nautical twilight is the second twilight phase. Both the horizon and the brighter stars are usually visible at this time, making it possible to navigate at sea.

enter image description here


  • 2
    To be pedantic, probably civil twilight, or a bit before Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 9:28
  • @marcellothearcane - I think "nautical twilight" would suit this context (more). Or does it? See the above image.
    – Justin
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 15:24
  • 1
    Depends on your apricots. Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 15:25
  • Is that a no? I mean, you can see some "apricot" color at the bottom, and darkness at the top, indicating the clear transition from sunset to night. Correct me if am wrong.
    – Justin
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 15:28
  • 1
    This is venturing in POB territory! I'm sure it's fine, I was being silly :) Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 15:30

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