This research had long entered the charmed stage when the quest overrides the goal, and a new organism is formed, the parasite so to speak of the ripening fruit. Pnin averted his mental gaze from the end of his work, which was so clearly in sight that one could make out the rocket of an asterisk, the flare of a “sic!” This line of land was to be shunned as the doom of everything that determined the rapture of endless approximation. . . . [T]he spine thrill of a felicitous guess; and all the innumerable triumphs of bezkorïstnïy (disinterested, devoted) scholarship — this had corrupted Pnin, this had made him a happy, footnote-drugged maniac who disturbs the book mites in a dull volume, a foot thick, to find in it a reference to an even duller one.
— Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin