Many authors write like amateur blacksmiths making their first horseshoe; the clank of the anvil, the stench of the scorched leather apron, the sparks and the cursing are palpable, and this appeals to those who rank "sincerity" very high. Nabokov is more like a master swordsmith making a fine blade; nothing is amiss, nothing is too much, there is no fuss, and the finished product must be handled with great care, or it will cut you badly.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus, The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool.william shakespeare
A politician is the devil's quilted anvil, He fashions all sins on him, and the blows Are never heard.john webster
Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise King born of all England.thomas malory
One forges one's style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.Émile zola
In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow