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Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings


Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

New Translations from the Russian by Dmitri Nabokov
Edited and Annotated by Brian Boyd, Robert Michael Pyle

Boston, 2000

Бабочки Набокова: Неопубликованное и несобранное. Новые переводы с русского языка Дмитрия Набокова, редакция и аннотация Брайена Бойда и Роберта Майкла Пайла. Информация о книге и возможности покупки

Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings
Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings
Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings
Table of ContentsNabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings

Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings

Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Genre: Various
Written: (2000)
Length: 721 pages
Original in: Russian, English, and French
Edition: Hardcover

  • To purchase Nabokov's Butterflies
  • Unpublished and Uncollected Writings 1908-1977
  • Edited and annotated by Brian Boyd and Robert Michael Pyle
  • Translated by Brian Boyd, and with "new translations from the Russian by Dmitri Nabokov"
  • Includes two introductions:
    • Nabokov, Literature, Lepidoptera by Brian Boyd
    • Between Climb and Cloud: Nabokov among the Lepidopterists by Robert Michael Pyle
  • Includes 53 illustrations and 31 colour plates
  • Includes a list of Butterflies and Moths named by and for Vladimir Nabokov, compiled by Robert Michael Pyle

Editorial Reviews from Amazon ©

From Publishers Weekly
Admirers of the great novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) know that collecting and classifying butterflies was for him not so much a hobby as an obsession, especially during the 1940s, when he worked for Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and made important discoveries about the American genera known as Blues. Butterfly-linked images and ideas pervade some of his fiction, and butterfly-collecting expeditions took up much of his free time. Nabokov biographer Boyd and butterfly expert Pyle team up to offer a gigantic compendium of butterfly-relevant Nabokoviana. Reprinted here are draft reminiscences later revised for the autobiography Speak, Memory; the 1920 technical paper "A Few Notes on Crimean Lepidoptera"; selected parts of the later scientific and technical work; numerous poems with butterfly-related lines, some in English, some translated from Russian; Nabokov's last short story, "The Admirable Anglewing"; excerpts from letters and interviews; notes for the New Yorker ("Incidentally, pinching the thorax is a much simpler way of dispatching a butterfly") and segments of Nabokov's lecture notes; and lepidopteran passages from the novels and stories. Among the previously unpublished works, one standout is the 36-page essay (originally in Russian) that Nabokov meant to use as the afterword to The Gift. Also present are the surviving fragments of Nabokov's never-completed descriptive catalogue, Butterflies of Europe. Boyd and Pyle contribute separate, informative and sometimes parallel introductions. Not even a Nabokov-obsessed taxonomist would want to read this collection from start to finish: it is, though, a volume devotees will delight to browse in and scholars will want to own. 30 color and 30 b&w illus. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Apr.) FYI: For more information on Nabokov's Butterflies, see Book News, Feb. 28.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
The recent publication of Kurt Johnson and Steven L. Coates's Nabokov's Blues (LJ 10/15/99) brought to light Nabokov's expertise in the study of butterflies. The distinction of this new volume is that it contains never-before-seen writings by Nabokov on the subject. The book includes poems, letters, diary entries, interviews, and technical articles that combine the author's passions for science and literature. Nabokov biographer Boyd provides a lengthy introduction that places Nabokov's studies within the context of his life. Nabokov's son Dmitri presents a new translation, from the original Russian, of "Father's Butterflies," a 36-page afterword to The Gift. Also translated are 12 poems that had been unavailable in English. For the specialist or the reader wanting to learn more about the scientific side of Nabokov's life, there is much here to discover. Recommended for academic libraries.
-Ronald Ray Ratliff, Emporia P.L., KS
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Scientific American
Most readers of Nabokov (the Russian-American author of Lolita and other highly regarded works of fiction) know that he was interested in butterflies, but it is doubtful that many of them are aware that the level of his knowledge and his contributions to the field won the respect of professional lepidopterists. Nabokov himself showed the depth of his work in a letter of 1943 to literary critic Edmund Wilson. "A summary of part of my scientific work on the Blues (the Lycaeides genus-"Silver Studded Blues" in English) ... is due to appear in a week or two. The labour involved has been immense; the number of my index cards exceeds a thousand references-for half a dozen (very polytypic) species; I have dissected and drawn the genitalia of 360 specimens and unraveled taxonomic adventures that read like a novel." The book that Boyd and Pyle have put together gives a good picture of Nabokov's lepidoptery and reproduces many of his drawings. It also offers much else in letters from and to him about a variety of topics, in excerpts from interviews he gave, and in his poems and prose on subjects other than butterflies. An excellent companion to this compilation is Nabokov's Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius, by Kurt Johnson, a lepidopterist who occupied Nabokov's former office at the American Museum of Natural History, and writer Steven Coates (published in 1999 by Zoland Books in Cambridge, Mass.).


From Booklist
Nabokov's achievements as a lepidopterist are finally being accorded the respect they deserve. Nabokov's Blues assessed his contributions to science, and now this literary cornucopia illuminates further his lifelong love affair with butterflies and the fruits of his many years in the field and laboratory. In an introductory essay, Brian Boyd, Nabokov's biographer, scrutinizes Nabokov's fascination with patterns and metamorphosis; his penchant for solitude, delight in discovery; and his sensitivity to beauty, themes that arise naturally in Nabokov's own writings--nearly 70 years' worth of memoir, fiction, poetry, letters, lectures, diary entries, and scientific articles never before available to the general reader. In one indelible essay, Nabokov observed that he has hunted butterflies "as a pretty boy in knickerbockers and sailor cap; as a lanky cosmopolitan expatriate in flannel bags and beret; as a fat hairless old man in shorts," and each of these incarnations is present here. Brilliant and playful, Nabokov brought artistic sensuousness to science, and scientific accuracy to literature, enriching both and leaving his readers in awe. Donna Seaman

John Fowles in The Spectator, 15 April 2000
"Reading about [Nabokov's] exploits in this very rich book delighted me...a pleasure to read...like some dream holiday or journey to another land."

Excerpted from Nabokov's Butterflies : Unpublished and Uncollected Writings by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, Brian Boyd, Robert M. Pyle, Dmitri Nabokov. Copyright © 2000. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved
Vladimir Nabokov

From notes for interview with Jacob Bronowski, August 1963 For an interview scheduled for British television but canceled before filming because of Bronowski's health.

Product Description:
Newly translated works by Nabokov on the twin passions of his life, literature and lepidoptera. A rich array of never-before-seen Nabokovia: novels, stories, poems, autobiography, interviews, diaries, and more, plus scientific and fanciful drawings by Nabokov and photographs of him in the field. The text--the richest and most varied assemblage of Nabokov's writing's available--is arranged chronologically and introduced by Brian Boyd and Robert Michael Pyle


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