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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Nabokov, Literature, Lepidoptera

Nabokov, Literature, Lepidoptera

(p.73) 8. Nabokov, Literature, Lepidoptera
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

In this chapter, the author talks about Vladimir Nabokov's passion for butterflies and their place in his literature. In researching his biography Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years, the author interviewed those who had worked alongside Nabokov at his bench at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Shortly after the biography, he met Kurt Johnson, then at the American Museum of Natural History. Johnson was the American apex of an international triangle of scholars reexamining the South American Plebejinae, a subfamily of butterflies of which Nabokov had been first reviser. In the early 1990s Princeton University Press, which had published the author's Nabokov biographies, approached him to edit a volume of Nabokov's butterfly papers because a historian of Lepidoptera they had contracted for the project years earlier had not delivered. The author also discusses Nabokov's complete catalogue of the Butterflies of Europe, published in 1962, as well as exhibitions of his butterfly collections and his lepidopterological writings.

Keywords:   literature, Vladimir Nabokov, Lepidoptera, biography, Kurt Johnson, butterflies, Princeton University Press, Butterflies of Europe, exhibitions, butterfly collections

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