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Nabokov's Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius Paperback – March 19, 2001
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Nabokov's life reflects 20th-century biology as well as literature; he involved himself in many of the great debates of his time from his vantage points at Cornell and Harvard (where he held a post at the Museum of Comparative Zoology). His contributions to our thinking about speciation, some of which have only come to light recently, are clear-headed and invaluable. The authors know Nabokov's life well and are eager to share this side of it with us; while he will always be better known for his literary work, Nabokov's Blues throws light into the shadows cast by his great stature. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Nabokov's Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius. Kurt Johnson, Steve Coates. Cambridge, MA: Zoland Books, 1999. Pp 372 $27.00
In his Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America Alexander Klots wrote of the genus Lycaeides that "the recent work of Nabokov has entirely rearranged the classification of this genus." The response of Vladimir Nabokov, the acclaimed author of Lolita, Pale Fire and Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, was "That's real fame. That means more than anything a literary critic might say."
Nabokov was born in April 1899 and his reputation as a leading literary figure of the century he was almost born in seems secure; the Random House Modern Library proclaimed Lolita the fourth greatest novel of the century and the memoir Speak, Memory, the eighth greatest work of non-fiction, thus Nabokov was the only author to feature in the top ten of both lists. It is well known that Nabokov had a strong interest in lepidoptery. Often however it is dismissed as mere dilettantism, or seen by academics and critics as a source of Freudian symbolism. Nabokov himself detested such phenomena as the crass observation that "insect" and "incest" are anagrams, and attacked "the vulgar, shabby, fundamentally medieval world of Freud, with its crankish quest for sexual symbols." Full-time lepidopterists were either ignorant of Nabokov's work or regarded it as amateur dabblings; perhaps they also felt resentment at this part-timer who was nevertheless dubbed "the most famous lepidopterist in the world."
Kurt Johnson is a lepidopterist associated with the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, while Steve Coates is an editor at The New York Times.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great care in packaging. A fantastic source for an uncommon book.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
When I check some publications listed by the authors on page 347, I find two typos:
(1) 1944. The Nearctic forms of Lycaeides. It should be 1943. Read more
Anyone who loves the writings of Nabokov and who is also fascinated with lepidoptera will want to read and own this book. Read morePublished on May 13, 2010 by Post enlightenment
The best part was the account of the expeditions to the Andes to collect blues, it brought a much-needed real world element to the book, to counter the strangely third person... Read morePublished on August 10, 2008 by Calochortus
At first blush this book appears to be a footnote to a writer who had an eccentric hobby. Since Professor Boyd's definitive biography some may consider that there was little else... Read morePublished on April 16, 2003 by Kindle Customer
This book is a fun read for anyone with an interest in the personal histories that shape authors, in biology and/or in the environment and ecology. Read morePublished on April 16, 2001
I received this book over the holidays and have enjoyed it immensely. The authors tell a smartly fashioned story about Vladimir Nabokov's scientific work, blending this poorly... Read morePublished on January 31, 2000
I got this book for Christmas and found it fascinating. The authors have done a great job of melting together not only many aspects of this genius's multi-faceted gifts-- science,... Read morePublished on January 19, 2000 by J. Daniel