From the Introduction:

This guide is a comprehensive annotated index to all the real and imaginary butterflies and moths found in Nabokovís published English writings, including the letters, the scientific articles and the interviews. As such it is aimed at the general Nabokov reader who wants to know more about this authorís lifelong passion for Lepidoptera. It provides a summary of Nabokovís scientific work, elucidates a good many lepidopterological allusions in his fiction and makes it possible to trace any particular insect through his writings. Ultimately, by helping to explain what Nabokovís science was about, this guide hopes to provide a few logs for the narrow footbridge across the secular gap between science and the arts.

The other purpose is to be of help to Nabokovís translators, revisers, publishers, editors and commentators. Wherever a particular butterfly is not fully named, wherever the name given by Nabokov is a vernacular one or wherever the scientific one appears only in an abbreviated form, the translator is bound to be uncertain which insect Nabokov had in mind. Before he can even start to ponder how it should be called in his language and how its description should best be worded, he is invariably faced with the same recurrent problem: What particular insect is it, to begin with? This is the sort of question the guide attempts to answer. Annotating the French translation of Ada, Nabokov wrote into his own copy (a quote I owe to Brian Boyd): "La première exigence à poser à un traducteur: quíil sache à fond la langue de laquelle il traduit. La seconde: quíil soit un écrivain dans la langue dans laquelle il traduit. La troisième: quíil connaisse dans toutes les deux langues les mots qui désignent les objets concrets (naturels et artificiels, la fleur et líhabit)." Et le papillon, to be sure.

continue...

START
INTRO
BUTTERFLIES NAMED BY NABOKOV
BUTTERFLIES NAMED FOR NABOKOV
BUTTERFLIES WITH 'NABOKOVIAN' NAMES
COMMON NAMES
NABOKOV ON BUTTERFLIES


Zembla depends on frames for navigation. If you have been referred to this page without the surrounding frame, click here.

THE LOLITA EFFECT | VN COLLATIONS | BUTTERFLIES
AFTER VN | EVENTS | SEE ALSO
CONTACT THE EDITOR