In Memoriam: Don Barton Johnson (1933-2020)

Submitted by dana_dragunoiu on Mon, 08/31/2020 - 09:17

by Alexey Sklyarenko

The question chto delat’ (used by Don for his email address) was never so unanswerable (because there is no one whom one might ask it). A couple of days ago I saw a red Volkswagen Beetle in the street and thought of Don (who said in one of his Nabokv-L posts that he shipped a similar car to the United States from Europe). In Kafka’s story, Gregor Samsa turns into a beetle. In Nabokov’s Ballad of Longwood Glen, the hero from earth turns into a butterfly. I remember Don's delight when he saw a red peacock butterfly that flew into the room of the Nabokov Museum through the open window during one of our seminars. I met Don only twice during his visits to St. Petersburg, but I shall never forget him. Let’s keep the windows of life open!