Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020651, Wed, 1 Sep 2010 20:23:26 -0700

Re: Lolita, Non-Darwinian evolutionary theory & blues news
Wow, that sounds interesting!  And Stanley is an old friend of mine...though so "old" he may not remember.  That is back when I was at the American Museum of Natural History and the "Systematics Discussion Group" (probably not even in existence anymore) met regularly to discuss such upheavals and tit for tats in the evolutionary biology enterprise.  That was an exciting and collegial time, replaced later by the overly competitive (and thus often intellectually dishonest) enterprise re: how new PhD's survive in the world of no jobs and perpetual post-docs.  It's a great time to be retired.

Victoria's post brings back memories of the event we all shared at Harvard back around the time of the centennial.

I'll hopefully have news soon on a very significant publication appearing on Nabokov's blues.  It's taken about 10 years since the time of the Johnson/Coates book, and a couple of those years in search of what academic tome was going to carry it.  But, when it happens it will put some "finishing touches" of that discussion based on what is usually considered "the gold standard" re: methodology. 

After that I'm actually hoping that Dubi Benyamini, Zsolt Balint and I might actually-- like a Beatles reunion (just joking!-- ridiculous actually)-- finally get together and name the remaining South American blues that have been discovered since about 2002. 

There are still quite a few sitting without names esp. in more southern Patagonia.  Once one is no longer at an institution it slows the process of "productivity" down.  I'm gainfully retired and totally consumed by teaching integral theory, spiral dynamics and obnoxious stuff like that.  But within a few months, maybe sooner, should have some significant new "blues news".  It's just that you shouldn't discuss those things while review processes and stuff like that is going on.

Dr. Kurt Johnson

--- On Mon, 8/30/10, Victoria N. Alexander <alexander@DACTYL.ORG> wrote:

From: Victoria N. Alexander <alexander@DACTYL.ORG>
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Lolita and Non-Darwinian evolutionary theory
Date: Monday, August 30, 2010, 11:12 AM

Of potential interest to list
Title: Monstrous Fate: The Problem of Authorship and Evolution by Natural Selection Authors(s): Victoria N. Alexander and Stanley Salthe Source: Annals of Scholarship, Volume 19, Issue 1 (Aug., 2010), 45-66.
Abstract: A widely remarked fact about On the Origin of Species is that it is not about "origins" per se—singular points at which something new begins—but about gradual changes in the proportions of already existing forms. Artists and others have long resisted Darwin's revolution on the grounds that natural selection does not explain evolution, a theory of which must include a theory of actual creativity. In early 20th-century biology, there were still many vocal and powerful dissenters: William Bateson and C. H. Waddington (also a painter and a poet), Richard Goldschmidt, and D'Arcy Thompson, who were heir to 19th-century teleomechanists and morphologists such as von Baer, Mivart, Owen, Muller, and Geoffroy. Repressed in the 1950s during the hardening of the Modern Synthesis, ideas about evolutionary creativity and progress have bubbled up again. Saltationists have increased in number, and Robert G. B. Reid, in his recent Biological
Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment (2007), describes a neoDarwinian house that is now deeply altered from within. Many of those calling themselves selectionists have actually strayed far from the fold insofar as their research shows that saltatory changes occur and the resulting organisms are immediately viable, making natural selection as a force of change superfluous. Now is precisely not the time for students of literature to start looking to Darwinists for guidance. Rather the reverse is true: neoDarwinists could do well to refocus attention on creativity and the processes whereby variations come to be. This paper examines non-Darwinian authorship in Vladmir Nabokov, (late) Henry James and various other 20th century novelists.
Best, Tori Alexander
Victoria N. Alexander, Ph.D.Dactyl Foundation64 Grand StreetNew York, NY 10013212 219-2344www.torialexander.comwww.dactyl.org

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