NABOKV-L post 0006072, Fri, 13 Jul 2001 16:18:34 -0700

Subject
Info on obtaining Zimmer VN Butterfly Guide
Date
Body
EDITOR's NOTE. A few days ago, Brian Boyd, sent via Nabokv-l his review of
the new, much expanded edition of Dieter Zimmer's "Guide to Nabokov's
Butterflies." In his remarks Boyd stressed the importance of a knowledge
of butterflies to understanding Nabokov's fiction. In addition to repeating
most of the text of Boyd's review below, I take the liberty of quoting his
concluding remarks here:

>I know there are some otherwise gifted Nabokovians who have no
> interest in his lepidopterology. For serious Nabokov work, though, you
just have
> to know it. Remaining aloof from it is as misguided and self-defeating as
a
> Russian scholar's ignoring the English literary contexts of Nabokov's
work, or
> an English critic's ignoring his Russian context, Pushkin and all, or an
> English or Russian reader's ignoring his French context. You simply
> have to know the Lepidoptera, and Zimmer's Guide is the place where you
will
> find what you need to know.
>
> Anyone who teaches Nabokov, and especially anyone who supervises or
> hopes to supervise graduate students working on Nabokov, should ensure
that
> they have their own copy (which even apart from its scholarly value will
very
> soon become a prize collector's item) and that they order another copy
for
> their university library: Zimmer, Dieter E. A Guide to Nabokov's
Butterflies
> and Moths 2001. Hamburg, 2001. ISBN 3-00-007609-3
----------------------------------------------------
NABOKV-L had now been advised that order information for the volume is
available on Dieter Zimmer's homepage <www.d-e-zimmer.de>.

> ------------------------------------
>
> BOYD'S REVIEW OF THE VOLUME.
> >
> > In 1995 in _Nabokov Studies_ # 2 I reviewed the first version of Dieter
> E.
> > Zimmer's A Guide to Nabokov's Butterflies and Moths (then called
> > "Nabokov's Lepidoptera: An Annotated Multilingual Checklist"). I rated
> it an
> > immeasurable advance on everything else in the field to date, but also
> > noted omissions and limitations in presentation. Not only has Zimmer
> plugged
> > the few omissions I mentioned, as well as innumerable others no one had
>
> > been aware of, he has also thought out carefully and discovered how to
> > provide whatever readers might need on Nabokov's butterflies.
> >
> > The 2001 Guide contains 225% as much material as the first version.
> > This invaluable Guide, a triumph of selfless scholarship, now contains:
>
> > 1) an introduction to Lepidoptera, to taxonomy and systematics, to
> > mimicry, and to evolution, and to Nabokov's attitudes to all of these
> > 2) catalogues of the taxa named by and for Nabokov, with detailed
> > discussions and explanations
> > 3) a 190-page alphabetical catalogue of all the butterflies mentioned
> > by Nabokov in his published work (and occasional unpublished work, like
>
> > his 1919 "Dvoe"), from Aaron's Skipper to Zygaenidae. This, the
> invaluable
> > core of the volume,
> > a) identifies butterflies whether or not Nabokov named them directly
> > or only implied their identity;
> > b) provides an immense amount of fascinating natural lore on hundreds
> > of species and genera: 4 pages, for instance, on Vanessa atalanta,
> > another half page on the genus name Vanessa, another two-thirds of a
> page on
> > Cynthia, the now superseded name for the genus;
> > c) astutely discusses, where appropriate, Nabokov's artistic purposes
> > in using them in this or that work;
> > d) supplies translators with the equivalent popular names in other
> > major European languages;
> > e) establishes the current scientific name, which can change for
> > genera reasons Zimmer discusses under 1) and for specific reasons he
> explains
> > in each case.
> > 4) a sequential list of all the butterflies in Nabokov's work,
> > chronologically by book and then by page, with cross-references to 3).
> > This enables a reader who encounters a vague reference to some
> butterfly or
> > moth on page x of work y to discover its identity, where retrievable,
> and
> > to locate all Nabokov's other references to that lepidopteron, and
> > Zimmer's description and explanation of its place in nature and
> Nabokov.
> > 5) a biographical index of lepidopterists with Nabokov connections:
> > those whose work he pored over, or referred to, those whom he worked
> with
> > professionally, those who have since worked professionally on his
> > butterflies, and so on. This in itself is a considerable and
> fascinating
> > achievement.
> > 6) an annotated bibliography of Nabokov's scientific papers and
> > interviews about butterflies
> > 7) a species list, allowing a cross-reference to the catalogue (where
> > many of the generic names under which the butterflies are listed have
> been
> > revised since Nabokov's day)
> > 8) an illustrations section, 21 color plates, which includes such
> treasures
> > as Nabokov's Butterflies in Art identifications, and, say, the Pear
> > Peacock from the Elements Room in Florence's Signoria, as identified by
>
> > Lucette; illustrations of the species Nabokov has in mind when he
> writes of
> > mimicry and crypsis; a photograph of explorer Pratt that Nabokov used
> for
> > Godunov-Cherdyntsev's travels; the Karner Blue, the Albany Pine Bush
> > Reserve, and the lupine the butterfly feeds on; and over 120
> > butterflies and moths of particular signiificance to Nabokov.
>
> > David Sexton, reviewing Nabokov's Butterflies, ended by saying that
> > whatever your starting point, you would think more of Nabokov after
> reading the
> > book. The same is true of Zimmer's Guide.
> >
> > I know there are some otherwise gifted Nabokovians who have no
> > interest in his lepidopterology. For serious Nabokov work, though, you
> just have
> > to know it. Remaining aloof from it is as misguided and self-defeating
> as a
> > Russian scholar's ignoring the English literary contexts of Nabokov's
> work, or
> > an English critic's ignoring his Russian context, Pushkin and all, or
> an
> > English or Russian reader's ignoring his French context. You simply
> > have to know the Lepidoptera, and Zimmer's Guide is the place where you
> will
> > find what you need to know.
> >
> > Anyone who teaches Nabokov, and especially anyone who supervises or
> > hopes to supervise graduate students working on Nabokov, should ensure
> that
> > they have their own copy (which even apart from its scholarly value
> will very
> > soon become a prize collector's item) and that they order another copy
> for
> > their university library: Zimmer, Dieter E. A Guide to Nabokov's
> Butterflies
> > and Moths 2001. Hamburg, 2001. ISBN 3-00-007609-3
> >
> > Nabokov the commentator on Eugene Onegin, as well as Nabokov the
> > researcher of "Notes on Neotropical Plebejinae," and Nabokov the author
> of The
> > Gift, "A Discovery" and Pale Fire, would have welcomed and applauded,
> would
> > have had to wipe away tears of gratitude for, Zimmer's invaluable
> Guide.
>
>



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