----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 7:30 AM
Subject: RE: Fw: Nabokov's Blues again
to each his own. It seems to me that Mr. (not Mrs. [just joking]) Robinson
had his mind made up about Nabokov in advance and is generally not positive
toward many angles of "Nabokoviana" (e.g. "Nabokov
worship?"). The level of accuracy in some of his
perceptions seems reflected by his saying that Nabokov's Blues was
published after Nabokov's Butterflies which, of course, is not the case (by a
year or so) [it's the other way around]. I wonder also where he got
the idea that Nabokov's scientific papers were generally no better or worse than
anything else of the period; I thought that was exactly what we were examining
by looking at them in much more detail and depth.
Robinson's view [or wherever he heard it] seems to have not been swayed,
which is esp. odd since Nabokov's morphology was FAR MORE profusely illustrated
than in other papers of the time (at least on Blues); perhaps Mr. Robinson was
comparing them to papers on other groups of butterflies, as S. J. Gould also
did. Our comparisons were about literature on Blues, or lycaenids in
general, at the time, a literature which I know extremely well. A
couple reviewers seem to have missed that point. But, anyway, yes,
lepidopterists are "close" to the subject. Thus, there was really no more
reason for us to cite Eliot's work than C. A. Bridges' work (who published
several very useful [as library tools] volumes of lists of names with which Mr.
Robinson may not be familiar). Eliot's work, like Bridges', when it came
to lists of taxonomic names was simply a bibliographical review of the
literature, which Eliot attached in addendum fashion to his own original
work, which delineated new "Tribes"; that is, once Eliot broke down the
Lycaenidae into his new "Tribes", he then attached a list of the
"available" names in those categories. Eliot says (I don't know
whether Mr. Robinson has actually read his work), in the Introduction and
Discussion of his own work, that his concern was not with the validity of genera
or those categories lower than the "Tribes" that he erected.
Actually, Eliot (who is a good friend of mine) is not that well versed in
Nabokov's work-- even his latest biogeographical work (published in Japan)
leaves out reference to any work on Nabokov's blues after 1945. So,
it appears that John's (Eliot) familiarity with Nabokov's work, or work on
Nabokov's Blues (as in his classic 1973 work on higher categories), is pretty
much limited to the bibliographical listing of the taxa in Nabokov's work from
1940-45 etc. But, reviewers do sound authoritative and so it
goes. That's the "tyranny of it all" [again, said humorously].
I suppose people who read Robinson's review simply "won't know
better". I thought it might be useful to clear up the details
above about Mr. Robinson's view. Eliot made new
Tribes but did not, or did not attempt to, answer any questions about the
validity of names below that level, except for some suggestions of "Sections"
and even these were simply culled from the literature. I suppose that Mr.
Robinson perhaps made a cursory look at Eliot's work, saw the addended
lists of taxonomic names and assumed that Eliot was "opining" on
these. Eliot did not, nor did Bridges, in his [extremely useful,
as library tools] copious lists also published on the
Lycaenidae. The sad thing of course is that Bridges got tired of it
all and committed suicide, but that is another story.
EDITOR's NOTE. NABOKV-L thanks Manfred Voss
for the item below. He also report that Tomas Urban's German volume _NABOKOV
in BERLIN_ is being remaindered therr.
NABOKOV's BLUES: The Scientific Odyssey of a literary genius by
Johnson and Steve Coates (Zoland), which received excellent reviews
many U.S. publications, meets a cooler reception in Gaden S.
review in the TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMNTS of MArch 22, 2001