Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nabokov


I recently read an article about how Vladimir Nabokov was not only a writer but also a lepidopterist (aka one who studies moths and butterflies). He studied in great detail a butterfly called the Kerner Blue, and had a theory that these butterflies migrated from Russia over the Bering Straight in great waves and moved on into the new world this way (as opposed to being carried into different continents via shifting of land masses over millions of years ). Anyways, Nabokov was laughed out of the science lab by other scientists- until now, when DNA studies have shown that this is indeed true.

Nabokov himself was a migrant- he and his family had to flee their homeland in Russia when the revolution began. Unluckily, they fled to Berlin- not a good choice in those early decades. So, finding himself forced to move again, Nabokov wound up in the New World- more specifically, Harvard, where he was a curator at the Museum of Comparative Zoology and also wrote some novels, which is really his claim to fame. (But not nearly as interesting as this whole butterfly thing, I find.)

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