"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nabokov Knew His Butterflies

He was right about their appearance on this continent, it seems, and, according to the NY Times, we have the Russian Revolution to thank for his not becoming a full-time lepidopterist.

It fascinates me -- the juxtaposition between brilliant writer and lepidopterist. Why that should be more striking than poet and doctor (William Carlos Williams) or poet and insurance executive (Wallace Stevens), I am not sure. Maybe because Nabokov did not need it as his day job? It was not his day job, but another thing he loved. Butterflies are gorgeous, but he killed a lot of them, loving them as he did. Kind of like Humbert Humbert "killed" the thing he loved...creepy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always thought butterfly collecting was odd.