Vladimir Nabokov: Europe & Western U.S.

polyommattus blue butterfly

Vladimir Nabokov: Europe & Western U.S.

Vladimir Nabokov: Europe & Western U.S.

What Shaped Him: When his father was jailed due to political activities, 8-year-old Nabokov brought a butterfly to his father's cell as a gift, and that was the beginning of a life-long pursuit. As a self-taught lepidopterist, he traveled widely to collect butterflies and even developed a migration theory on Polyommattus blue butterflies that has recently been supported by new research. Butterflies flit their way through his novels; scholars have counted hundreds of mentions in works such as "Lolita" and "Pale Fire."

Relive the Story: Few know that Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, "Lolita," was written during his annual butterfly-collection trips to the western United States (namely Oregon). Nabokov also took butterfly tours throughout Corsica, Sicily and the Alps. Today, you can see a collection of Nabokov's butterflies at the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg.

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