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Nabokov Studies, 2 (1995), 290-99. BRIAN BOYD (Auckland, New Zealand) NABOKOVS LEPIDOPTERA: A REVIEW-ARTICLE ON DIETER E. ZIMMER'S "NABOKOVS LEPIDOPTERA" Les Papillons de Nabokov. Edited by Michel Sartori. Lausanne: Musée cantonal de Zoologie, 1993. 200 pp. At two hundred pages, this exploration of Nabokov's butterflies is not only far longer than Diana Butler's fatuous "Lolita Lepidoptera"' or Joann Karges's jejune Nabokov's Lepidoptera: Genres and Genera2 but as fertile and full of fact as they were barren and bare. Nabokov left the butterflies he had caught in his final European phase to the museum nearest to Montreux, to the second M.C.Z. in his life, the Musée cantonal de Zoologie in Lausanne. Like the Lausanne museum's exhibition, "Les Papillons de Nabokov" (November 26, 1993-January 29, 1994), this book celebrates that bequest. Its first section, a catalogue of the exhibition, features familiar images of Nabokov and familiar passages on butterflies from The Gift, Speak, Memory and the like. Of more interest to the serious Nabokovian is the final section, a complete record, compiled by Michel Sartori, of the butterflies Nabokov gave the museum: 195 species, some represented by up to 100 specimens, each specimen identified by date, location and sometimes altitude of capture. For those who might stumble and slip in this scree of fact, Sartori marks some trails: Nabokov's unusually long stays in each locale, his reluctance to return to the same spot in future summers, his extraordinarily thorough coverage of the butterflies of Switzerland, given that he hunted only in the mountains, and his particularly comprehensive catches in the lycaenid family. But the reason the book deserves discussion in Nabokov Studies is the remarkable 150-page central section, "Nabokov's Lepidoptera: an annotated multilingual checklist," by Dieter Zimmer. As D. Barton Johnson comments in a review on the Nabokov electronic bulletin-board, this 1.In New World Writing, 16(1960), pp. 5&64, rpt. in Phyllis A. Roth, ed., Critical Essays on Vladimir Nabokov (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984), pp. 59-73. 2. Ann Arbor, Ml: Ardis, 1985. Nabokov's Lepidoptera: A Review Article on Zimmer's "Nabokov's Lepidoptera" 291 checklist immediately becomes one of the few indispensable references for the serious Nabokov scholar. Zimmer's contribution was not prepared expressly for the Lausanne exhibition but arose out of his work as general editor of the twenty-five volume German collected Nabokov being published by Rowohlt. For more than thirty years, Zimmer has served Nabokov in many capacities: as his foremost German translator (only Dmitri Nabokov has done more in any language), his first bibliographer, his most prominent German interviewer , his first general editor, his longest-standing literary annotator, and now the first thorough explicator of Nabokov's second major career. What makes Zimmer's work all the more remarkable is that it has all been accomplished for sheer love of his subject. A distinguished essayist and journalist, a literary editor of Die Zeit, he has earned no promotions, no research grants, no sabbaticals for his devotion to Nabokov's work. Because he is not an academic, he has not received the invitations to major international Nabokov conferences that his standing as a Nabokov scholar should have earned him. Because he usually writes in German, the detailed annotations he has prepared for the Gesammelte Werke—building on research of a thoroughness quite unparalleled by other translators of the 1960s and 1970s—have been too little noticed by the predominantly Anglo-Russian world of Nabokov scholarship. Zimmer undertook this checklist, like his other Nabokov work, simply to get things right: to place Nabokov's details in scientific context and to make it possible for translators into major West European languages to repin his butterflies undamaged into other lexical trays. His selflessness is matched by his care for and insight into the needs of Nabokov's readers. He explains the principles of taxonomy, lists the butterflies and moths named by and for Nabokov and the lepidoptera named in his work, and provides a bibliography and summary of all Nabokov's scientific papers, plus a fascinating annotated biographical list of lepidopterists who somehow impinged on Nabokov—including a marvelous anecdote I...


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