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Nabokov lauded as serious taxonomist

28th January 2011

While the literary credentials of Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov are considered beyond reproach, his standing in the field of insect evolution has been less solid - until now.

A paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal claims that Nabokov, an amateur entomologist and keen butterfly collector, had 'extraordinary biological intuition'.

The author developed a theory concerning the evolution of a butterfly species called polyommatus blues that has been proven right in a ten-year genetic study, despite the 'bold hypothesis' being dismissed by the scientific establishment for years.

In a scientific paper written in 1945, Nabokov suggested polyommatus blues spread from Asia to the Americas in five waves by crossing the ancient Bering land bridge that linked Siberia to Alaska.

'Although sometimes described as an amateur, Nabokov was a serious taxonomist who made important contributions to the systematics of the polyommatus section,' the study claimed.

Back in November, Dmitri Nabokov, the author's son, announced that he plans to publish a new book called Letters to Vera, which will contain around 300 love letters written by his father to his mother, later this year.
 

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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