In this essay from his forthcoming collection, There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness, titled ‘Lolita and the Blue Icarus’, Carlo Rovelli writes about Nabokov’s foray into lepidoptery – and his surprising recognition as “a scientist of real worth”.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), born in St Petersburg, exiled in Cambridge, Berlin, and Paris, became the greatest Russian writer of the first half of the twentieth century. Fleeing to the US with his family in 1940, he then became the greatest writer in English of the second half of the century, and even 'God's own novelist' (William Deresiewicz). He lived in Europe from 1959 onwards, and died in Montreux, Switzerland. All his major works - novels, stories, an autobiography, poems, plays, lectures, essays and reviews - are published in Penguin Modern Classics.