His love of Lepidoptera drew upon and further sharpened his love of the particular and the habits of detailed observation that gave him such fictional command over the physical world—biologically (birds, flowers, trees), geographically (localities, landscapes, ecologies), socially (manorial Russia, boardinghouse Berlin, motel America), and bodily (gesture, anatomy, sensation). He thought that only the ridiculously unobservant could be pessimists in a world as full of surprising specificity as ours, and he arranged his own art accordingly.I once wrote a brief essay on Nabokov’s tantalizing definition of art as “curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy”; first published in a journal called The Nabokovian, the piece now resides here. I offer it as a tiny indication of why Nabokov’s smile reflects such a genuine, knowing sort of joy. (Photo by Horst Tappe)
Monday, August 1, 2016
I like very much this author photo from Vladimir Nabokov’s later years, showing him soaked by a sudden rainstorm, delighted. I know that for some, his mischievous, playful spirit is often overshadowed, if not altogether eclipsed, by his intimidating intellectual prowess, recondite allusions, and (mis)perceived arrogance. Consider, however, that face, the face of a man who brandished a net to capture fluttering things; and place it alongside this, from biographer Brian Boyd’s introduction to Nabokov’s Butterflies:
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Moebius and the Key of Dreams. *****
Thursday, February 19, 2015
by Robert Pranzatelli
Sunday, February 1, 2015
earlier Folio Club blog post and my two subsequent essays about him for the Paris Review, related to his comic take on fashion and his World War One drawings (with slideshow). An abundant selection of additional images can be found on this Tumblr devoted to his work, including a larger version of the drawing above.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
by Mark Saba Drawing Issue (issue number seven) in 2014. Image: Mark Saba, self-portrait, oil on canvas.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
second issue of the Folio Club. Copyright 2010 by Robert Pranzatelli. All rights reserved. Image: Andy Warhol, Flowers.