Stephen Blackwell, professor of modern foreign languages and literatures and a scholar of Russian literature, won the 2013 prize for the Best Scholarly Contribution in the area of Nabokov Studies with his 2009 book The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science.
He received the award from the Nabokov Online Journal during a special ceremony at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France, in April. The award carries a $600 cash prize.
Blackwell’s book explores how art and science can interact to promote the advancement of human knowledge and understanding through a detailed exploration of Vladimir Nabokov’s fiction and scientific articles. Nabokov, a distinguished lepidopterist, wrote extensively on the taxonomy of butterflies and organized the butterfly collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. The Quill and the Scalpel demonstrates how Nabokov’s varied scientific interests shaped his novels and how his literary work enriched his science.