Stephen H. Blackwell, associate professor of Russian, has just published The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science, with Ohio State University Press. This study explores how art and science can interact to promote the advance 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 lepidoptery shaped his novels and how his literary work enriched his science. Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko once said that he could hear the clatter of surgical tools in Nabokov’s prose.
Blackwell has published several other articles on the interaction of art and science, and in fall 2008 he organized an international symposium at UTK called “Academic Evolution and Hybridization: Literature and the Sciences.” He is co-editor of the international scholarly discussion forum, NABOKV-L.
Blackwell, Stephen. 2009. The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.
Blackwell, Stephen. 2009. “‘Fugitive Sense’ in Nabokov.” In D. White and W. Norman, eds. Transitional Nabokov. Peter Lang Publishing, London.
Blackwell, Stephen. 2008. “Some New or Little-Known Subtexts in Lolita.” The Nabokovian, 60: 51-55.
Blackwell, Stephen. 2003. “The Poetics of Science in, and around, Nabokov’s The Gift.” The Russian Review 62(2): 243-61.
Blackwell, Stephen. 2002/2003. “Nabokov’s Wiener-schnitzel Dreams: Anti-Freudian Poetics in Despair.” Nabokov Studies 7: 129-150.
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