A NY Times article by Alexander Osipovich brings to our attention Russian microbiologist Dmitry Sokolenko:
Mr. Sokolenko has organized an exhibition in the Vladimir Nabokov Museum here [in St. Petersburg] that explores the links between the author’s art and his science. Titled “The Nabokov Code,” a riff on “The Da Vinci Code,” it juxtaposes quotations from Nabokov’s books with images of butterfly parts.
The images, taken under a microscope, are the sort of thing that Nabokov would have seen every day while researching lepidoptera at Harvard. The quotations, meanwhile, are filled with allusions to insects. Mr. Sokolenko organized the show to advance his hypothesis: that Nabokov’s meticulous, masterly prose style grew out of his love of science.
“When you do what Nabokov did, when you shift your focus from entomology to literature, you hold onto all the methods and research tools that you’ve been using for years,” Mr. Sokolenko said in an interview just before the exhibition opened on July 3. “I think that his painstaking attention to detail could only have come from his profession, from what he was doing in entomology.”
He clearly goes way overboard in his thesis, but it’s interesting stuff, and I’d like to see the exhibit. (Thanks for the link, Bonnie!)