»Table of Contents 


Butterflies and Moths in Nabokov's Published Writings

By Work and Page

Part 4: 2000 and 2015

This index does not include the butterflies and moths in Nabokov's strictly technical papers. The arrows [»] are hyperlinks to the corresponding entry in the alphabetical sections or to the biographical page. All stories are in Part 3, under »STORIES (1995).


NABOKOV'S BUTTERFLIES (London: Allen Lane/ Penguin, 2000), ed. Brian Boyd & Robert Michael Pyle

Listed are only specific taxa from writings not published before in English.

BE = "Butterflies of Europe" (in »Part 3)     FB = "Father's Butterflies" (in »Part 1)

I = interview     L = letter     P = poem


98 (L)          rhamni [»Gonepteryx rhamni]

98 (L)          brassicae [»Pieris brassicae]

98 (L)          egerias [»Pararge aegeria]

105–7 (P)    »Moths

107 (P)        a puffy »silkmoth, / speckled, like a fallen leaf [»Aglia tau,    »Saturniidae]

107 (P)        a black hawk-moth / with a pearl V on the knotty vein [»Agrius convolvuli]

107 (P)        a tiny fan with a lucent fringe [»Alucita]

107 (P)        a meek old man, a monk in a dark cassock [not enough information for identification]

107 (P)        their empress, the bride on the breeze: / two ribbons of velvet on pink satin, / flamingo dust at the end of its abdomen [»Catocala (pacta)]

109             Butterfly, butterfly! Black with scarlet bands [»Vanessa atalanta]

119 (L)        I found on a linden tree … a wonderfully rare moth – the dream of German collectors [»Staurophora celsia]

120 (L)        »Kardakov, [»Moltrecht]

121 (P)        swallowtail [»Papilio machaon]

123 (P)        a semi-pavonian creature [»Saturnia pavonia]

147 (L)        »Papilios

147 (L)        a perfectly wonderful Podalirius [»Iphiclides podalirius]

147 (L)        machaon [»Papilio machaon]

148 (L)        I went to see »Obenberger at the entomological museum again

151 (L)        A very nice machaon ... lying in the blazing Grunewald sun and counted eleven species of butter, including a very fresh machaon [»Papilio machaon]

156 (P)        A geometrid thus does not stir spread flat on a lichened trunk [»Geometridae]

198-234      "Father's Butterflies" (FB), see under »Dar II (1939?)

236 (L)        I am writing »Avinov

244             There is a species of butterfly on the hindwing of which a large eyespot imitates a drop of liquid [»Cerura vinula]

247 (L)        describing a new species (I discovered a wonderful thing in the Grand Cañon) [»Cyllopsis pertepida]

248 (L)        paper on the Neonympha [»Lep5, 1942]

248 (L)        henshawi [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

248 (L)        pyracmon [»Cyllopsis pyracmon]

249 (L)        Dr. »Avinov

249 (L)        sending me those »Neonympha

250 (P)        having missed an Apollo [»Parnassius]

265 (L)        Some New or Little Known Nearctic »Neonympha [»Lep5, 1942]

268 (L)        wonderful Hesperids and various sorts of Pierids [»Hesperiidae, »Pieridae]

268 (L)        one of the very broad local »Papilios

268 (L)        I'll send eubule, the most prominent local butterfly [»Phoebis sennae eubule]

268 (L)        he worked on »Sphingids

268 (L)        one large long-tailed Hesperid, with a kind of peacock fluff on its body [»Urbanus proteus]

268 (L)        shoving my way through the shrubbery after some »Thecla

269 (L)        wonderful longtailed Hesperid [»Urbanus proteus]

270 (L)        Look after the »Pierids (»Pieris, »Colias, »Euchloe, and so on) when you have repinned all the »Satyrids

271 (L)        one »Neonympha

272 (L)        my »Neonymphas

273 (L)        my »Lysandra cormion

276 (L)        the numerous forms of »Lycaeides fall into five specific unities … : argyrognomon ismeniascleobismelissaagnata

293             annetta [»Plebejus melissa annetta]

293             melissa melissa [»Plebejus melissa ]

294             Glaucopsyche oro [»Glaucopsyche lygdamus oro]

295             Argynnis bischoffi [»Speyeria mormonia bischoffii]

297             icarioides and allied species [»Aricia icarioides]

297             the nearctic »Lycaeides

300 (L)        the Nearctic Forms of »Lycaeides

300             an Argynninae and a »Plebejinae [»Argynnini]

302             his »Catochrysopinae or Everinae [»Plebejinae]

302             »Kuznetsov (l.c.) in one of his profoundest

302             By »Lycaeides "form" I understand a morphological unity

303             the »Plebejinae subfamily

303             The »Lycaeides is one of the most "natural genera"

303             melissa samuelis [»Plebejus samuelis]

304             argyrognomon anna [»Plebejus idas anna]

304             the Colorado scudderi [»Plebejus idas scudderi]

306             the American scudderi and the Asiatic cleobis [»Plebejus idas scudderi, »Plebejus subsolanus]

306             subsolanus [»Plebejus subsolanus]

309             »Staudinger

309             a new species of »Parnassius

309             »Grum Grzhimailo

309             the "argus" group [»Plebejus argus]

310             »Grum Grzhimaïlo

310             »Alpheraky

310             »Forster

313 (L)        disa [»Erebia disa]

336             Dr. »S[t]audinger

336             »Latreille considered »Fabricius a pernicious splitter

336             a race of Agr. pheretes from the Swiss Alps [»Albulina orbitulus]

338             »Mayr follows »Dobzhansky and other authors in defining "species" as "groups of actually or potentially interbreeding "populations"

340             »Huxley

340             a beautifully limited "natural" genus (»Aricia)

342             every species of »Lycaeides is polytypic

343             Rensch

345             criticizing the definitions of »Huxley and of »Mayr

347 (L)        Some time ago »Stallings informed me that »Chermock was sending out specimens with new names

347 (L)        Paul »Grey

347 (L)        my longish paper on certain questions concerning »Lycaeides is to appear very soon

348 (L)        camera lucida drawings I made of hanno hanno and of huntingtoni [»Hemiargus hanno, »Echinargus huntingtoni]

383 (L)        In the case of ammon [»Cyclargus ammon]

383 (L)        »Agriades glandon and »Agriades pyrenaica

383 (L)        I am very much interested in the material you mention, especially the »Plebejinae: hanno-bogotana-ramon-martha-chilensis-koa-collina-faga-excisicosta. (Cassius, callanga, marina belong to another subfamily »Catochrysopinae, and tulliola is cyna = Zizula gaika Trimen) [»Hemiargus hanno, »Hemiargus bogotana, »Hemiargus ramon, »Echinargus martha, »Pseudolucia chilensis, »Madeleinea koa, »Pseudolucia collina, »Nabokovia faga, »Leptotes cassius, »Leptotes callanga, »Leptotes marina, »Zizula cyna, »Zizula hylax]

385 (L)        to the vast disgust of »Field

385 (L)        a specimen of one of the rarest "psittacoid" S. American »Theclinae

385 (L)        »Grey's Argynninae papers [»Argynnini]

385 (L)        sympatric individuals of aphrodite and cybele [»Speyeria aphrodite, »Speyeria cybele]

398 (L)        P. glaucus [»Papilio glaucus]

398 (L)        P. rapae [»Pieris rapae]

398 (L)        C. philodice (and x eurytheme) [»Colias philodice, »Colias eurytheme]

398 (L)        S. cybele [»Speyeria cybele]

398 (L)        aphrodite [»Speyeria aphrodite]

398 (L)        atlantis [»Speyeria atlantis]

398 (L)        A. bellona [»Clossiana bellona]

398 (L)        A. selene [»Clossiana selene]

398 (L)        E. phaeton [»Euphydryas phaeton]

398 (L)        P. tharos [»Phyciodes tharos]

398 (L)        P. faunus [»Polygonia faunus]

398 (L)        progne [»Polygonia progne]

398 (L)        E. l-album [»Nymphalis vau-album]

398 (L)        antiopa [»Nymphalis antiopa]

398 (L)        milberti [»Aglais milberti]

398 (L)        V. atalanta [»Vanessa atalanta]

398 (L)        huntera [»Vanessa virginiensis]

398 (L)        B. arthemis [»Basilarchia arthemis]

398 (L)        archippus [»Basilarchia archippus]

398 (L)        C. alope [»Cercyonis pegala alope]

398 (L)        E. portlandia [»Enodia portlandia]

398 (L)        S. canthus [»Satyrodes eurydice eurydice]

398 (L)        C. euritis [no such species]

398 (L)        D. plexippus [»Danaus plexippus]

398 (L)        T. calanus [»Satyrium calanus]

398 (L)        Ch. titus [»Harkenclenus titus]

398 (L)        F. tarquinius [»Feniseca tarquinius]

398 (L)        L. phlaeas [»Lycaena phlaeas]

398 (L)        thoe [»Hyllolycaena hyllus]

398 (L)        E. comyntas [»Everes comyntas]

398 (L)        C. argiolus [»Celastrina argiolus]

398 (L)        A. samoset (belated) [»Amblyscirtes hegon]

398 (L)        A. numitor [»Ancyloxypha numitor]

398 (L)        A. zabulon [»Poanes zabulon]

398 (L)        T. otho [»Wallengrenia otho]

398 (L)        mystic [»Polites mystic]

398 (L)        P. peckius [»Polites coras]

398 (L)        E. tityrus [»Epargyreus clarus clarus]

398 (L)        Th. pylades [»Thorybes pylades]

400 (L)         Argynninae … »Plebejinae [»Argynnini]

400 (L)        Paul »Grey

405 (L)        »Speyeria

405 (L)        all but idiala and diana [»Speyeria idalia, »Speyeria diana]

405 (L)        all the Semnopsyche section [»Speyeria]

405 (L)        a race of aphrodite [»Speyeria aphrodite]

405 (L)        edwardsi [»Speyeria edwardsii]

405 (L)        atlantis [»Speyeria atlantis]

406 (L)        cybele novoscotiae [»Speyeria cybele novoscotiae]

406 (L)        lais [»Speyeria atlantis lais]

406 (L)        cybele pugetensis F.Cherm. [»Speyeria cybele pugetensis]

406 (L)        races of nitocris [»Speyeria nokomis nitrocris]

406 (L)        I cannot distinguish atlantis hollandi or atlantis canadensis from atlantis atlantis [»Speyeria atlantis atlantis, »Speyeria atlantis hollandi, »Speyeria atlantis canadensis]

406 (L)        The zerene forms from Utah and Nevada [»Speyeria zerene]

406 (L)        Egleis mcdunnoughi is very variable in Wyoming grading into oweni or utahensis [»Speyeria egleis macdunnoughi, »Speyeria egleis oweni, »Speyeria egleis utahensis]

406 (L)        a Montana form of aphrodite, a Yakima River, Washington, form of callippe and the pale brick … Vancouver Island form of egleis deserve names [»Speyeria aphrodite, »Speyeria callippe, »Speyeria egleis]

406 (L)        mormonia and eurynome zerene platina [»Speyeria mormonia, »Speyeria mormonia eurynome, »Speyeria zerene platina]

406 (L)        atlantis electa [»Speyeria atlantis electa]

406 (L)        edwardsi [»Speyeria edwardsii]

406 (L)        aphrodite ethne [»Speyeria aphrodite ethne]

406 (L)        atlantis hesperis [»Speyeria atlantis hesperis]

406 (L)        zerene sinope [»Speyeria zerene sinope]

406 (L)        callippe meadi [»Speyeria callippe meadii]

408 (L)        working on the »Melitea and »Phyciodes

408 (L)        nycteis and gorgone are much closer to Mel. harrisii than they are to the tharos group [»Charidryas nycteis, »Charidryas gorgone, »Charidryas harrisii, »Phyciodes tharos]

408 (L)        »Strecker

408 (L)        »Scudder

408 (L)        Unless »Holland's photo of hanhami is not that of the type [»Charidryas harrisii hanhami]

408 (L)        Orseis of which we have pair from »Edwards … seems to be a dark race of mylitta (incl. barnesi …) [»Phyciodes orseis, »Phyciodes mylitta, »Phyciodes pallida barnesi]

408 (L)        Picta is, I think, co-specific with phaon… while vesta is distinct [»Phyciodes pictus, »Phyciodes phaon, »Phyciodes vesta]

408 (L)        I have found … specimens … of batesi [»Phyciodes batesii]

409 (L)        Freija was practically over when I arrived [»Clossiana freija]

409 (L)        selene tollandensis [»Clossiana selene tollandensis]

409 (L)        S. eurynome [»Speyeria mormonia eurynome]

445             If »Plebejus is used in a broad sense … (= my »Plebejinae), then »Hemiargus cannot be separated from it

445             »Philotes holarctically grades into »Scolitantides which is the same as »Phaedrotes and the latter is much closer to »Glaucopsyche than say »Plebejus s.str. to »Lycaeides s.str.

445             What »Brephidium … is doing in cette galère

447 (L)        I am trying to discover lygdamus here [»Glaucopsyche lygdamus]

448 (L)        your [Klots'] paper on the »Brenthis + »Colias

448 (L)        Boloria selene [»Clossiana selene]

448 (L)        L. thoe [»Hyllolycaena hyllus]

448 (L)        tollandensis [»Clossiana selene tollandensis]

448 (L)        puzzled by a dark »Oeneis which seems to belong to the Jutta group [»Oeneis jutta]

448 (L)        L. phlaeas [»Lycaena phlaeas]

448 (L)        the Blue between melissa and scudderi [»Plebejus melissa, »Plebejus idas scudderi]

448 (L)        I envy you terribly for obtaining laeta in Vermont [»Erora laeta]

450 (L)        sending my drawings of all the Nearctic »Plebejinae (except the genus »Lycaeides which is now sufficiently known). These genera (»Plebejus, »Agriades, »Plebulina, »Icaricia

465 (L)        »Scolitantides

465 (L)        lygdamus, the battoides group and piasus are linked up generically … and thus should all be included in »Scolitantides [»Glaucopsyche lygdamus, »Euphilotes battoides, »Glaucopsyche piasus]

465 (L)        lygdamus, enoptes and piasus as being really one, »Scolitantides Hübner, of which Papilio battus /Schiff./, 1775, is the type [»Glaucopsyche lygdamus, »Euphilotes enoptes, »Glaucopsyche piasus

465 (L)        Skinneri is quite certainly a race of pelidne which, in its turn, interbreeds with palaeno [»Colias pelidne skinneri, »Colias palaeno]

469 (L)        Plebejus ismenias aegus [»Lycaeides ismenias]

469 (L)        »Eupithecia nabokovi

478 (L)        My specimens of »Lycaena phlaeas feildeni were taken in the Teton Mts.

478 (L)        Snowi, which I have taken many times in various parts of Colorado [»Lycaena cupreus snowi]

478 (L)        cannot be compared to virgaureae or dispar forms [»Heodes virgaureae, »Thersamolycaena dispar]

478 (L)        my phlaeas form [»Lycaena phlaeas]

485 (L)        the »High Brown and the Monarch [»Fabriciana adippe, »Danaus plexippus]

486 (L)        High Brown [»Fabriciana adippe]

486 (L)        "cydippe" is a silvered "niobe" …? [»Fabriciana adippe, »Fabriciana niobe]

486 (L)        »Hemming, »Riley and »Verity

486 (L)        phryxa Bergstrasser [»Fabriciana adippe]

486 (L)        Fabriciana berecynthia (Poda) … Fabriciana phryxa (Bergstrasser) [»Fabriciana adippe]

487 (L)        the First Reviser of "plexippus" is Linnaeus himself [»Danaus plexippus]

489             »Danaus chrysippus … and »Vanessa cardui both common in Egypt

495 (L)        the cardui origin question [»Vanessa cardui]

495 (L)        cannot remember the exact structural difference between »Neominois and »Hipparchia

495 (L)        [N.] j-album and l-album belong to the same species [»Nymphalis vau-album, »Nymphalis vau-album j-album]

495 (L)        N. antiopa [»Nymphalis antiopa]

496 (L)        »Echinargus isola

496 (L)        Bethune Baker's assigning isola to Hemiargus was a blunder Echinargus isola]

496 (L)        What I call »Plebejinae … consists of 24 genera … I am perfectly willing … to call the group: Plebejus, consisting of 24 subgenera, among which should be »Hemiargus and »Echinargus

497 (L)        my Neonympha maniola [»Cyllopsis pertepida maniola]

497 (L)        dorothea [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

497 (L)        henshawi Edw. (the Northern form of the Mexican pyracmon) [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

497 (L)        the local representative of »Erora laeta and other nice little things

498 (L)        shasta [»Aricia shasta]

498 (L)        »Erora laeta

498 (L)        some of my Neonymphas [see »Neonympha sp. and »Cyllopsis sp.]

501 (L)        sublivens [»Plebejus idas sublivens]

501 (L)        the true smintheus hermodur (Henry »Edwards) [»Parnassius phoebus smintheus, »Parnassius phoebus sayii]

502 (P)       a heavenly sphinx [»Sphingidae, »hawk moths]

513             that »Eupithecia nabokovi McDunnough

513             my blue samuelis [»Plebejus samuelis]

516 (L)        I want to revisit emigdionis, neurona [»Plebejus emigdionis, »Aricia neurona]

519 (L)        the correct genus of this "shasta comstocki" is by the way Icaricia Nabokov, 1944 [»Aricia shasta shasta]

521 (L)        "Nabokov's Wood Nymph" [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

523 (L)        "Nabokov's Wood Nymph" [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

524             Sorted out the »Speyeria I caught in Wyoming

524             rare egleis secreta from the Sierra Madre [»Speyeria egleis secreta]

524             tiny cybele carpenteri from Taos [»Speyeria cybele carpentieri]

524             in search of ferniensis [»Plebejus idas ferniensis]

524             three specimens of damoetas (a prize!) [»Charidryas damoetas]

524             3 Melitea [»Melitaea]

527 (L)        The binding-design »swallowtail lacks antennae

527 (L)        the Galatea Marbled White and the Machaon Swallowtail [»Melanargia galathea, »Papilio machaon]

528 (L)        we had a delightful time with »Pieris virginiensis

528 (L)        where we found a rather wonderful, apparently undescribed, green hairstreak close to M. siva [»Mitoura siva]

529             Nabokov's Wood Nymph [»Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea]

530             the entry on Lycaeides melissa samuelis [»Plebejus samuelis]

531             Such a beautiful fresh specimen! Militaea anicia [»Euphydryas anicia]

531             A dusky-wing Skipper. Common [»Erynnis]

531             He detected a »Hairstreak feeding on a flower

531             He noted a day-flying Peacock moth [»Automeris io]

532             A white Skipper mimicking a Cabbage butterfly [»Heliopetes laviana]

533             Here's a butterfly that's quite rare. You find it here and there in Arizona. Lemonias zeal [»Emesis zela]

533             What protective coloration. »Callophrys … A green Hairstreak not readily identified in the field

534             A Lygdamus female Blue [»Glaucopsyche lygdamus]

534             This one is an Angle Wing. It has a curiously formed letter C [»Polygonia silvius]

535             difference between a Monarch butterfly and a Viceroy [»Danaus plexippus, »Basilarchia archippus]

535             a pregnant White butterfly that came all the way from Ireland by ship [»Pieris rapae]

535             a Nitra Swallowtail [»Papilio zelicaon nitra]

535             Genus »Lycaeides

536             I named it longinus [»Plebejus idas longinus]

537             Just an orange Sulphur [»Colias eurytheme]

538 (L)        I would much prefer you to rename the genus »Pseudothecla Nabokov

538             The »Admirable Anglewing

540             the genitalia of »Sulphurs

540             An extraordinary – and irreplaceable – aberration of the Diana Fritillary [»Speyeria diana]

541             I question whether your butterfly is not a Basilarchia (wiedemeyerii or arthemis) [»Admirable Anglewing]

541             an aberration of Polygonia interrogationis [»Admirable Anglewing]

543             a series of the black-and-white Admirables [»Admirable Anglewing]

544             a mimic of Limenitis arthemis Drury, the White Admirable [»Admirable Anglewing]

544             the Question Mark Anglewing [»Admirable Anglewing]

544             Polygonia interrogationis F. [»Admirable Anglewing]

546 (L)        two subspecies of an interesting Cercyonis (conspecific with behri, paula and masoni) [»Cercyonis sthenele sthenele, »Cercyonis sthenele paulus, »Cercyonis sthenele masoni]

546 (L)        P. emigdionis [»Plebejus emigdionis]

566 (I)        My mother taught me to spread my first »swallowtail, my first »Hawk Moth

569-612     Notes for the "Butterflies in Europe" project, see under »Butterflies of Europe (1963-1965)

618             a marvellous aberration of the Green Fritillary [»Speyeria edwardsii]

618 (L)        spinetorum [»Mitoura spinetorum]

622 (L)        the »Lycaeides genus

622 (L)        a very local Erebia with a golden stripe on black on the underside of its hindwings [»Erebia flavofasciata]

622 (L)        I am far from being a »Pyrgus specialis t

622 (L)        inclined to think malvoides Elw. and Edw. conspecific with graeca Obthr., tutti Verity and malvae L. [»Pyrgus malvae malvoides]

623 (L)        Melitaea … believe that parthenie Borkh. (= "aurelia") is conspecific with britomartis Assm., and… parthenoides ef (= "parthenie") is conspecific with varia H.-S. ..., just as helvetica Ruhl. (= pseudoathalia Rev.) belongs to athalia Rott. [»Mellicta parthenoides, »Mellicta aurelia, »Mellicta varia, »Mellicta britomartis, »Mellicta athalia, »Mellicta athalia var. helvetica]

623 (L)        mnemosyne males [»Driopa mnemosyne]

623 (L)        perfect intergrades between Euph. aurinia Rott. and glaciegenita Vrty (= "merope") [»Euphydryas aurinia, »Euphydryas aurinia debilis]

623 (L)        Bol. aquilonaris Stichel (= "arsilache") [»Boloria aquilonaris]

623 (L)        napaea Hoffmgg. [»Boloria napaea]

623 (L)        pales Schiff. [»Boloria pales]

625 (I)         the very common Meadow Brown [»Maniola jurtina]

640             An interesting pyri? quercus? [»Butterflies in Art]

649 (L)        Moths … are as graceful and often as gaudy as true butterflies. In invitation to a beheading I have a saturnid moth which represents grace and beauty and art at their highest [»Saturnia pyri]. And there is another charming moth in bend sinister (cupped in a girl's hands) [»Smerinthus ocellatus]

681 (L)        the occurrence of Lycaeides samuelis in Illinois … L. melissa melissa [»Plebejus melissa samuelis, »Plebejus melissa melissa]

696 (L)        Dr. Nathaniel »Banks

697 (L)        Dr. »Barbour

698 (L)        his favorite locality for both M. deione berisali and I. iolas in the Valais is just SW of Saillon [»Mellicta deione berisalii, »Iolana iolas]

717 (L)        William »Howe is an admirable illustrator

717 (L)        the name argyrognomon should be replaced everywhere by idas [»Plebejus idas]

717 (L)        The orgy of subspecific puzzles in the North American »Papilio and »Speyeria groups has no counterpart in the European fauna


LETTERS TO VÉRA (London: Penguin, 2014), translated and edited by Olga Voronina and Brian Boyd

34               I have been wandering in the hills, seeking out amazing footpaths, bowing with tenderness, to familiar butterflies ... [18 August 1924, Dobřichovice near Prague]

51               I went to the butterfly shop, received my wonderful »Arctia hebe and argued with the owner about this and that (he thought »Daphnis nerii doesn't occur in Sicily, and I told him that not only does nerii occur there, but so do »livornica and »celerio and even »nicaea. He showed me such wonderful »Aporia crataegi-augusta!) [2 June 1926, Berlin]

51               repinning my butterflies to free space for the »hebe [2 June 1926, Berlin]

64               I chatted ... with the unexpected »Kardakov [8 June 1926, Berlin]

89               You can't describe butterflies that way. What does 'yellow' mean? There are a million shades of yellow. That little one, with black speckles, must be not simply yellow, but orangey-russet, rather like yellow wax for boots. If that's the case, then it belongs to the genus »Brenthis or »Melithea (butterflies with a motley, often nacreous underside). The other one, you write, is white with a yellow piping? I don't know. Describe it in more detail – and in general note a few others too [21 June 1926, Berlin]

97               two weeks ago I brought from the entomological shop a Berlin »Hebe and a couple of Lapland Brenthis borealis [»Speyeria aglaja borealis] (a variety of »pales or »aphirape – I do not know exactly) [24 June 1926, Berlin]

102             my Mothling ... How are your wings and antennae, and all their little spots and silky fluff? [27 June 1926, Berlin]

110             send me ... descrptions of butterflies you have seen [1 July 1926, Berlin]

117             a clothes-moth is skipping over the page: don't you worry, it is not »pellonela or »carpetiella [4 July 1926, Berlin]

117             I forgot to write to you yesterday: the Latin name of the cabbage white – »Pieris brassicae L. (Pieris – is a pierid, brassicae from brassica = cabbage, 'L.' is short for 'Linnaeus', who, in his 'System of Nature', first classified butterflies and gave Latin names to the most widespread) [4 July 1926, Berlin]

124             [Under the outlines of a butterfly with a crossword puzzle inside the forewings] »Crestos lovitza Sirin [next page] Isn't this a nice butterfly? I have struggled with it for two hours straight ... This butterfly has really worn me out [6 July 1926, Berlin]

133             soon the Apollo, »Parnassius apollo L., a large white butterfly with black and red specks – must appear where you are [in St. Blasien, Black Forest, altitude 770 m]. It flies above alpine meadows, its flight sluggish; early in the morning, it can be found sleeping on clover. If you see it – write [9 July 1926, Berlin]

146             The butterfly wings are correct [meaning the crossword butterfly drawing of 6 July 1926] [15 July 1926, Berlin]

151             don't come back without an »Apollo! [18 July 1926, Berlin]

154             will bring the chess and my butterflies [22 December 1926, Prague]

158             I have gorged myself on old issues 0f 'The Entomologist' [12 May 1930, Prague]

159             he [an entomologist] will show me a famous collection of »Papilio at the museum. He caught an absolutely black »podalirius in Podolsk province – a pendant to the black swallowtail in »Püngeler's collection [12 May 1930, Prague]

162             Yesterday I was at the museum, they showed me beautiful collections – of course, not nearly as full as in Berlin, but I cannot say this to the Czechs ... and they have misnamed a lot [17 May 1930, Prague]

162             Fyodorov ... strongly recommends going to Varna, it is extremely cheap there and lots of butts [17 May 1930, Prague]

163             The sea at Varna is marvellous for swimming. We'll catch »Papilio alexanor there [17 May 1930, Prague]

166             [Kipling:] But they both of 'em talked to butterflies When they took their walks abroad [22 May 1930, Prague]

171             Send me ... my article on butterflies [4 April 1932, Prague]

173             I am going with the Raevskys to look at the fresh little collection of butterflies at the museum [7 April 1932, Prague]

177             An aquarelle's hanging on the wall in front of me – The Tsar's Trail between Miskhor and Yalta. Such divine smells there. There I caught a »Libythea celtis for the first time [11 April 1932, Prague]

182             The pupae never hang the way you've drawn them [16 April 1932, Prague]

193             Khodasevich knows a few butterflies: »Antiopa, »Io, »Apollo [24 October 1932, Paris]

198             a very pleasant Russian establishment, Au Papillon bleu [28-29 October 1932, Paris]

227             I want to be in Pau pecisely from February to June, because it corresponds to our stay, in the past, in Le Boulou and Seurat. And for me, you see, it's important to compare on a day-to-day basis the emergence of these or other butterflies in the east of the Pyrenees and the west [21 November 1932, Paris]

249             I went to »Le Cerf at the museum. There, that is, in the wonderfully cosy and for me agonizingly agitating entomological laboratory, they received me with the kind of warmth, to tell the truth, I’d only dreamt of. Le Cerf showed me his latest discovery – still unpublished (the muscle moving the unusual jaws, already noted by »Chapman, of a »Micropteryx pupa and in front the rudimentary third pair of little wings – their tiny casings – a very ancient thing, from Carboniferous times). And a new species of »Ornithoptera, just received, the male of which has on its yellow (hind) wings a remarkable aquamarine sheen, not encountered in a single one of the known species . . . And an aberration of »rumina – a unique specimen from Algiers, without the red spots and laughably like a »Melitaea . . . And a collection of »Parnassians . . . It was great, and if I lived here, I’d come every day and perhaps be set up there like »Kardakov in Dahlem. Just think – Le Cerf worked with »Oberthür [6 February 1936, Paris]

259             they proposed I send the king a copy of ‘Pilgram’, since he’s interested in butterflies [17 February 1936, Brussels]

265             I'd have to rewrite the French 'Pilgram' thoroughly for the Belgian king – I like this rather silly undertaking [21 February 1936, Paris]

290             Lyusya has amassed a collection of three thousand butterflies [= francs] [5 February 1937, Paris]

295             only in the worst case, if nothing at all comes out of the butterflies in London, will we have to settle near Paris [12 February 1937, Paris]

308             Victor ... has now accumulated a hundred and twenty-nine cases of butterflies – from the British fauna [27 February 1937, London]

323             I'll meet you at the station in Toulon along with several »podalirius [15 March 1937, Paris]

328             Incidentally, I am not particularly interested in the butterflies of that department – Var –  since I've already collected there and know them all [20 March 1937, Paris]

336             [Grand Duchess] Maria Pavlovna [of Russia] ... once somewhere she went butterfly hunting with »Avinoff (30 March 1937, Paris]

384             the ceiling [at the Sablins'] is painted with butterflies [3 April 1939, London]

389-390      This morning, I spent two hours at the entomological section of the museum [of Natural History], where the people (whose every line I know from the 'Entomologist') greeted me as one of them, invited me to work there when ans as much as I wish, placed at my disposal all the collections, the whole library (all this is three times bigger and better that at Herring's [»Martin Hering], and I first of all sorted my »Lycaenids out – finding out that my thing (the 'hybrid' race) is completely unknown, although everything is represented there, the '»Coridon' races alone occupy four boxes. (6 April 1939, London)

392             went to the museum [8 April 1939, London]

393             I can't forgive myself for not bringing the butterflies with me – the wooden box. If anyone is coming here – send it to me! If you packed it very softly  and wrote: Très fragile! Very brittle! Papillons! Butterflies! you could easily mail it, too. J'essaye de faire mon petit »Kardakoff. It would be a pity to miss out. [8 April 1939, London]

396             if I go to the museum, it's only when I can't think up any other business at those times) [11 April 1939, London]

397             Her [Mme Chernavin's] husband works at the museum, several corridors away from me [11 April 1939, London]

397             This morning I went to see Evans (a specialist on »Hesperidae), a charming old man who knew Uncle Kostya well from India. We talked about everything, starting with the genitalia of Hesperidae and ending with Hitler. I will see him again the day after tomorrow. How I regret not bringing the (wooden) box with me. [11 April 1939, London]

420             My God, how sickly and madly I crave butterflies. If I have nothing on tomorrow morning, I will drift to the museum [of Natural History], it's around the corner again). [1 June 1929, London]

423             First I called on Capt. »Riley (editor of the 'Entomologist'). He looked at my meladon [= »"Lysandra cormion"] and said 1) it is something quite new 2) the only person who may know something about the question is Stempfer [»Henri Stempffer], who lives in Paris (and with whom Riley, in 1929, had a famous run-in over carswelli-arcilani [»Cupido carswelli], – you remember) 3) that I certainly must publish it in the 'Entom.' and supply photographs of the beauty – normally it would cost me 2 pounds, but it seems I might be able to arrange it for free. Then I went to Brigadier »Evans and for two hours straight he and I sorted out my »Hesperidae, among which, again, there is one unknown, but for many reasons the question is so complicated (Evans himself suspected that yet another species flies with »alveus, as well as »armoricanus and »foulquieri] that I'll have to work there some more. [3 June 1939, London]

424             ARRANGE THE BUTTERFLIES BY MY RETURN. [3 June 1939, London]

425             My love, yesterday morning, of course. I was at the museum, where »Hesperids suck me in (the fascination of butterflies, in general, is like some blessed velvet abyss) [4 June 1939, London]

426             Lots of moths fluttered by [during a Shakespeare open-air performance] [4 June 1929, London]

426             My multi-coloured love, my »Hesperid [5 June 1939, London]

430             Brigadier »Evans (»Hesperids), with whom I've become very friendly since I've been here, gave me an important commission to »Le Cerf in Paris – to bring certain types, which he will need in October, from the Paris museum – since to obtain something from a Frenchman by mail is almost impossible, as we all know. Besides he told me that we are very understaffed here, several collections need to be sorted out – and one should not rule out the possibility that they give me work there when we move. [7 June 1939, London]

431             I need (besides catching butterflies) to write ... I'm dreaming of you and of peace (and of butterflies, ça va sans dire) [7 June 1939, London]

432             I want to go [to southern France?] on the 17th. The 20th at the latest – it's the final limit – since I want to get hold of some first generations. [8 June 1939, London]

437             THANK YOU FOR THE BUTTERFLIES, MY DARLING [10 June 1939, London]

456             I went ... to look at a famous butterfly collection in the private home ... of the collector »Denton – and, indeed, marvellous specimens, but with catastrophic labels and without localities... A charming hilly place rather like Vermont ... but not a single butterfly.  [31 March 1941, Ridgefield, CT]

459             He [Dmitri] spread five butterflies and signed the labels himself [3 August 1942, West Wardsboro, VT]

459             Tell Banks that I miss the museum a lot [3 August 1942, West Wardsboro, VT]

459             These »Arctia virgo flutter in like a Harlequin onto the stage [3 August 1942, West Wardsboro, VT]

461             My sweetheart, a million butterflies and a thousand ovations [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC]

465             having noticed on the brightly lit columns of the façade some very interesting moths, spent about an hour collecting them into a glass with carbona ... In front of the house there is a huge garden ... and masses of butterflies. I caught them there after the lecture, and after breakfast the college biologist ... drove me in her car to the woods –or rather the coppices by the lake, where I caught remarkable »Hesperids and various kinds of »Pierids. Wanted to send my dear Mityushen'ka one of the broadest local Papilio, but they are tattered, so I will send a 'eubule', the most striking butterfly here – I will soak and spread it for him when I get back ... Tomorrow ... [I] will go further afield to collect butterflies. They have one large tailed Hesperid with some peacock fluff on her body – charming. [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC] [»Phoebis sennae eubule]

466             Today after the 'tragedy of tragedy' I went collecting again – and again it was marvellous, and after breakfast presbyterian minister, Smythe, turned up, a passionate butterfly collector and son of the famous lepidopterologist »Smythe whom I know a good deal about (he worked on »Sphingids). The minister and I, both with nets, headed for a new locality miles away and collected till half past four ... I hope that at the next lecture stops there will be as many butterflies – but less hospitality and less whisky on the rocks.  [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC]

467             only when I fight my way through the bushes for some »Thecla do I feel that it was worthwhile coming here [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC]

467             One lady who had been complaining about caterpillars in her garden and whom I told that tailed butterflies would come out of them, replied 'I don't think so. I have never seen them grow wings or anything.' [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC]

467             I want so badly to let in one »Acidalia perched outside on the dark-as-night glass, but the mosquitoes here are Riviera-ish, brutal ... I'll let her in anyway [2-3 October 1942, Hartsville, SC]

468             Yesterday – Sunday – I collected butterflies in the morning [5 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

469             Tell my Miten'ka that one child here calls a 'butterfly' a 'flutter-by'. I am sending him a jewel-like »'vanilla'  [5 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

469             tomorrow I am going with a biologist ... to collect butterflies in the vicinity ... Monday I spent among Cokers and butterflies [7 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

470             too few butterflies here (about 1,000 feet above sea level), I hope that in Valdosta there will be more [11 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

471             when I go after butterflies my trousers and shirt get covered with a green armour: clingy seeds like tiny burdocks [11 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

472             Stuff the boxes that are ready where my Lycaenids are – but to the left of them. I've caught several interesting flies for »Banks [11 October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

472             I am sending Mityushen'ka a wonderful longtailed »Hesperid [12            October 1942, Atlanta, GA]

474             I took out the box I carry with me in case of moths ... he [a sugar producer from Florida] remarked that in such boxes he puts, on excursions ... butterflies. In short, he turned out to be a passionate entomologist, a correspondent of »Comstock's, and so on. It's the second time this has happened to me ... I collected charming butterflies for an hour and a half [14 October 1942, Valdosta, GA]

475             Thank you for going to the museum, my sweetheart. Take up the »Pieridae (»Pieris, »Colias, »Euchloe, and so on ask »Banks) after you have repinned all the »Satyridae [14 October 1942, Valdosta, GA]

476             in the evening told biology students about mimicry ... Collected butterflies ... marvellous palmetto wilds and pine groves where I collected butterflies from ten till two ... a multitude of the most interesting butterflies (among them one »Neonympha) ... This was my best collecting [17-18 October 1942, Valdosta, GA]

477             In spite of the butterflies, I'm missing you horribly [17-18 October 1942, Valdosta, GA]

478             Miss Read ... presented me with a huge print of details from an Egyptian fresco with butterflies, about which I'll write something [20 October 1942, Atlanta, GA] [»Danaus chrysippus, »Butterflies in Art]

479             I had an ideal trip to Chicago and spent an ideal day at the famous local museum (Field Museum). I found my »Neonymphas, showed how they could be reshuffled, chatted and lunched with a very nice entomologist [5 November 1942, Chicago, IL]

480             Got on very well with the director of the State Museum McGregor (really a charming museum with a decent collection of butterflies [7 November 1942, Springfield, IL]

482             In my usual condition, i.e. busy with butterflies, translations, or academic writing, I myself don't fully register the whole grief and bitterness of my situation [of not being able to write a book in Russian] [9 November 1942, St. Paul, MN]

482             by the way there's a heavenly lycaenid in the mountains there [in Morocco] – Vogelii Obthr. [9 November 1942, St. Paul, MN] [»Plebejus vogelii]

482             Saw Moe [in New York City], and it became clear that »Barbour is his closest friend. 'Well, you must be a jolly good man if Tom Barbour took you!' ... [7 December 1942, Farmville, VA]

484             I needed to prepare and draw the genitalia of my »Lysandra cormion, but I found out that together with all other 'types' she had been transferred to the Entomological Institute fifty miles from New York. The next morning (a Saturday) she was brought to me from there, and I worked on her to my heart's content [7 December 1942, Farmville, VA]

497             Sticky heat, butterflies [18 April 1954, Lawrence, KS]

499             Today entomology [20 April 1954, Lawrence, KS]

502             I also received from Minton [head of Putnam] adorable end-papers with a butterfly surprisingly well-hatched on one side and a map of the Nabokovs' lands on the other [2 October 1966, Montreux] [The book was Speak, Memory An Autobiography Revisited, and the butterfly Nabokov had drawn for the endpapers was a Clouded Apollo (»Driopa mnemosyne)]

506             [Gumilyov:] '... And I will die not in a summerhouse, / From gluttony and heat, / But with a heavenly butterfly in my net / On the summit of some wild hill.' [22 July 1969, Cureglia, Ticino]

508             A chilly wind was blowing, but it was sunny and there were lots of butterflies flying. The little local »Euchloe ausonia was skimming over the orange carpet of little wild chrysanthemums [6 April 1970, Taormina, Sicily]

509             a lot of butterflies were flying in gullies and olive groves screened from the wind. I pottered about from eight in the morning till after noon trying to catch various quick-flyers, and have already got some interesting stuff [7 April 1970, Taormina, Sicily]

510             caught one of the most delectable local enchantresses (je m'excuse de ces mots un peu forts], namely, the Thais »Zerynthia hypsipyle cassandra [8 April 1970, Taormina, Sicily]

513             already at an altitude of 700 metres there were no butterflies [10 April 1970, Taormina]


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