Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005190, Thu, 22 Jun 2000 08:32:09 -0700

A lumper/splitter connection? (fwd)
From: Kurt Johnson <belina@dellnet.com>

Regarding this post in May, its interesting that Rodney Welch, in an
intriguing June review of the three books Nabokov's Blues, Nabokov's
Butterflies, and Boyd on Pale Fire (for the Free Times of Columbia, S.C.,
also available at their website [ post a request on N on Line for the URL if
you like, I don't have it handy off the top of my head] ) settled on the

"A Splitter's Progress"

The tack was insightful since much of the jest of Rodney's review had to do
with the complexities in Nabokov's literature AND science and how one, as a
student of Nabokov, ferrets these out.

Kurt Johnson

----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson <chtodel@GTE.net>
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2000 7:52 PM
Subject: Fw: A lumper/splitter connection?

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kurt Johnson" <belina@dellnet.com>
> >
> > ---------------- Message requiring your approval (237
> lines) ------------------
> > Re the recent discussion of "generalities" in Nabokov's science and art,
> > Jennifer Parsons suggested on NYTimes.com Nabokov forum today the
> following:
> >
> > She was taking her cue from the Chapter "Lumpers and Splitters" in
> Nabokov's
> > Blues, a chapter which is woven around the fascinating meaning(s) those
> two
> > colloquialisms hold in scientific systematics and taxonomy--
> >
> > "'As far as Nabokov being a "splitter" rather than a "lumper" goes,
> is
> > definite connection here to his art: he was always more interested in
> > differences between things, and people - than the things they had in
> > common - though he did love and love to write about the natural
> occurrences
> > of highly unlikely coincidences, paralleled perhaps in nature by
> "mimesis" -
> > at any rate, he was most definitely a "splitter" in his art just as he
> > in his science."
> >
> > I post this here because it is honestly a possible connection I had
> > thought of. I find it an interesting notion given that the "lumper"
> > "splitter" distinction is such a gravamen in science and re Nabokov's
> > reputation in systematics. The possible significance may not be
> > right away to persons not familiar to those words from scientific jargon
> but
> > for those who know the latitudes and longitudes of "lumping and
> > there may well be something of interest here.
> >
> > Kurt Johnson
> >
> >
> >
> >