him. Thus, Edmund Wilson, who was Nabokov’s truenfriend till the publication of Lolita catapulted Nabokov intonstardom and wealth, presented him with a copy of To thenFinland Station with the inscription: “To Vladimir Nabokovnin the hope that this may make him think better of Lenin.”nWith Nabokov, however, such hopes were bound to fail.nNabokov never truly belonged to the place he lived. Henwas always a foreigner. But he was a foreigner in the bestnsense of the word. He was a learned, elegant European fornthe Americans, an intriguing, mysterious Russian for thenEuropeans, and he was (and still is!) that romantic, pioneeringnAmerican for the Russians. He was that kind of anforeigner upon whom the natives look with the feeling ofnadmiration and slight envy. They look at him with envynbecause they know he was there, where they could nevernhope to be, and he knew that which they could never hopento know.nNabokov often signed his books and his letters with a littlendrawing of a butterfly. For someone else such a habit wouldnhave been a pretentious pose — for Nabokov it was anheartfelt gesture.nPeople who met him often mentioned the amazingnchildishness of his expressions. It was because Nabokov, tillnthe end of his days, remained essentially that same vigorousnand brilliant little boy for whom his parents created anparadise of a childhood which he never wanted to leave.nAfter all, what was this — his hobby, his love, his obsessionnwith chasing butterflies all over the world? Crisp, bluenmountains, lush meadows, and multicolored butterfliesnfluttering over your head. It is childhood in the best of itsnmanifestations. It is paradise condensed into the image ofnangels dancing on the tip of a needle.nNabokov was a world authority on lycaenidal butterflies.nhis particular specialty being butterflies’ genitalia, and henwould spend hours vivisecting and examining them—thesentiny sclerotic particles—for his scientific papers. And withnthe same perfect detachment, clinical sterility, and amusedninterest with which he examined butterflies’ sexual organs,nhe analyzed the sexual mores of contemporary man. This isnwhy all the seemingly explicit passages in his novels (includingnLolita and Ada) are so “clean” and absolutely nonpornographic.nIn addition, because of Nabokov’s sense ofnhumor and his strong distaste for Freud, in Lolita, forninstance, the Freudian thesis of fathers wanting to sleep withntheir daughters, as F.W. Dupee perceptively observed,n”ridiculed itself out of existence.”nIn his life Nabokov was guided by a simple principle,nwhich, once again, he formulated in a letter.n”I have reached the original conclusion that if onenperforms at least one good act per day (even if it is nothingnmore than giving one’s place to an elderly person on thentram) life becomes exceedingly more pleasant. In the finalnanalysis everything in the world is very simple and foundednupon two or three not very complicated truths.”nSo who was Vladimir Nabokov? One of the greatestnwriters who ever lived? Probably not. But a brilliant manninfinitely fascinated with linguistic riddles and “chess problems”;na curious lepidopterist who studied men and theirnidiosyncrasies the same way he studied butterflies under thenmagnifying glass of his microscope; a profound thinkernforever puzzled by many intellectuals’ infatuation withntotalitarian regimes; and a highly sensitive writer whonunderstood human follies and who was often willing tonforgive them — all these and more, he most definitely was.nAs ^oes (he American Eamily,nso ^oes our naflon.nThe strength and resilience of the American as, each month, its editors grapple with hinda-nFamily is quite simply the single greatest asset mental issues affecting your family’s future,nour nation possesses. , , , , „nLong battered, neglected, maligned, and Each month, The Family m America wiU:ndivided, the American Family’s regeneration as a . joust witli the bureaucrats and martinets who muddlenpowerful center for values, achievement, and public policy affecting the American Family;nfulfillment is an unmistakable signal: a good • expose governmental tinkering and doublespeak onnidea whose time has come. Again. family issues;n_,, , , 1 1 . . . 1 . ,. • probe the underlying statistics and trends running innThats why ^new pubhcahon is chronicling f^,„^ „f family- and against it;nevents, floodlighting the issues, debunking the . ,^^^^| ,^6 works and exceptional research of today’snbureaucrats and social experimenters, and best and brightest scholars, writers, educators.ntalking common sense.nThis monthly publication is called raefiaw//)/ If you think it’s important to be informednin America. about the forces that may affect the health andnShocking. Provocative. Eye-opening. Com- well-being of your family now and in the yearsnbative. Thoughtful. And, when necessary, ahead, the choice is a simple one.noutrageous. Take pen in hand, and subscribe now,nThe Family in America is all this and more Request your subscription-today.nrnFor fast ordering callntoll free (800) 892-0753 ILn(800) 435-0715 Outside ILnThe Family in AmericanABSOLUTELY “YES!” Count me in!n• Yes! 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