Butterflies were more than just a symbol in Lolita; they were also Vladimir Nabokov’s lifelong passion. At Nautilus, Mary Ellen Hannibal traces Nabokov’s butterfly obsession, which eventually resulted in the writer publishing 18 papers on lepidoptery.
It’s hard to get a better glimpse of the postwar white male American writer than the essays of William Styron. In My Generation, a new book of collected nonfiction, Styron writes about a raft of his contemporaries, including but not limited to Philip Roth, James Baldwin and Truman Capote. In the NYT, Charles Johnson reviews the collection. You could also read Alexander Nazaryan on a book by Styron’s daughter.
Writers have long been attracted to duels, if only because, for the most part, they offer an easy way to ramp up the conflict in a story. At Page-Turner, James Guida takes a look at their enduring relevance, with reference to the history of the duel in Europe. Pair with: our own Nick Moran on duels in Russian literature.
Next week, the folks at Literary Death Match are bringing literature into the third dimension by staging “LDM TV: The Pilot.” Two shows consisting of four readers apiece will take place in Los Angeles, and performances will be judged by a killer lineup including such notables as Susan Orlean, Michael C. Hall, Moby and Tig Notaro. Full event details can be found here. For what it’s worth, I still rank Matt Gajewski’s LDM performance as my all-time favorite, so Beau Sia, Simon Rich, Daniel Alarcón and company have their work cut out for them.
We already knew that Haruki Murakami was a writer and runner but a former jazz club owner, too? Aaron Gilbreath visited Murakami’s 1970s jazz club, Peter Cat, and found “a drab three-story cement building. Outside, a first-floor, a restaurant had set up a sampuru display of plastic foods.” For more Murakami, read our review of 1Q84.