Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Our Friends Over At OPEN CULTURE...

What does a high school English and History teacher in a foreign land dream of when he is not teaching to his audience or *unaudience* for that matter - hmm?

He dreams of one day being vindicated - like Russian authors were.

Russian authors like Nabokov.

Matthias Rascher is German and must have either a fixation on getting something difficult published in the classic sense - or he has a huge one on pubescent girls too. Lolitas being less and less fascinating these days, I wager that it is the former rather than the latter that afflicts him - like so many other authors out there, verily. And so he idolizes Vladimir Nabokov for his obvious accomplishments - even those that are post-mortem indeed. For Nabokov had quite a tough time convincing someone to pick up his Lolita for publication. It is safe to assess that no one ever received such rejection letters as he did. And he had a tough time in other areas as well... Did you know that Nabokov's "day job" was being the curator of lepidoptera at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology? That had him thinking of other things than just lolitas; indeed, in his obsession, he sort of crossed them over and had both lolitas and butterflies occupying his every waking moments - and maybe his dreams too. He did not say much about his dreams, mind you: only that they were vastly different from what Freud spoke of. But that does not say much, nor is it all that relevant here...

As the curator of lepidoptera at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, Nabokov elaborated a theory concerning butterfly migration that stood out from the previous beaten ground in that field. Biologists flat out ignored his ideas on the subject, back then. But, these days, genetic research has come and vindicated him quite spectacularly - as you can read here. And so the author was not only a misunderstood wordsmith; he was also an underrated scientific thinker.

And he got the last laugh in both cases.
No wonder he's an inspiration to Rascher - and to so many others as well.

The results of these triumphs over adversity were amusing to the main party involved, years later especially. Watch as he admires various odd editions of the book no one wanted to publish, at first:

The harshest pre-publication literary review it ever got suggested the book "be buried under a stone for a thousand years," nothing less!

How many agents, editors, leeches and preditors have sent you away with your writing with thinly-veiled similar sentiments, hmm?

What do they know - indeed.

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