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Nabokov, Naturally

Friday, March 15, 2024 at 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Mann Library, Lobby, CALS Zone, Mann 102
Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Vladimir Nabokov's legacy at Cornell is not limited to the world-famous literary works he produced here. The university's natural and built environments also provided powerful material for his lifelong pursuit of butterflies within their geo- and biodiverse ecosystems.

Our one-day event will offer hands-on ways to discover Nabokov through his butterfly collection, his writing and other relics of his time at Cornell contained in the university’s Rare and Manuscript Collection and the Cornell University Insect Collection. We’ll discuss his scientific, literary and artistic pursuits.

This event is a collaboration between the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mann Library and is part of the A&S Arts Unplugged series, which brings research and creative works into the public sphere for discussion and inspiration.

During the event, you can:

  • Take a close look at Nabokov’s butterfly collection;
  • Watch a video exploring the many ways that Nabokov’s legacy is alive today, both on campus and throughout the country, through such policies as the Endangered Species Act;
  • Visit a new Mann Library exhibit on Nabokov;
  • Discover new information about Nabokov the professor, uncovered by Cornell students involved in the “Nabokov, Naturally” class;
  • See Nabokov manuscripts and poems;
  • Talk with faculty, students and Nabokov experts from across the country;
  • Stretch your creative wings by contributing to a giant multimedia art piece. Create your own butterfly with the help of entomologist/artist Annika Salzberg using both traditional and non-traditional materials.
  • Visit a new exhibit in the Mann Lobby, No Mere Curios, featuring images from historical butterfly books from Mann Library’s special collections, which were also part of Nabokov's childhood library.


1-2 p.m.: Student project exhibit and bio-art workshop in CALS Zone next to Mann Library entrance

2-3:30 p.m.: Panel, discussion, and public dialogue in Mann 102, "The Butterfly Effect: Vladimir Nabokov as Scientist and Artist," featuring 

Anindita Banerjee, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and the Environment and Sustainability Program

Corrie Moreau, Martha N. & John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity and Director & Curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection

Jose Manuel Prieto, Novelist and Associate Professor of Spanish, Seton Hall University

Katherine Reagan, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Cornell Libraries

Jenny Leijonhufvud, Exhibits Curator, Albert R. Mann Library

Anurag Agrawal, James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Jenifer Presto, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Oregon 

With introductory remarks by Rachel Bean, interim dean of The College of Arts & Sciences

1-4 p.m.: Book sale and signing in Mann Lobby/ CALS Zone

All day: Mann Library 2nd floor exhibit, “From Nabokov’s Net,” open for viewing

All day: eCornell film "Nabokov, Naturally" showing in CALS Zone

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Exhibit, Food/Catering, Panel Discussion, Special Event, Student Events Newsletter, Exhibition


Mann Library, Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, English, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Comparative Literature, Environment and Sustainability

University Themes

Public Engagement, Sustainability


cascal, casfeatured, cashum, engl




Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Kathy Hovis

Contact Phone


Disability Access Information

Please reach out to Kathy Hovis at if you need accommodations to attend this event.

Registration Status

Free and open to the public

Open To


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