Lawrence Weschler at Wondercabinet:
Perhaps, to begin with, a remark by Nabokov—always a good place to start—who at the time was laying out the requisites for being a good novelist, though, for our purposes we might think of these as the requirements for being fully alive. But listen to him closely, because it’s the opposite of how we usually think of these things: “The true master,” he says, “requires, the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.” The precision of a poet—and the imagination of a scientist.
Keep in mind, of course, that in some precincts, Nabokov was every bit as famous a scientist as he was a writer. A lepidopterist, to be exact, who once surprised his Italian publisher Roberto Calasso by telling him that he’d never been to Venice. “Good Lord,” asked Calasso. “Why ever not?” To which Nabokov answered, self-evidently, “No butterflies.”