Brian Boyd

Belfast, Ireland

Brian Boyd (b.1952) is known primarily as an expert on the life and works of author Vladimir Nabokov and on literature and evolution. He is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

In 1979, after Boyd completed a PhD at the University of Toronto with a dissertation on Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle , he took up a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Auckland (appointed as lecturer in English in 1980). Also in 1979, Nabokov’s widow, Véra, invited Boyd to catalog her husband's archives, a task which he completed in 1981.

While Nabokov’s Ada: The Place of Consciousness (1985; rev. 2001), was considered as "an instant classic," Vladimir Nabokov: The

Average rating: 4.21 · 3,101 ratings · 340 reviews · 51 distinct worksSimilar authors
Vladimir Nabokov: The Russi...

4.32 avg rating — 479 ratings — published 1990 — 9 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
On the Origin of Stories: E...

3.85 avg rating — 363 ratings — published 2009 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The American Years

4.32 avg rating — 278 ratings — published 1991 — 9 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Nabokov's Pale Fire: The Ma...

4.22 avg rating — 193 ratings — published 1999 — 9 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Stalking Nabokov: Selected ...

3.82 avg rating — 44 ratings — published 2011 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Nabokov's ADA: The Place of...

4.39 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 1985 — 5 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
U2 Experience

4.19 avg rating — 21 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Evolution, Literature, and ...

4.13 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2010 — 2 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Why Lyrics Last: Evolution,...

3.78 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2012 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Inside The Blf: A Union Sel...

3.33 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 1991
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by Brian Boyd…
Vladimir Nabokov: The Russi... The American Years
(2 books)
4.32 avg rating — 757 ratings

Upcoming Events

No scheduled events. Add an event.

What surprises you in life?

...the marvel of consciousness- that sudden window swinging open on a sunlit landscape amidst the night of non-being.”
Brian Boyd, Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years

“Writing of Pushkin, Nabokov once observed quite accurately that his subject was the threefold formula of human life: the irretrievability of the past, the insatiability of the present, and the unforeseeability of the future.”
Brian Boyd, The American Years

“Whenever a noise exceeds our processing abilities—we can’t
decipher all the different sound waves hitting our hair cells—
the mind . . . stops trying to understand the individual notes
and seeks instead to understand the relationships between the
notes. The human auditory cortex pulls off this feat by using
it's short- term memory for sound (in the left posterior hemisphere) to uncover patterns at the large level of the phrase,
motif, and movement. This new approximation lets us extract order from all those notes haphazardly ͒flying through
space, and the brain is obsessed with order . . .
It is this psychological instinct—this desperate neuronal
search for a pattern, any pattern, that is the source of music . . . We continually abstract on our own inputs, inventing
patterns in order to keep pace with the onrush of noise. And
once the brain ͒finds a pattern, it immediately starts to make
predictions . . . It projects imaginary order into the future . . .
The structure of music reflects the human brain’s penchant for patterns . . . But before a pattern can be desired by
the brain, that pattern must play hard to get”
Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
The Book Challenge: Inna's 200 in 2010 67 720 Apr 09, 2010 02:52PM  
Imprinted Life: Nabokov's Speak, Memory: Tell me more... 10 16 Nov 19, 2012 06:13PM  
The Kindred Spirits: * Dear Kindred 4201 262 Jun 17, 2013 02:34AM  
McCaffery 20th Ce...: November 2016 - Vladimir Nabokov - The Author 10 10 Nov 22, 2016 06:44PM  
Catching up on Cl...: Pale Fire -- No Spoilers 26 76 Aug 02, 2019 11:50AM  
Reading with Style: This topic has been closed to new comments. Completed Tasks 877 57 Dec 01, 2019 06:02AM  

Is this you? Let us know. If not, help out and invite Brian to Goodreads.