VN Alexander at the Claverack Library June 24

meatshieldPropaganda & Art: How we think when we aren’t using logic

We have been hearing a lot about “fake news” and “propaganda” lately, and it is as important as ever to use our critical thinking skills. But we also need to understand how propaganda works and why it is so difficult to counteract with logic. Propaganda takes advantage of the way our brains function when we are not paying attention. When we are paying attention our analytical skills are engaged.  When we are not, our brains go on processing information in a non-analytical way, using what might be called a poetic logic, based mainly upon similarities, coincidental patterns, associations, repetition, and emotion. There are sound biological reasons for this mindless type of processing, which actually helps us learn faster, retain memories longer, and make appropriate decisions without really thinking.

In this presentation, we will explore how and why art and poetry may actually be more helpful in developing critical thinking skills.  Art also works with the poetic logic of subconscious processing, but does so in a way that is not manipulative, deceptive or dishonest.

V. N. Alexander, PhD is Public Scholar with Humanities New York. She is a noted researcher in the field of biosemiotics, facilitating interactions between art and science, and a novelist whose most recent work is Locus Amoenus, a political satire set in upstate New York.


A Florilegium for Angus Fletcher, Los Angeles Review of Books

By Kenneth Gross, Lindsay Waters, V. N. Alexander, Paul Auster, Harold Bloom, Stanley Fish, K. J. Knoespel, Mitchell Meltzer, Victoria Nelson, Joan Richardson, Dorion Sagan, Susan Stewart, Eric Wilson, Michael Wood

Terrordise nominated for TheModCon London Film Festival

laurel-nominatedTerrordise, a dark comedy by V. N. Alexander has been nominated for Best Screenplay  in TheModCom London Film Festival.

Synopsis: The Schwartz-Johnson family can’t wait to get to their new home in Paradise, a high-security gated community in Dallas, Texas. They are willing to sacrifice privacy for the ultimate in safety against any kind of terror threat –until Mr. & Mrs. Schwartz-Johnson are accused of terrorism themselves.

TheModCon London Film Festival aims to “promote and recognize those that have walked the extra mile and shown commitment to the international community to inspire others to take action in solving some of the many conflicts we face today.”

V.N. Alexander is a fan of Wes Anderson and Monty Python, and counts Napoleon Dynamite by Jared Hess and Canadian Bacon by Micheal Moore among her favorite comedy films.

Find out more about “Terrodise” here.

2016 Top 20: Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art

The Book/Arts blog of the prestigious journal Nature has included Fine Lines in its top 20 book list for 2016.



Fine Lines was also review in Doppiozero in Italy, Haibun in Romania, and science and art blog, and made the top 20 list







My Mimicry Research Translated into French: Papillons et feuilles mortes

fabulaimg-2“Butterflies and dead leaves: A Biosemiotic Approach to Nabokov’s Theory of Mimicry,” based on VN Alexander’s lecture at “Living Matter / Literary Forms”, organized at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in April 2013  by Liliane Campos, Yasna Bozhkova and Pierre-Louis Patoine. Text translated by Pierre–Louis Patoine.

Vladimir Nabokov n’a pas publié que des romans. On compte aussi à son actif plusieurs articles à propos des papillons, publiés par des journaux scientifiques. Au cours des années 1940, Nabokov est conservateur pour la section sur les papillons du Musée de zoologie comparée de l’université Harvard, et il développe une théorie – que peu prennent au sérieux à l’époque – à propos d’un groupe de papillons connu sous le nom d’Argus (Blues). Il croyait en effet que ceux‑ci avaient migré d’Europe aux Amériques via le détroit de Béring, en vagues successives, sur une période d’une dizaine de millions d’années. Cette théorie se révélera étonnamment juste, comme le démontrent en 2011 Roger Vila et son équipe, grâce au séquençage génétique. C’est cependant sans accès à l’information génétique que Nabokov formule son hypothèse. Il observe simplement le résultat de l’action des gènes et les variations structurelles différenciant un spécimen d’un autre. Ces observations lui donnent une compréhension intuitive de ce qui se passe au niveau des nucléotides (éléments de base de l’ADN), comme s’il avait pu visualiser l’image animée du développement de l’organisme et de l’évolution de l’espèce. Nabokov : une imagination magistrale, nourrie par une observation intensive. Nabokov comprenait bien les processus créatifs, le travail de cet « autre V. N., la visible nature ». Se reconnaissant dans la nature, et la reconnaissant en  More…