It's not about agreeing or not. "recto/verso" are latin terms commonly used in some latin languages (like French) and which have been used in entomology far before d'Abrera, it means "front" and "back" and not "right and left".
There is not going to be any resolution to this as everything I have seen leads me to reject the terms "recto" and "verso" as synonyms of upperside and underside, and obviously some people are equally determined to use them.
Just a couple of final points:
As far as the English language is concerned the OED cannot be wrong as it is the accepted standard reference work.
The way I read the Wikipedia entry confirms my thoughts; a butterfly is hinged at the thorax like a book, so whether you read left to right or right to left, when viewed dorsally one side of the wing has to be "recto" and the other "verso".
I can't find any authoritative references to the terms pre-D'Abrera.
Bob, do you use only terms and words included in the OED in your books and papers ? (I have no access to the famous OED to make a test).
For my part I used terms and words that are not included in one of the 2 reference dictionnaries for French (Larousse and Robert), including latin ones and some english ones.
Scientific papers are not exactly what can be considered as reference litterature for a language such as books and journals used by the Academy for working. We use an alive language that moves, and any new words has been used "illegally" before being introduced in dictionnaries.
s'il n'y pas de solution c'est qu'il n'y a pas de problème ! akuna matata ....
Ah, dorsal/ventral, right/left, front/back, upperside/underside, verso/recto-i don't like the last one as reminds me rather the last part of our digesting system. I would stick with upper/underside which is the least confusing, but which part of the butterfly is actually upperside and underside? I think we should consider how actually a butterfly flays so the top will be the upperside. If we look at the spread specimen the underside will be the side facing the bottom of the drawer no matter which side is up. Now hopefully I confused everyone to the point that we can drop the subject and move on.
There's no point in discussing it further as people will use whatever terms they want. I just don't like recto/verso, which may or may not be rational. It's probably at least in part an aversion to anything "D'Abrera".
It's probably at least in part an aversion to anything "D'Abrera".
You mean "d'Abrera" I know he was bothered when people (and sometimes even his editors) put a capital D, in his name. In Italian, as in French, the aristocratic "de" (the equivalent of "van" in Dutch, "von" in German) never takes a capital letter. As in d'Urville or de Gaulle.
I find it amusing that controversy and discussion are still revolving around things d'Abrera has said.
it is not the question of D'Abrera. For us the use of recto / verso is far before D'Abrera and completely justified, and to be honnest, I never thought a such use can be controverse. I doubt that D'Abrera descriptions were used as model of description by any descriptor.
The actual contribution of D'Abrera to lepidopterology must be sought in access to images that have succeeded vocations or interest for many collectors. The controversy concerns his philosophical choices and the use he made of them in the discipline and the unscientific / non-rigorous quality of his (pseudo) scientific work.
He is not the first, and certainly not the last, to succeed in such a controversy.
Such a polemic is significant of the impact, whatever it is, that he had on our generation.
ps : in the front of most of his books, it is D'abrera with D
John Tennent sent me a pdf of an obituary, and said I can post it anywhere I like, so I am copying and pasting the text here:
John Tennent remembers Bernard Laurance D’Abrera (latterly d’Abrera) 28th August 1940 – 13th January 2017 It may seem odd for me to pen an obituary for Bernard D’Abrera, since his personal attacks on me in the eccentric introductions to some of his recent books were frequent and varied. The truth is that despite his many faults, I bore him no particular ill-will, and felt some sympathy for the demons that clearly plagued his later life.
I bought the first volume of his series of Butterflies of the World (Butterflies of the Australian Region) in a bookshop in Scarborough in 1971, days before I was posted for a tour of duty in Hong Kong. Judged by the standards of the time, the pictures were outstanding, and that first volume significantly influenced my life; it was instrumental in my interest in southwestern Pacific butterflies decades later. I paid £20.00 for that first volume and purchased some of the subsequent volumes in the series as they were published, despite some dramatic price increases.
D’Abrera and I first met in the bowels of what was then the British Museum (Natural History), now the Natural History Museum, in London, in about 1990, following my retirement. We had much in common, and became friends, insofar as one could be a friend of his, since relationships were invariably – latterly always – on his terms. But we muddled along quite happily, and shared a lunch in each other’s house on more than one occasion. Bernard was an accomplished and amusing raconteur, with a great sense of humour, and it was possible in those days to overlook the rather disturbing fact that so many of his stories included verbal attacks on well-known and respected entomologists and biologists. I was able to purchase further volumes of his world butterfly series at a significant discount through the Museum, something which apparently irritated him a lot (he preferred cash in hand), and it was perhaps around this time, in the mid-1990s, that his famous eccentricity began to develop a venomous edge. This may have coincided with evolution of his creationist views, for which he became infamous.
Bernard could be very generous, and I was both flattered and delighted when he offered to publish my first book, on North African butterflies, through his own publisher in Australia, although our brief publishing association was to end badly. We fell out one day shortly after I saw the first very slim volume of his planned three saturniid volumes for the first time. As we left the Museum together I asked him why he hadn’t published everything together in one volume, and was immediately treated to one of the explosive tirades for which he was already renowned. Our relationship foundered permanently when he left a series of highly offensive messages on my home answerphone that evening. He also put me to considerable expense and inconvenience in retrieving my own plate photographs for my North African book from his Australian publisher, threatening to sue me for … well, it was never clear what: the first of many such threats which were certainly full of sound and fury, signifying very little. His own recollection of that event described in the introduction to his most recent volume (Butterflies of the Neotropical Region 1, 2nd edition: page 245) as “historical fact”, is pure fantasy. It was never clear whether D’Abrera believed his own creative inventions, but there was certainly something of the Walter Mitty about him.
It would be tedious to embark on a catalogue of the many occasions when Bernard and I did not see eye to eye, but I must admit to an element of childish pleasure in deliberately provoking him occasionally; for example, shortly after the frankly ridiculous debacle outlined above, I used (in his absence) the Museum telephone on a visitors bench he used more-or-less permanently in the basement of the Museum; the following morning I found myself the focus of a formal complaint that I had used “his” telephone, a complaint based on the fact that the receiver was the “wrong way round” and that I must have been the guilty party. This was arrant nonsense, but I confess that when I subsequently passed “his” bench and found it empty, I would often turn the telephone receiver around and stroll away … action which eventually earned me a patient reprimand from the head of department who explained that although it was quite amusing, the stream of complaints from D’Abrera was very wearing, and would I please desist.
D’Abrera was vexed that he was never given a formal position in the Museum (i.e. Scientific Associate), but the reason was straightforward. He absolutely refused to submit his work to peer review, with the predictable result that his books contain numerous errors, many of which would have been easily identified and resolved even if he had only asked someone to give them the ‘once-over’. His innate pomposity, combined with an ego of monumental proportions, resulted in the fact that even major errors were – so far as I can see – rarely if ever corrected in subsequent editions of the same book, even over a period of decades.
Colleagues were moved to despair with D’Abrera’s attitude and errors, and yet his legacy is substantial – many of those who decry his work have his volumes on their shelves, and I am no exception. Perhaps a huge ego was helpful in his belief that it was even possible for one man to document all of the world’s butterflies. D’Abrera’s creationist views and associated spiteful ramblings and caustic criticisms of others in his more recent books became longer and more frequent, leaving him open to widespread ridicule; if his energies and intellect had been directed instead at the job in hand, the entomological world would have been a more comfortable place.
Bernard D’Abrera thought much of himself, and saw no reason for humility; but he also thought highly of the work of our most famous bard, William Shakespeare. At the end of D’Abrera’s life, Shakespeare’s words from Macbeth seem disconcertingly appropriate:
“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
Shakespeare Macbeth, on being told of the Queen’s death (Act 5, Scene 5)
John Tennent London 1st February 2017
(Published in Entomological Society of Queensland News Bulletin, 44(9), Jan/Feb 2017)