What species is Eustace Tilley’s butterfly?
Back in May 2009 I posited the suggestion that Tilley’s nameless butterfly, which to me symbolizes creative inspiration, is a
Clouded Sulphur, whose scientific name is Colias philodice. The Clouded Sulphur’s range includes New York. Is it possible Rea Irvin had a specific butterfly in mind?
Perhaps not. Tilley’s Butterfly, of course, is a symbol rather than a literal depiction of a specific butterfly species, but it’s fun to play the amateur lepidopterist.
What do you think?
At Emdashes we like to speculate and theorize about things like this. It gives us wings. If any professional lepidopterists are reading this, we’d also love for you to share your thoughts.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a small army of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Looking for The New Yorker magazine? Kudos on your classy taste. Here’s how to contact The New Yorker.
The original Emdashes pencil logo was designed by Jennifer Hadley, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.