NABOKV-L post 0000710, Fri, 8 Sep 1995 09:01:26 -0700

Re: VN "Razor"-burn (fwd)
EDITORIAL NOTE: Below is Galya Diment's response to David Slavitt message
which follows. Now that I think of it, there are a good many "shaving"
references in the work of the master. A dissertation? At least a NABOKV-L
From: Galya Diment <>
Subject: Re: VN Bibliography: "Razor" (fwd)

It is Shade who describes the process in Canto 4 (soon before he tells us
that he loathes "such things as jazz" which is one case where Nabokov
strikes a wrong chord, so to say, with me as a reader). I always
had hard time relating to this passage, since I never experienced it
first-hand, but the process does sound painful, especially shaving his
Adam's apple which is "a prickly pear." It is actually ten strokes for,
as he says, "Nine strokes are not enough." I particularly like the line
where, with his shaving mirror before his face, Shade says "he'd/Sit like
a King there, and like Marat bleed." But that was probably in
pre-Wilkinson time! All that is very vivid in my mind -- and that is why
I am responding to your message -- because I just re-read Pale Fire in
connection with my Pnin book.

Galya Diment
On Thu, 7 Sep 1995, Donald Barton Johnson wrote:

> EDITORIAL NOTE: David R. Slavitt, author of the note below (and of 50
> books), was an arts editor at NEWSWEEK in the sixties. The item makes a
> charming addendum to his account of his meetings with Nabokov that ran on
> NABOKV-L some time ago. He is also the author of the unsigned NEWSWEEK
> cover story on VN that appeared in NEWSWEEK upon the 1962 publication of
> PALE FIRE and release of Kubrick's film LOLITA.
> -----------------------------------------------------
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Good to hear about "Razor," which I look forward to reading next
> time I get a haircut. I remember that Wilkinson Sword Razor blades had
> just come on the market and VN loved them. Couldn't get them in
> Switzerland. Was very eager to buy up a large supply in NYC to take back
> with him. And he made some odd remark about how impossible it was to shave
> the way Shade does -- or is in Kinbote? -- in Pale Fire. (In about six
> long strokes, as I remember.) He found it amusing to imagine that readers
> might try it.
> **********************************
> David R. Slavitt
> TEL:(215) 382-3994 FAX: 382-8837