RSGwynn: I think by "bimanist" Shade means simply that he
holds his Gillette razor with both hands while shaving. I remember those
"double-edge" razors, and they were not what is now called "ergonomically
JM: Makes sense when
we consider the "non-ergonomic" characteristic of this kind of
razor-blade to understand "bimanist" as indicating the act of wielding
the apparatus with both hands (alternatively, of course).
I don't know
how familiar Nabokov would have been with the slang word "gilette"
("double-edge"), applied to bisexuality in some countries.
Matt Roth: forgot to add one more
important connection between Shade and Kinbote/Botkin. While Kinbote imagines
himself to be King Charles on the lam, Shade twice imagines himself as
royalty in "Pale Fire" (l. 605 & l.894). In the second of these (Sit
like a king there, and like Marat bleed) he uses a dissociated perspective to
imagine himself both as a king and as the victim of an assassin--the exact
scenario envisioned by Kinbote. Surely VN wanted us to notice the coincidence.
We then must ask why, and to what end.
observation about the "coincidence" when Shade, after imagining himself as
royalty, dissociates the perspective ( unlike what takes place
in "Despair," but a comparison may come in useful, considering
Shade's "splits" ...), to find himself simultaneously as king and
victim ( particularly Marat, who suffered from psoriasis and collected
butterflies). And yet, what kind of royalty did Shade have in mind and "why, and
to what end" (besides the parallel which you pointed