On Sep 27, 2010, at 11:01 AM, Matthew Roth wrote:

Another Botkin problem: if Kinbote is an alternative personality of V. Botkin, why is he so clearly a mirror opposite (and sometimes analog) of John Shade?

alt: Why does Botkin construct Kinbote, his avatar of commentary, as the opposite, more or less, of Shade?
If this be allegory does this make Kinbote the anti-writer, the necessary commentator, wannabe...?

The Shade/Kinbote dichotomy includes the following oppostitions and analogs...:

The Shade/Kinbote [reworked a little]


live across the lane from one another


born on the same day,

wives resemble each other,

both seem to be experts on Pope, etc...

 other phenotypes:

the Walrus / and the Carpenter,
Don Quixote and Sancho?
Mutt and Jeff?

[Kinbote] came to New Wye at same time as John Shade's attack,

This resembles a doppelg舅ger allegory:
Death comes when the half-twins meet!

Shade and Kinbote comported together from early February to mid-July.

A Gradus itinerary linked to commentary: [not really needed for the argument, but thought it might be useful]

Foreword: John Shade's heart attack (Oct. 17, 1958) practically coincided with the disguised king's arrival in America..
Never shall I forget how elated I was upon learning, as mentioned in a note my read shall find, that the suburban house (rented for my use from Judge Goldsworth who had gone on his Sabbatical to England) into which I moved on 
February 5, 1959, stood next to that of the celebrated American poet whose verses I had tried to put into Zemblan two decades earlier!

Foreword: The poem was begun at the dead center of the year, a few minutes after midnight July 1, while I played chess with a young Iranian enrolled in our summer school; and I do not doubt that our poet would have understood his annotator's temptations to synchronize a certain fateful fact, the departure from Zembla of the would-be regicide Gradus, with that date. Actually, Gradus left Onhava on the Copenhagen plane on July 5.

Foreword: Canto One was begun in the small hours of July 2 and completed on July 4. 

A great conspiracy(171): We place this fatidic moment at 0:05, July 2, 1959--which happens to be also the date upon which an innocent poet penned the first lines of his last poem.

five minutes were equal to forty ounces(120-1): On the day (July 4) John Shade wrote this, Gradus the Gunman was getting ready to leave Zembla for his steady blunderings through two hemispheres 

Today(181): On July 5th, a noontime, in the other hemisphere, on the rain-swept tarmac of the Onhava airfield, Gradus, holding a French passport, walked towards a Russian commercial plane bound for Copenhagen

A male hand(408); On July 10, the day John Shade wrote this, and perhaps at the very minute he started to use his thirty-third index card for lines 406-416, Gradus was driving in a hired car from Geneva to Lex, where Odon was known to be resting,

Foreword: He started the next canto on his birthday and finished it on July 11. 

Points at the puddle in his basement room(596):
Shade composed these lines on Tuesday, July 14th. What was Gradus doing that day? Nothing. Combinatorial fate rests on its laurels. We saw him last on the late afternoon of July 10th when he returned from Lex to his hotel in Geneva, and there we left him.
For the next four days Gradus remained fretting in Geneva.

Foreword: Another week was devoted to Canto Three. 

Conclusive destination(697): Gradus landed at the Cote d'Azur airport in the early afternoon of July 15, 1959
The outer glare(741):
On the morning of July 16 (while Shade was working on the 698-746 section of his poem) dull Gradus, dreading another day of enforced inactivity in sardonically sparkling, simultatingly noisy Nice...

Foreword: Canto Four was begun on July 19, 

My best time(873): As my dear friend was beginning with this line his July 20 batch of cards (card seventy-one to card seventy-six, ending with line 948), Gradus, at the Orly airport, was walking aboard a jetliner, fastening his seat belt, reading a newspaper, rising, soaring, desecrating the sky.

And all the time(949): And all the time he was coming nearer.
A formidable thunderstorm had greeted Gradus in New York on the night of his arrival from Paris (Monday, July 20)...
It was now July 21. At eight in the morning New York roused Gradus with a bang and a roar.

The opposition of sexual orientation between the two doppel-selves provides the germ for another allegory to be built into the text: namely identifying  Kinbote as a sexually repressed component of Shade's self that emerges in the symbolic death of Shade; or multiple person theory.
As Zemblan Escape builds in part on the cheaper Prisoner of Zenda, (Ruritanian)(and the other series??? )
Kinbote-as-deranged-Shade derives from Jykell and Hyde; and the cheaper Three Faces of EveB(1957), its deprecated psychology, Freudianism; Shirley Jackson's novel, The Birds' Nest, of 1954, which was also made into the film, Lizzie, in 1957.
(It's notable that all of these are also rather famous films.) Soon we have: Shade=ego, Kinbote=id, Sybil=superego.
To the extent that Multiple Personality Disorder as diagnostic category relies upon Freudianism, and its concepts of dissociation and repression, this story, vision, or illusion, needs to be disavowed, in authorial tones, and that is part of Botkin's role. Botkin, like VN, detests Freud, but uses the psychological framework as a plot device to stage this second allegory. The Freudianism has to be shown to be a prop.
Botkin destroys the illusion of viewing Kinbote as a dissociated piece of Shade merely by revealing his own presence: Kinbote can't be Shade because Kinbote is Botkin! Botkin writes himself into his novel in order to discredit his own tale of metamorphosis. This device allows Botkin to tell this tale despite its Freudian underpinnings, and is similar to the distancing device used by Cervantes, mentioned by Jansy. 

(Chaucer, like Botkin, is another such re-taker. And he too wrote himself into his own work!)

Kinbote's role can thus be seen as the teller of his own metamorphosis. His tales of Zembla are intended to make us think he is mad and his tale therefore  symbolic and allegorical. Therein he tells us other things to see and believe.
Specifically he asks, strenuously, to consider the comparison of John Shade with the young minister in the Rose Court of the Ducal Chapel, as well as a comparison of Sybil with Disa. 
In the first: are we being asked to view Shade's compositional inspiration with the sublimation of deviant impulses or desires? I'm thinking here that the young minister stands in for a young Charles Dodgson. 
In the second: are we to imagine that Sybil suffers in somewhat the same manner as Queen Disa? Hazel's birth occurs fifteen years into the marriage.
The color combination of rose/green seems to only occur in the Rose Court (commentary), and in the green, indigo, and tawny sea at Nice(poem), the site, or stimulus for Kinbote's comparison of Sybil and Disa.
Perhaps the suffering of Sybil/Disa to be seen as a symbol for the kind of sexual/procreative sacrifices that the spouses of highly creative individuals sometimes make?
Kinbote's etymology of Sybil's birth name, Irondell, is a clever way of associating two qualities at once that may seem to be opposed to one another but actually aren't: grace and strong will.

briefly yours,

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