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T/^^ Lewis Carroll Society of North America 

Winter 2008 

Volume II Issue 1 1 

Number 81 

Knight Letter IS the official magazine of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. 

It is published twice a year and is distributed free to all members. 

Editorial correspondence should be sent to the Editor in Chief at 


Submissions for The Rectory Umbrella should be sent to 

Submissions for Mischmasch should be sent to or 

Submissions for All Must Have Prizes should be sent 

© 2009 The Lewis Carroll Society of North America 

ISSN 0193-886X 

Andrew Sellon, Editor in Chief 

August & Clare Imholtz, Editors, The Rectory Umbrella 

Sarah Adams &: Ray Kiddy, Editors, Mischmasch 

Mark Burstein, Production Editor 

Andrew H. Ogus, Designer 



Andrew Sellon, 


Cindy Watter, 


Clare Imholtz, 

Annual membership dues are U.S. $35 (regular), 

$50 (international), and $100 (sustaining). 

Subscriptions, correspondence, and inquiries should be addressed to: 

Clare Imholtz, LCSNA Secretary 

11935 Beltsville Dr. 

Beltsville, Maryland 20705 

Additional Contributors to This Issue 
Ruth Berman, Gabi Kiddy-Gan, Angelica Carpenter, and Lucy Lovett 

Knight Letter IS printed on 30% post-consumer waste recycled paper 
using vegetable inks. 

On the cover: 
Lewis Carroll © 2008 by Mahendra Singh 




The Ambassador, The Poet, The Composer, &^ The Illustrator 


Why Size Matters in Wonderland 



To Seek It with Thimbles, Part II 



Carmen Hortulani lnssim/"The Mad Gardener's Song" 



Jett Jackson 's Stuck in Wonderland 



The Invisible Teacher 







Nores Sf^ QusRies 







Wliich Came First? 
Alice Explains "Krocketspiel" 



Lewis Carroll in Numberland 


Peter Westergaard's Mice Opera 


Bali ^ Beyond's Mice in the Shadows 


Sherry Ackerman 5 Behind the Looking Glass 


Jon Scieszka and Mary Blair's Mice 


Maggie Taylor's Alice 


@lice in www. onderland 


Anne Higgonet's Lewis Carroll 




Art — Articles &' Academia — Books — Cyberspace 

Events, Exhibits &' Places — Movies &" Television 

Performing Arts — Things 

'^ingle, tingle! Avast there, reader! While we 
were tempted to render this issue as a per- 
fect and absolute blank, we went below deck 
and found we had too many confections and piquant 
treasures to share — to quote Ira Gershwin, "of jam 
and spice, there's a paradise in the hold." So here be 
the spoils, including (but not limited to, as the Bar- 
rister thoughtfully reminds us) August Imholtz's ap- 
preciative write-up of our fall 2008 meeting, Nancy 
Willard's beautiful speech on Carrollian inspiration 
from said event, a delightfully thought-provoking 
essay on size in Wonderland by her pupil Jacob Strick, 
more insightful mini-essays from Matt Demakos, "The 
Mad Gardener's Song" in Latin courtesy of Dr. Judith 
Hallett, and even an art critique and interview from 
yours truly about Jett Jackson's latest A/?V^themed 

work. And that's not to mention all the reviews, notes, 
jabberings, and prizes to be found serendipitously in 
our usual columns. Remarkably, we have no Sic, Sic, 
Sic entries to report in this issue, and while that's ac- 
tually a good thing, we fully expect some typicallyjaw- 
dropping (and perversely entertaining, the Butcher 
adds) Carrollian misquotes to surface in time for 
our next issue. But for now, your course lies straight 
ahead on the following pages. Set sail, noble reader. 
And enjoy. 


■i ^ , 


The Ambassador, The Poet, 
The Composer, (&^ The Illustrator 


'he iron petticoat of scaffolding, which had 
marred the view of architect Philip Johnson's 
red sandstone Elmer Holmes Bobst Library 
of New York University as one crossed Washington 
Square at our last visit two years ago, thankfully had 
been removed. On a gray and, for New York City, sea- 
sonably cool Saturday morning, October 25, 2008, 
about fifty-two CarroUians and guests made their way 
across the Escheresque ground floor of the Bobst 
and took the elevators to the third floor, where the 
Fales Library is housed. Marvin Taylor, Fales Librar- 
ian, graciously welcomed us, as he has done so many 
times in the past. 

LCSNA President Andrew Sellon opened the 
Fall 2008 meeting at 11:00 a.m. by thanking Marvin 
Taylor, Elizabeth Wiest of Collections and Research 
Services, and Dean Carol Mandel for hosting us once 
again. Andrew also thanked Disney Publishing rep- 
resentatives Kelsey Skea, Jennifer Corcoran, and Nel- 
lie Kurtzman, and introduced our first speaker, Jon 
Scieszka, the renowned children's author who earlier 
this year was named our first National Ambassador 
for Young People's Literature by Dr. James Billington, 

Thanks to Monica Edinger's excellent blog at 
for the title of this article. 

the Librarian of Congress. Jon even brought his hefty 
Ambassador's medal along, playfully posing with it 
for a flurry of impromptu photographs. Jon first told 
us a little about himself: his life growing up with his 
four brothers, his experiences teaching grades one 
to eight at the Day School for ten years in New York, 
how he became interested in Lewis Carroll, and of 
course how that longtime interest manifests itself in 
his works, most recently in his Walt Disney's Alice in 
Wonderland (reviewed elsewhere in this issue). 

He has also written the brilliantly amusing and 
successful The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Caldecott 
Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stu- 
pid Tales, and other works, and is the founder of the 
Guys Read literacy initiative. He wrote a very humor- 
ous parody of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" called 
"Gobblegooky," which may be found in his Science 
Verse (and KL 80:31). Here is a sample: 

"Oh, can you slay the Gobblegook, 
Polyimsaturated boy? 
3,000 calories! Don't look! 
The sugars! Fats! Oh soy." 

But back to his talk, which he appropriately 
prefaced with a YouTube video of himself in a giant 
spinning tea cup at Disneyland's Mad Tea Party ride. 
That, like his retelling of Carroll's Alice siory for the 
Disney book, is meant to connect a younger gen- 

Jon Scieszka 

Nancy Willard 

eration with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which 
can pose linguistic and other problems for early 
readers. The first task in his retelling was to select 
which scenes to include — a harder task than he had 
anticipated. His introductory lines, which of course 
are not in the original, give an example of his ap- 

Have you ever tried to listen to a long, boring 
schoolbook on a warm lazy day? 

And have you ever wondered why anyone 
would make a book so boring? 

Then you are just like Alice. 

Because that is exactly what happened to 

And on opening the book toward the end, one sees 
on the left-hand page fearsome Card Soldiers, like 
two-dimensional Nazi officers in their gray great- 
coats, marching, almost goose-stepping, across the 
page, while the facing pages shows soft, harmless 
cards with spades, hearts, etc. for heads, surround- 
ing this text: 

Cards came marching from every direction. 

Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds. 

Ones, Twos, Threes, and Fours. 

Fives, Sixes, Sevens, and Eights. 

Nines, Tens, and Jacks. 

And almost late, almost late, for 
a very important date 

(but just in time to do his job) 
came at last. Guess Who? 

He was fortunate, Jon said, in being able to work 
with Mary Blair's original proto-conceptual brain- 
storming drawings — which were submitted to the 
chief animators. Mary Blair was the only woman artist 
in that male Disney group in the early 1950s. Scieszka 

likened her illustrations to some of the German Ex- 
pressionist art of the early twentieth century. Her Alice 
has a little pug nose, at least in some of the drawings, 
at times a quasi-hydrocephalic head, and extremely 
well-developed calves for a little girl (see, for exam- 
ple, the illustration of Alice about to follow the White 
Rabbit through the little door) . Mary Blair's drawings 
are latent with possibilities that one does not see in 
the polished animators' illustrations in the famous 
Disney film and its innumerable published book ver- 
sions. As for Jon Scieszka's words, they are every bit as 
entertaining as the man himself proved to be; both 
provoked many hearty laughs from the enthusiastic 

A little past noon under a gray and blustery-but- 
not-yet-raining sky, we walked the two short blocks 
to Ennio & Michael Ristorante — our third or fourth 
visit there — for a delightful lunch. We reassembled 
in the Fales at 2:00 p.m. sharp, and Andrew intro- 
duced the author of this brief meeting summary, 
to submit the report of the nominating committee 
for the biennial LCSNA election of officers. The 
committee, consisting of Janet Jurist and August 
A. Imholtz, Jr., renominated the following slate of 
officers: President, Andrew Sellon; Vice President, 
Cindy Watter; Treasurer, Francine Abeles; and Sec- 
retary, Clare Imholtz. Hearing and seeing no further 
nominations from the floor, August Imholtz called 
for a vote, and the slate of officers was unanimously 

Our reelected president then introduced our 
second speaker, Professor Nancy Willard. Nancy is the 
author of poetry and fiction for children of all ages, 
several novels, and a collection of essays; the winner 
of the 1982 Newbery Medal and Caldecott Honor; 
and a professor of English at Vassar College. Since we 
reprint her talk, "The Invisible Teacher," elsewhere 
in this issue, I shall only say that it is, in my opinion. 


Peter Westergaard 

Mahendra Singh 

a brilliant piece of literary criticism on the use of dia- 
log in narrative, in which Nancy weaves in and out of 
her personal history with Lewis Carroll and his works 
from the time she was an eight-year-old girl in Ann 
Arbor, Michigan, until today. 

Following Nancy's lecture, we were privileged 
to hear Professor Peter Westergaard talk about his 
recently premiered opera, Alice in Wonderland - An 
Ensemble Opera for Seven Singers after the Book by Lewis 
Carroll. Peter has had a very distinguished career as 
a professor of musicology, first at Columbia, then at 
Amherst, and at Princeton University until his retire- 
ment in 2001, and as a composer of operas based on 
literary works. He calls his approach "plundering the 
classics," including Melville's Moby Dick, Shakespeare's 
The Tempest, and "Mr. and Mrs. Discobbolos," based on 
the famous poem by Edward Lear. He is the author of 
An Introduction to Atonal Theory, which, in the words of 
the esteemed Wikipedia, "is notable for: explicit treat- 
ment of the relationship between rhythmic structures 
and pitch structures in tonal music; and elimination 
of 'harmony' as a conceptually independent element 
of musical structure." 

Peter distributed to each of us a copy of the li- 
bretto, the program for the performance of his opera, 
and, in true professorial fashion, a handout covering 
the main points of his talk, with the musical notation 
examples for all the scenes he discussed. 

Following his carefully orchestrated handout, 
Peter divided his talk into these parts: First, what 
should be included from the book? Although AATW 
contains twelve chapters, there are really only eleven 
major events, which he rendered in eleven scenes, 
beginning with "Down the Rabbit Hole" through 
"The Trial" with a musical prelude and epilogue. The 
next problem to be solved was how much dialogue 
could be preserved. The second page of our hand- 
out showed how the passage at the end of chapter 3, 

beginning with Alice saying, "I wish I had our Dinah 
here. . . ." through "Oh, my dear Dinah! I wonder if 
I shall ever see you anymore!" — a total of some 209 
words of text — was reduced to 1 76 sung words of dia- 
log at the end of the opera's scene 3. 

And what kind of voices should be assigned to 
Carroll's characters? To cite just a sample, Peter al- 
located the forty roles to his seven singers in this way: 
Alice is a soprano; the Duchess clearly a mezzo so- 
prano; the Duck a tenor "because no one can quack 
like a tenor;" the White Rabbit a countertenor; and, 
to show the range of parts, as it were, a bass for the 
Dodo, Pat, other parts of the Caterpillar (an inter- 
esting musical portrayal of a kind of multischizoid 
larva), the Frog Footman, and finally the Queen of 
Hearts. Each of the singers, except Alice of course, 
sang multiple parts. 

With the singers assigned to their roles and the 
libretto composed, Peter asked: What about an or- 
chestra? He pondered using an orchestra but did not 
want to seem to compete with Ravel's L'enfant et les sor- 
tileges, so after considering and then rejecting six in- 
strumentalists, he settled on the clever, almost Snark- 
ian, use of hand bells (the dinner bell at 6:00 p.m. is 
F sharp, for example) to set the tone for the singers. 
He explained how he translated Alice's curious Won- 
derland arithmetic (four times five is twelve) into mu- 
sical terms in which 4 is 4 semitones above middle 
C, 5 is 5 semitones above middle C, etc. And when 
Alice grows and shrinks, Peter demonstrates this mu- 
sically but also by projecting on the rear of the stage 
Tenniel images that shrink as she grows and grow as 
she shrinks. The whole opera is full of symmetry, re- 
flecting how Carroll, in Peter's view, was fascinated 
by symmetry. This author may have gotten lost a few 
times in Peter's explanations of the balanced thirds 
and fifths, but a few excerpts made the musicological 
logic less necessary. 


He concluded with a video clip of the Tea Party 
scene — splendid, even if I could not always beat time. 

A number of attendees were fortunate enough 
to have seen the premier of the Westergaard Alice 
on May 22 of this year at Princeton or at the New 
York performance on June 4 at the Peter Jay Sharp 
Theatre's Peter Norton Symphony Space — and that 
made Professor Westergaard's Alice talk even more 

After a brief break, we regrouped for Mahen- 
dra Singh's illustrated talk entitled "The Surrealist's 
Snark — a Work in Progress," the concluding part of 
our formal program. Mahendra, who came down 
to New York from Montreal especially to attend our 
meeting, is the author of an in-progress graphic novel, 
a surrealistic version of Carroll's The Hunting of the 
Snark. He describes himself as an illustrator, graphic 
designer, and art director who spent many years 
working in the humid ambience of the Washington, 
DC, area, before trading all that in for the snowy am- 
bience of Montreal, Quebec. Mahendra noted that 
being "born in Libya to German and Indian parents, 
married to an Assamese woman, and surrounded by 
Frenchmen, I regard globalization as a mere dodge 
and devote my waking hours to hunting the Snark." 

In his Snark there will be 140 drawings, one for 
each stanza. The French composer Eric Satie appears 
along with Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, 
and other modern philosophers such as Karl Marx, 
who rub shoulders with a Butcher with the head of an 
Easter Island Moai. Add many subtle, dryly witty refer- 
ences to artists and figures such as Raphael, Magritte, 
Krazy Rat, de Chirico, Titian, and more. As for plays 
on words, consider how Mahendra turns Breakfast at 
Tiffany's into "tiffin at breakfasties," — "tiffin" being a 
word for a light snack in India. The visual puns are 
accompanied by his extremely creative allusions as 
well as illusion-rich illustra- 
tions. The whole lecture was I ■ '■',',' " [, ii 
delivered in such an almost i . ■ ' 

professional deadpan manner that I am certain that I, 
at least, did not catch all of Mahendra's puns or all of 
the levels of the ones I did get. Here is a rarefied and 
brilliant one followed by the commentary — without 
which it would not be completely or even partially 
clear — from his MisAnnotation section: 

Fig. 1: The 42 boxes on the beach are each 
labeled with Baker's alias "Candle Stub" in 
Chinese, using an ideogram known as "Xie." 
Shown here is Carroll's photograph of Alexan- 
dra "Xie" Kitchin in the guise of a Chinese tea 
merchant. This pictolinguistic Snarkoglyph 
which binds a photograph, persons, ideo- 
grams and drawings into a satisfying whole 
also provides a splendid example of the semi- 
otic, nay, imperial grandeur of the Snarkian 
Multiverse in its prelapsarian heyday! 

The above explication is taken with permission 
from Mahendra's The MisAnnotated Snark, subtitled 
"A Protosurrealist Agony of Correspondences, Analo- 
gies, Forks, and Hope for the Enlightenment of the 
Amused and the Amusement of the Enlightened." 
Please see his blog at http://justtheplaceforasnark. 

We eagerly look forward to his completed work, 
which will prove beyond any doubt that a word, if it is 
"Snark," is worth a thousand pictures or ten thousand 

Into a cool and beating rain we left the Fales Li- 
brary in the early evening, as many of us headed up- 
town, some by taxi, some by car, and some intrepid 
souls by subway, to a cocktail party sponsored once 
again by our ever gracious and very generous mem- 
ber Janet Jurist, at which we could relax, snack on 
delicious hors d'oeuvres, even drink a glass of wine, 
and talk about many a not-so-strange tale and per- 
haps even the dream of 
those Wonderlands we 
had just experienced. 

Ceci n'est pas mon boite by Mahendra Singh 




"^^^^^sk any readers of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Ad- 
^^gjk ventures in Wonderland to explain its plot, 
M. A.and they probably will be at a loss. They 

might recall the eccentric menagerie of characters, 
perhaps a snatch of verse or a famous line of dia- 
logue. More likely than not, they will relate to you the 
images of Alice growing and shrinking, of the cake 
that says "EAT ME" and the potion labeled "DRINK 
ME." But it's the context of Alice's metamorphoses 
that concern me. I returned to this childhood favor- 
ite with an agenda of my own: to find whether Alice's 
changes in size were governed by a consistent set of 
laws — and if so, what consequences did they have for 
her and the denizens of Wonderland? Furthermore, 
I wanted to understand what greater meaning lay be- 
hind these differences in scale. In typical Carrollian 
fashion, I was rather surprised and amused by my 

Alice experiences her first change in size im- 
mediately upon entering the rabbit hole. This is not 
made explicitly clear by the text, but Alice's shift in 
demeanor is in full support of my claim. The hole is 
simply described as "large," and since Alice is a child 
there's no immediate reason to assume that she has 
shrunk, but how then to account for the long fall and 
the subsequent safe landing? Alice assumes that she's 
falling either very far ("four thousand miles down") 
or that she's somehow discovered a novel way to fall 
slowly. The only working explanation is that she has 
decreased in size. When Alice initially falls, it's far too 
dark to see anything. Alice needs the visual element 
to orient her to her surroundings, and her temporary 
blindness due to darkness must render her unaware 
that an internal transformation has taken place. 

There's another element to the darkness that af- 
fects Alice, and that is specifically her defined sense 
of self. Memory is closely linked to identity, and 
throughout Alice's time in Wonderland she struggles 
with both, even as she struggles with her physical 
metamorphoses. I will argue that all of these things 
are of equal importance, both to the story and to 
the internal geographies of Wonderland. Again, we 
are searching for the "why" when it comes to Alice's 
changes in size and her failure to remember any facts 
immediately after the fall. The darkness she experi- 

ences is quite a literal one, although it's not enough 
to account for her total loss of identity: 

'Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! 
And yesterday things went on just as usual. I 
wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let 
me think: was I the same when I got up this 
morning? I almost think I can remember feel- 
ing a litde different. But if I'm not the same, 
the next question is, Who in the world am I? 
Ah, that's the great puzzle!' And she began 
thinking over all the children she knew that 
were of the same age as herself, to see if she 
could have been changed for any of them. 

Upon landing, Alice follows the White Rabbit 
down a passageway that leads to a hall of locked doors. 
The passage is either badly lit or the ceiling is very 
high, because it "was all dark overhead." However, the 
hall is defined as "long [and] low," something around 
nine feet in height. The Rabbit is missing — presum- 
ably he's gone to his house to fetch his kid gloves and 
fan. Alice peeks behind a curtain in the hall, discover- 
ing a hidden door only fifteen inches tall! But like the 
others there, it is locked, and requires a key — from 
atop a table completely made of glass — to unlock it. 
Behind the door is a garden, though it's not made im- 
mediately clear whether the garden matches the scale 
of the door.' It is here in the hall that Alice undergoes 
her first conscious size metamorphosis. 

While not immediately noticed by Alice, the 
glass table also holds the infamous bottle with the 
label "DRINK ME" tied around its neck. Alice pon- 
ders its contents, and then quickly finishes the potion 
off. The result is that she shrinks down so that she's 
perfectly sized to enter the garden. The problem is, 
she's forgotten the key! We can thank the glass table 
for clarifying Alice's folly. I'd even suggest that if the 
table weren't glass, Alice wouldn't even have the mem- 
ory of the key being on it in the first place. Upon real- 
izing her error, Alice cries a little, but then discovers a 
tiny cake vsith the words "EAT ME" spelled out in cur- 
rants. She reasons to herself, "Well I'll eat it . . . and if 
it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it 
makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door." 
Alice puts her hand on the top of her head to judge 

which way she will grow, and ends up growing leagues 
beyond her natural size. At this point we only have 
enough evidence to assume that drinking certain liq- 
uids make you shrink, and eating certain foods make 
you grow. This couldn't be further from the truth. 

Aside from the food and drink, there are other 
means — which we'll call objects of power — that facili- 
tate the transformative process. One of these is the 
White Rabbit's fan, which Alice acquires in her gi- 
antess state. She doesn't understand the fan's power, 
which is why she nearly fans herself out of existence. 
This is to say, the fan allows her to shrink smaller 
than four inches. But a fan can blow hot air as well 
as cool, so might we assume that it has the ability to 
grow the user as well? Consider that the White Rabbit 
likely uses it upon entering (and exiting) the palace 
grounds, though he generally takes the form of a nor- 
mal-sized rabbit. Could this strange power be coming 
from the fan alone, or have we read prior events too 
shallowly? Is it possible that Alice makes the uncon- 
scious choice to shrink as she is fanning herself? 

I believe the answer to this question lies some- 
where between the White Rabbit's house and the Cat- 
erpillar's mushroom. Alice magically transitions from 
the long hall to outside the White Rabbit's house. 
The Rabbit has mistaken her for his maid — Alice is 
still very tiny at this moment — and has requested that 
she collect a fan and a new pair of gloves for him. 
Strangely, Alice is properly sized for the Rabbit's 
house, while just a moment ago she was no bigger 
than a mouse. I call this the "Wonderland Effect," and 
will return to it at a later time. Moving on with the 
tale, Alice finds the gloves and the fan, but she also 
discovers an unmarked potion near the looking-glass. 
Now the bottle has no obvious function — there's not 
even a label — in the White Rabbit's home. Yet when 
Alice drinks it, it perfectly accords with her wish that 
"it'll make [her] grow large again, for really [she's] 
quite tired of being such a tiny little thing." But things 
are even curiouser than first imagined. When giant 
Alice is bombarded by pebbles that turn into cakes 
(don't ask), Alice gets an idea: "If I eat one of these 
cakes . . . it's sure to make 50w^ change in my size; and 
as it can't possibly make me larger, it must make me 
smaller, I suppose." She swallows a cake, and shrinks 
to a manageable size and escapes the house. 

If you have been paying attention, the last time 
Alice drank from a bottle she shrank, and the last time 
she ate a cake she grew. Now this time the two objects 
have switched their effects. A continuity error, or is 
this deliberate on Carroll's part? I think it's rather 
suspicious and worth investigating that neither the 
drink nor the cakes that Alice consumes in the White 
Rabbit's home are labeled, unlike their counterparts 
in the hall. Yet, as before, they do exactly the thing 
that Alice was hoping they'd do. As the Caterpillar 
will prove, this is no mere coincidence. 

When Alice first comes upon the Caterpillar, he 
asks the ultimate question: "Who are you}'' By this 
point, Alice has hardly sorted her proper size, much 
less her true identity. His question calls into sharp 
relief the difficulty Alice has had remembering even 
simple facts during her time in Wonderland. The Cat- 
erpillar doesn't offer much advice aside from "Keep 
your temper," which is ironic in light of the events 
that close the story. The Caterpillar tells Alice that 
in time she will get used to her new size, but Alice 
shows great distress at this notion, so the Caterpillar 
takes pity and gives her an enormous nudge in the 
right direction. While making his exit, the Caterpil- 
lar mutters to himself, "One side will make you grow 
taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter." 
He is referring to the mushroom, which as we all 
know is round and has no "sides" to speak of. This is 
a knowing contradiction, as well as the answer to all 
of our questions. Like the fan, the mushroom causes 
Alice to shrink (only at first, in her uncertainty of the 
mushroom's power) and to grow — seemingly without 

Alice may not realize just how important this de- 
velopment is, but we as readers should. When I began 
my study into Alice's Wonderland adventures, I came 
looking for insights into the function and mechan- 
ics behind Alice's changes in size. What we've seen 
so far is a portrait of inconsistency: food may make 
Alice grow or shrink, and drink has shown inverted 
properties as well! But the one thing in common dur- 
ing all these changes is that Alice was hoping for the 
specific change that then occurred. With the aid of 
these objects of power, Alice has willed her metamor- 
phoses into being. The talk of "one side makes you 
grow/shrink" simply means that it's in Alice's power 
to decide how she will change. In the end, when she 
reclaims her identity, Alice will learn that she doesn't 
require any objects to invoke change. 

Two things preoccupy Alice during her time in 

'The first thing I've got to do,' said Alice to 
herself, as she wandered about in the wood, 'is 
to grow to my right size again; and the second 
thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. 
I think that will be the best plan.' 

And indeed, for the better part of this story, Alice 
struggles with her surroundings and changes in size 
until she reaches the garden. But to "grow to my right 
size again" is a completely different task. Her "right 
size" is her true size — her true self — and is not to be 
found in Wonderland. To paraphrase the Cheshire 
Cat, Alice wouldn't be down there unless she was 
mad. I have foimd no evidence to equate size to mad- 
ness in Wonderland, but consider how almost noth- 
ing there is properly sized: the Mad Hatter and March 
Hare are much larger than the Queen of Hearts, and 

the Caterpillar — possibly the most sensible creature 
of them all — is also the smallest. But aside from being 
small, the Caterpillar is properly sized (and aware 
of his height): exactly three inches. What does this 
mean for Alice? 

Alice takes on many sizes, by accident and on pur- 
pose. Alice is even influenced by Wonderland itself to 
go through changes. In these moments there is noth- 
ing that Alice has eaten or drunk to cause a change: 
She has allowed herself to be influenced by the envi- 
ronment. I call these changes the Wonderland Effect, 
because they don't require a conscious decision to 
occur. I would say that this is the true cause of mad- 
ness in Wonderland. If size is equated to memory and 
self, then the slow degradation of identity leads to 
eventual psychosis. A child may turn into a pig; an ec- 
centric tea party may proceed ad infinitum. Even the 
Queen herself experiences screaming fits ("Off with 
her head!"), while no one is actually ever harmed at 
all. We see now that size plays a far greater role in 
Wonderland than previously imagined. 

For example, the Wonderland Effect asserts itself 
during the trial of the Knave of Hearts with the reap- 
pearance of the Mad Hatter. In the overall scheme 
of "Wonderland," it is rare for Carroll's narrative to 
revisit locations or characters, although at times it 
does so. The guests at the Mad Tea Party provide an 
interesting bit of continuity — or discontinuity. It's all 
too easy to forget that Alice transitioned directly from 
the tea party to the hall of doors (thanks to a conve- 
niendy located portal in a tree) in order to reach the 
garden. We can only assume that the Hatter and com- 
pany took the same route, but since the "DRINK ME" 
potion is exhausted (Alice uses her mushroom the 
second time), they must have had some help. While 
the Dormouse says, at the trial, "I grow at a reason- 
able pace," he really should be remarking on how he 
shrinks. Unlike madness, change isn't a constant in 

Alice regains her true size (and her true iden- 
tity) but once in this story, at the trial that concludes 

her time in Wonderland. Alice begins the trial in a 
shrunken state, which is how she was sized to enter 
the beautiful garden. However, the garden proved 
to be an enormous disappointment, as it was filled 
with just as much madness as the rest of the under- 
ground world. During the trial it's clear that Alice 
has become totally fed up with the rudeness and the 
nonsense of the locals, because as she watches by the 
jurors' box she begins to grow in size. I think that on 
one hand she's inspired to grow when she sees the 
Mad Hatter take a bite out of his teacup — an object 
you're ordinarily supposed to drink from — and that 
it's a reminder she doesn't have to remain in her sta- 
tion if she chooses not to. On the other hand, by this 
point she already has begun to reclaim her old iden- 
tity as Alice. She has overcome the influence of Won- 
derland to the point where she is nearly her old self 
again. I say "nearly" because in order to truly be Alice, 
she must be sized like Alice. - 

And so Alice begins to grow, eventually "to her 
full size," when she is attacked by the armies of Won- 
derland in a desperate attempt to maintain disorder. 
But Alice brushes them off: "You're nothing but a 
pack of cards!" Alice has regained clarity, and it isn't 
too long before she exits Wonderland and reenters 
reality. Alice then departs the banks of the river, 
where she has fallen asleep and experienced her ad- 
venture. We are left with a final thought, presented 
to us by Alice's sister. It is the sister's honest wish that 
Alice be able to retain the simple joys of childhood 
as she grows into womanhood, with all of its changes. 
Alice's sister is able to perceive Wonderland in a half- 
dreaming state, so we as readers can rest easy know- 
ing that Alice can fall back upon this nonsense-land, 
should she ever need a reminder of who she is truly 
meant to be. 

' We'll learn that the garden is a part of the palace grounds, 
so everything within it must be playing-card sized. 

^ Unlike the poor Mock Turtle, who once was "a real 
turtle" but has devolved. 


t {Recently , I've been pondering 
3 <^'00{t -Prom the book^ ^^'Mor, 
Lewis C^rroW../^ 

beginning Sr^d jo 
on fill you come 

5+ (5 p. 

Soun<is lil^e the 
ins+rudions h 
&^er^ piece of 
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Of the essays below, four were crafted from mar- 
ginalia, and four were developed from work on 
other papers. Four of the essays, and two others 
to a lesser degree, try to add a modicum of per- 
spective to their subjects. Nonetheless, it is hoped 
that all of the essays, even the ones that are strictly 
informative, will one day add perspective to other 
essays — ones that hopefully will not receive pedan- 
tic marginalia. 

9. what's a duck worth? 

It has long been accepted that Carroll rowed bow on 
July 4, 1862, the day he first told to Alice Liddell and 
her sisters the story that became Alice's Adventures in 
Wonderland. This detail comes from Robinson Duck- 
worth, Carroll's friend who joined the excursion that 
day. "I rowed stroke and he rowed bow in the famous 
Long Vacation voyage to Godstow when the three Miss 
Liddells were otir passengers," he wrote to Carroll's 
nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, "and the story 
was actually composed and spoken overmy shoulder for 
the benefit of Alice Liddell, who was acting as 'cox' of 
our gig. "' Carroll does not mention the positions in 
six known references to the event,'- nor does Alice ex- 
actly do so in four known accounts.^ But Duckworth 
repeats the rowing positions, and much of the same 
details as before, in a letter to a friend. 

The problem is that Duckworth gets much 
wrong in his full testimony, or, at least his version 
is often contrary to other accounts. He states that 
Alice asked Carroll to write the story down when 
they "had conducted the three children back to 
the Deanery," and even supplies verbatim quota- 
tions. This is contrary to Alice's account, accord- 
ing to which the request came "the next day," 
which itself is confirmed by Carroll's diary when 
he describes meeting the Liddell party at the train 
station (though he does not mention Alice's re- 
quest). Duckworth also claims that Carroll began 
the story that night. This contradicts Carroll's 
diary summary, made sometime after the events, 
of writing the "headings" out on the train the fol- 

Part I of this article may be found in Knight Letter 79 pp. 18-22. 

lowing day. Much of what else Duckworth writes is 
dubious as well. 

So should we believe that Carroll took the bow? 
In truth, Alice's own account somewhat contradicts 
Duckworth's recollection. She writes that the river 
journeys "usually consisted of five — one of Mr. Dodg- 
son's men friends as well as himself and us three. His 
brother occasionally took an oar in the merry party, 
but our most usual fifth was Mr. Duckworth, who sang 
well." The contradiction comes a paragraph later 
when she adds, "In the usual way, after we had cho- 
sen our boat with great care, we three children were 
stowed away in the stern, and Mr. Dodgson took the 
stroke oar."^ So usually Carroll took the stroke oar, 
making Duckworth's claim questionable. Her gener- 
alization is harmonious with her description of the 
girls having a competition "to sit next to the great 
mathematician. . . ."^ 

It is quite common to conflate memories of 
events years later, even months later, and even weeks 
and days later. Duckworth, who was writing thirty-six 
years after the event, took several voyages with the 
Liddells and could have easily misremembered many 
details.'' With so much factually wrong in his account, 
and the dubiousness of even his verbatim recollected 
quotations, there is no reason to trust his memory of 
the rowing positions. 

lo. ina's truth 

There are two letters from Ina to her sister Alice that 
discuss the interview Ina had with Florence Becker 
Lennon for her then forthcoming biography. A sen- 
tence in the second letter has often been interpreted 
as if Ina, then over eighty years old, gave a deceitful 
response when asked about the split between her fam- 
ily and Carroll. But there is another, perhaps more 
likely, interpretation. 

To set the scene, Alice questioned Ina about cer- 
tain aspects of Lennon's biography of which Ina ap- 
peared to be the source. On May 1, 1930, Ina wrote 
Alice that she knew what Lennon was "driving at" 
during the interview (Carroll's love for Alice) but 
that only after the interview did she realize that Len- 
non may have been suggesting something else (a pos- 
sible marriage proposal).' The questions about ages 

and dates in the second letter show this still to be the 
chief concern: 

I suppose you don't remember when Mr. 
Dodgson ceased coming to the Deanery? How 
old were you? I said his manner became too 
affectionate to you as you grew older and 
that mother spoke to him about it, and that 
offended him so he ceased coming to visit us 
again, as one had to give some reason for all 
intercourse ceasing. I don't think you could 
have been more than 9 or 10 on account of 
my age! I must ptit it a bit differently for Mrs. 
B's book. I had no idea my words were to be 
taken down! Mr. Dodgson used to take you 
on his knee. I know I did not say that! Hor- 
rible being interviewed if your words are taken 

The line "as one had to give some reason for all 
intercourse ceasing" does not have to be read as if 
Ina was being deceitful. It could be read as her ex- 
cuse to Alice for admitting a sincere fact that inad- 
vertently supported Lennon's errant track. She uses 
the words "some reason" because "the reason" would 
not have expressed the obligation she felt to answer 
the question truthfully. In this interpretation, she is 
telling Alice that she gave Lennon the actual reason, 
but withotit expounding on it, because it would have 
appeared disingenuous to appear ignorant. 

This interpretation then has the chief advantage 
of not maligning Ina's character. It not only eliminates 
a blunt lie but also eliminates the carelessness of plac- 
ing her sister and Carroll in a potentially scandalous 
position. Indeed, hundreds of safer lies could have 
been told. Nor does it have Ina shamefully conspiring 
to keep the so-called Alice myth alive. The interpreta- 
tion also has the advantage of reading better than the 
other interpretation, especially with the absence of 
excuses in her words to Alice for telling a lie against 
her. Particularly notable is the lack of any need to re- 
tract the words but only admitting, "I must put it a bit 
differently. . . ." When read in context of the earlier 
letter, these words refer to the need to disconnect the 
reasonable (love for Alice) from the ridiculous (mar- 
riage to Alice). 

Apparently, Ina plans on maintaining the idea 
that Carroll was affectionate toward Alice but plans as 
well to stress the innocence of that affection, even if 
she understood it to be stronger, or even unhealthy. 

In the end, Lennon did expound on Carroll's 
possible love for Alice and a marriage proposal, but 
did not use Ina as a source nor mention this as the 
possible reason for the break.^ 


A reminiscence by Florence May Balfour, known as 
Birdie, does not appear in Morton Cohen's collec- 
tion Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections. But she 
did share her recollection in an unpublished letter 
to Walter Thomas Spencer, an owner of a bookshop 
on New Oxford Street, London, who dealt in rare 
books and manuscripts.'" Carroll met Birdie in 1874 
when he was staying in Sandown on the Isle of Wight. 
He wrote that he "accidentally struck up an acquain- 
tance" with Florence, calling her a "very pretty child. 
. . ." During the three summers they met in Sandown, 
Carroll records meeting her on the beach, having 
her play piano for himself and others, and, on two 
occasions, attempting to sketch her." Later in life, 
she married John Collie Foster, a manufacturer. To 
make for less distracting reading, each "plus sign" has 
been replaced by an "and," and several commas, so 
graciously employed, have been omitted. 

Aug: 7th 1926. 
W.J. Spencer Esqr. 
Dear Sir, 

Many thanks for cheque. I enclose receipt, with many 
thanks. I wish I had something else of Lewis Carroll's 
to send you, but I have not. By his letters, you will see 
we met at Sandown when I was a little girl of about 9 
years old. He used to have apartments at "Sea View" 
on the front, and we lived at "Bella Vista." He was a 
most charming man, and his one love was for little 
girls. He was a tall, handsome, man with dark hair, 
and grey eyes. One day we were all together on the 
sands, and heavy rain came on, and he hurried us all 
into an empty bathing machine. He said if we were 
good, and sat still, he would tell us a pretty story 
about a little girl, called "Alice." I sat on his knee, and 
he told us, in a short time, the pretty story of "Alice in 
Wonderland. "'- 

I must have had a lot more of his letters, but, as 
the years rolled on, I suppose I've lost them." 

I went to see him at Oxford after I was married 
and took my first baby to see him there. As it hap- 
pened the baby was a boy! He liked him because he 
was mine, but he said "Birdie why didn't you bring 
me a little girl to see?"'^ The walls of his lovely study 
were covered with the most beautiful girl children 
you could ever see. He was great on photography and 
made a study of it. 

I know the house you are sleeping at in Shanklin. 
I hope you have a nice stay, and the weather keeps 

Believe me 

Yours very truly 

Florence M. Foster 


The only surviving words Carroll wrote to John Ten- 
niel about his illustrations for the Alicehooks are stric- 
tures, one to reduce Alice's crinoline and the other to 
eliminate the White Knight's whiskers.'-' Though he 
no doubt deserved and received Carroll's praise for 
many of the creative decisions regarding the illustra- 
tions, no other words to the artist exist. The strictures 
first appeared in the biography by Stuart Collingwood 
Dodgson, who found no need to quote any other pas- 
sages from the letters he had, only adding, "such were 
the directions he was constantly giving." Carroll was 
indeed fastidious, as is seen in the many surviving let- 
ters to other artists. He calculated the crosshatching 
lines per square inch, commented on ankle widths, 
questioned proper proportions, and so on. 

But he was also open-minded on many more occa- 
sions than seems to be realized. He often allowed art- 
ists to be creative and to make decisions on their own. 
This is not to say that he has been misrepresented. It 
must be admitted that letters containing declarations 
of artistic freedom often contain the fastidiousness as 
well, and that some of his kindly worded statements of 
trust in an artist's judgment warrant a well-deserved 
chuckle, as we have every right to doubt his sincerity. 
But in an attempt to even the score, and give Carroll 
the benefit of the doubt, his more lenient, hands-off, 
delegated, relaxed, uninvolved, laissez-faire remarks 
are collected below. 

To Edward Sambourne: As to details, I don't want 
to hamper you with my ideas, as I think an artist 
should be free as to his treatment of a theme, 
the writer only retaining a veto, in case the re- 
sult should be hopelessly at variance with his 
meaning. I will jot down any ideas that occur 
to me as being desirable to introduce, and you 
can use the suggestions, or not, as you choose. 

To Henry Holiday: All these are merely sug- 
gestions: you will be a far better judge of the 
matter than I can be, and perhaps may think 
of some quite different, and better, design. 

To a. B. Frost: Would you look at "The 
Three Voices" ... if it is not sugges- 
tive, look at any other. . . . 

By all means draw a picture, as you pro- 
pose. ... I enclose a scrawl of an idea I 
have for a half-page picture. . . . Don't 
adopt any of it if you don't like it. 

I think the ghost should be transparent, 
but you will be the best judge of that. 

However, if you think you can make him more 
effective with a bald head, so let it be. But please 
make him a gentleman. Another idea occtirred to 
me about him, that, considering he is the nar- 
rator, there would be an appropriate modesty in 
his never sho-wing face. What do you think of it? 


I shall be glad if you can make a good 
frontispiece of this: but if you think you 
can find a better subject, I shall be quite 
disposed to defer to your judgement. 

These are merely suggested subjects. I 
shall be quite content if you reject them, 
and choose other passages to illustrate. 

To Harry Furniss: Generally speaking, I would 
be willing to accept any treatment of a pic- 
ture that you deliberately think best. Still, 
as you have paid me the compliment of ask- 
ing my opinion, I will venture to give it. 

Please remember these are only my ideas, sug- 
gested for you to consider. I shall be quite 
ready to throw them overboard, if you can hit 
off a more funny treatment of the poem. 

Now, having put my ideas before you, 
I leave you free to draw the pictures as 
seems to you the best and funniest. 

Let me mention, while I think of it, 
how much pleased I was at your after- 
thought as to the camel walking away. 

I'll send you nearly all the book in a few 
days, noting what seem to me fit sub- 
jects for the serious pictures. But it will 
be a great help to have ))owr views also, 
as to what you think will draw well. 

. . . what do you think of the Earl, 
Lady M., and Arthur, at tea? In 
house, or garden, as you prefer. 

As to omission of steps ... I leave it entirely to 
your judgement. For myself, I confess I should 
like to have them. . . . However, I am not an 
artist: and it is mainly an arto/tV: question. 

Of course you will understand that these 
are mere suggestions. I am quite prepared 
to throw them all on one side, should 
you fix on other subjects, or find bet- 
ter ways to treating these subjects. 

These suggestions as to sizes are merely tenta- 
tive. If you prefer other sizes, please say so. 

By all means have Sylvie and the Count 
only in the pianoforte picture. The piano 
had better be an "upright," I should think: 
but I leave that point to your decision. 

Wouldn't the Prof, look more comfortable, 
if his feet were covered with the blankets? But 
that is an artistic point, which I leave to you. 

Can you manage to show her kissing the 
drooping hand? I fancy she does so in the 
text: but the picture need not contain it, if 
you prefer to draw it otherwise. I suppose 
you mean Arthur's eyes to be shut? I dare- 
say that will look best. I leave it to you. 

To E. Gertrude Thomson: If you don't think the 
proportions . . . pretty, you can alter them: 
but for 2L full-page picture we have no choice. 

I make all these suggestions with diffidence, 
feeling that I have really no right at all, as an 
amateur, to criticize the work of a real artist. 

I'll dispense with the smilel No doubt 
you are quite right on that point."' 


Only a few of those who have left reminiscences of 
Carroll ventured to specify the color of his eyes. Two 
described them as gray, three as blue — mild, light, 
and deep — and one noncommittal blue or gray. 

"Dreamy grey eyes" (E. Gertrude Thomson) 

"grey eyes" (Florence May Balfour) 

"mild blue eyes" (Violet Dodgson) 

"light-blue eyes" (Ethel Hatch) 

"his eyes were a deep blue" (Isa Bowman) 

"his eyes were blue or gray — all the family had 
blue or gray eyes" (Irene Dodgson Jaques)'^ 

At first glance these descriptions may seem con- 
tradictory. But there are two reasons why they should 
all be considered accurate. First, the color of irises is 
a subjective matter — what may be blue to one may be 
gray to another. As stated in a recent paper on genet- 
ics, the color "exists on a continuum from the lightest 
shades of blue to the darkest of brown or black." In 
the study, as in many others in the field, the scientists 
decided to group gray irises with blue, hazel irises 
with green, and light brown irises with medium and 
dark brown.'** Second, our perception of a person's 
eye color often changes along with the changes in 
ambient light — determined by clothing, the walls, the 
floor, or the sky. These phenomena occur especially 
with lightly colored irises,'^ which, as we shall see, 
Lewis Carroll had. 

With this said, it is probably best to conclude that 
Carroll's eyes were mildly blue with a stress on the 
mildness, rather than simply gray. One relative de- 
scribed them so, and Carroll himself gave the White 
Emight, a character he identified with himself, such 
eyes — "the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the 
Knight,"^" when gray eyes would have suited the char- 
acterization just as well. Ethel Hatch and Isa Bowman 
also confirm the existence of some blue in Carroll's 
eyes, although both likely misuse their qualifying 
words. Ethel may mean light as in little, and Isa may 
mean deep as in subtle, said to be a common mistake.^' 
Light blue eyes are always remarkable, and if Carroll 
had them, there would likely be little room for con- 
fusion. Also, the best photograph of Carroll's eyes, a 
self-portrait taken circa 1857, shows them to be light, 
confirming gray or blue, and certainly ruling out Isa's 
deep description.^^ 

Herbert Von Herkomer's portrait of Carroll, 
which gives him "pale brown" eyes should be consid- 
ered errant. It was commissioned after his death and 
worked on with Thomas Vere Bayne, a good friend of 
Carroll's. Either Bayne misremembered Carroll's eye 
color, a common enough habit when men try to re- 
member the color of someone's eyes, or simply didn't 
care to get them right, although he was discerning 
enough to reject the artist's first attempt.^^ 


Some perspective can be shed on the so-called break 
between Carroll and the Dean's family with a little 
businesslike accounting. Table 1 shows his quarterly 
meetings with the children from the first year he met 
them to the year he published Alice's Adventures in 
Wonderland. They include occurrences when at least 
one girl was present and encompass everything from 
running into them for a few minutes to taking them 
on the river for a day. The split occurred at the end 
of the second quarter for 1863 when Carroll records 
meeting them a record twenty-seven times. His re- 
corded meetings for this quarter far outnumber those 
of the three previous periods and those of all quarters 
in any year (where data is available).-'^ 





^ Incomplete data. 

'' Assumes one meeting with "the Liddells" included 

Being a university man, Carroll led a life regulated 
by the calendar year, necessitating comparisons be- 
tween like quarters. But in this case the data is incom- 
plete for the previous second quarter and all others 
until 1857. There are two pieces of evidence, however, 
which suggest that the twenty-seven meetings were a 
unique and recent development in the relationship for 
this time of year. First, at the end of the first month of 
the heavy second quarter of 1863, Carroll wrote in his 
diary, "There is no variety in my life to record just now 
^xf^/?^ meetings with the Liddells, the record of which 
has become almost continuous."^-' This hints that av- 
eraging to more than two meetings a week for several 
weeks in a row was unusual for any time of year. Sec- 
ond, we do have seven and a half weeks of the thirteen 























weeks of data for the previous second quarter, and the 
mere two meetings (shown in Table 1) only prorate to 
three or four meetings.^''' 

The data is dependent on the probability that 
Carroll kept a diar\' that was as full or accurate in one 
quarter as any other. But arguments can be made that 
his diary was kept to record his social life and that so- 
cial encounters motivated him to take up the diary 
more than all else.^^ Although data may be missing, 
the evidence is still exceptionally suggestive, espe- 
cially with such an extreme anomaly. 

The findings are not contingent on the quar- 
terly division. Similar conclusions can be made with 
a monthly or weekly analysis.-" Also, a more subjective 
analysis, weighing the difference between a five-min- 
ute run-in meeting and a quality-time river expedi- 
tion, would return the same conclusion. In fact, such 
an analysis would only find a greater anomaly, show- 
ing his encounters with the children for the quarter 
with the break to be longer and more involved than 
before. One could even argue that the last three 
months of Carroll's friendship with the family have 
him playing a more avuncular or even fatherly role 
than before. He visits the children at their grandpar- 
ents' home for a few days when their mother is due 
to give birth, distracts the children with a river trip 
when the newly born brother becomes ill, helps the 
children at a bazaar with their stall selling kittens and 
searches for Rhoda when she goes missing, and joins 
the family on a river trip when invited.-^ 

The escalation in the relationship adds a little 
perspective to Mrs. Liddell's claim that Carroll was 
rumored to have been courting the eldest girl, Ina, 
or her governess. It also gives further perspective to 
Ina's claim, made many years later, that Carroll was 
becoming "too affectionate" toward Alice. From the 
perspective of the outside observer of this change in 
the relationship, he is courting the eldest girl or the 
governess, and from that of the inside observer, he is 
being too affectionate toward his favorite. 

15. WHERE there's A WILFRED 

In January 1899, a year after Carroll's death, a no- 
tice appeared in Literature, a precursor to The Times 
Literary Supplement, of a forthcoming book "contain- 
ing some reminiscences of Mr. Dodgson by Miss 
Isa Bowman, one of his nieces." Later that year, in 
November, the book was further described, with Isa 
now being referred to as "the adopted niece of Mr. 
Dodgson" and the "real 'Alice in Wonderland.'"^" 
This last point was not noted as being printed on 
the title page of the book — not having one in their 
possession at the time — but was a description of 
Bowman by the magazine itself. This prompted a let- 
ter from none other than Carroll's brother Wilfred, 
here presented in full and, as far as is known, for the 
first time since 1899: 

Sir, — I have been requested from several quar- 
ters to write to you respecting one sentence in 
a notice contained in your issue of the 18th 
instant of a book about to be published by 
Messrs. Dent, compiled by Miss Isa Bowman 
from letters, diaries, &c., written to and for 
her by my brother, the Revd. C. L. Dodgson 
(Lewis Carroll). 

The sentence I refer to runs thus: — "The 
real 'Alice in Wonderland,' Miss Isa Bowman, 
who was the adopted niece of Mr. Dodgson, 
and who knew him perhaps more intimately 
than any other of his child friends," &c. Now 
"Alice in Wonderland" was published in 1865, 
and had then been in MS. for almost six years," 
so that the "real" Alice must now be of an age 
to which I do not think Miss Bowman would 
like to plead guilty. As is almost universally 
known, the real "Alice" was Miss Alice Liddell, 
now Mrs. Hargreaves, the second daughter of 
the late Dean of Christchurch.'' I believe that 
my brother's acquaintance with Miss Bowman 
dated only from her appearance on the stage 
when his book was first dramatized. It is also a 
little misleading, and has caused some heart- 
burning, to designate Miss Bowman as the ad- 
opted niece. As a matter of fact, my brother 
had almost a mania for "adopting" nieces. 
He was a perfect Uncle Remus amongst chil- 
dren, and, as he has often told me, adopted 
this avuncular position with a view to the time 
when his "nieces" began to grow out of their 
teens and could no longer be treated with any- 
thing like intimate affection except by uncles 
and such-like relations. I know of [a] very 
charming married lady who says that one of 
the conditions she made when she accepted 
her husband was that she might continue to 
be kissed by "Uncle Charles."" I believe I am 
under the mark in saying that he had some- 
thing like fifty "adopted nieces,"'^ many of 
whom probably knew him quite as intimately 
as Miss Bowman could possibly have done. 

My brother's influence with the young 
was almost an inspiration, and I have always 
thought that his love of the stage was given to 
him in order that this influence might be used 
amongst a class of children over whose lives 
influences for good or bad have more than 
ordinary power. His belief in the possibility of 
a pure stage was very deep, and his work to 
that end was incessant and devoted. I believe 
he thought he had a special mission to child 
actresses, and certainly he never lost an op- 
portunity of making friendships with them.''^ 
In some instances his first overtures towards 
acquaintances met with the most chilling re- 


buffs, but, quite undaunted, he persevered, 
and generally succeeded in adding another 
probationer to his list of nieces. 

Apologizing for this somewhat long letter, 
for which I hope you will find room in your 
next issue, 

I remain yours truly, W. L. DODGSON 
The Court, Cleobury North, Bridgnorth, 
Nov. 24, 1899'" 

"We had not the book before us," the editors 
wrote in the following issue, "when we published the 
letter." Seeing that Isa called herself "the Real Alice 
in Wonderland" on the title page, they suggested 
that Wilfred's letter "would perhaps have been bet- 
ter addressed to the author of the book or her pub- 
lisher." Two weeks later, the paper gave the new book 
a positive review. "Altogether — in spite of the mis- 
take on the title page — we are grateful to Miss Bow- 
man, whose book deserves to find many readers."" 


It is quite surprising that no one has attempted to 
publish Tenniel's complete illustrations for Lewis 
Carroll's A/?V^ books. There are quite a few sketches, 
finished drawings, transfer drawings, proof sheets, 
book inscriptions, and Punch parodies that have not 
been reproduced. Readers may believe that they have 
seen many of these rarities, but the fact is that many 
remain hidden away on restricted library shelves. 
Some rarities are often reprinted, while others, of 
equal quality and interest, are forgotten. Even the 
rare "Walrus and Carpenter" parody that graced the 
cover of the Spring 2003 issue of the Knight Letter 'W2ls 
only a detail of a full two-page spread. To date, only 
two books focus on Tenniel rarities: Eleanor Garvey's 
Tenniel's Alice 3.nd ]usiin Schiller's ''Short-Title Index."" ^*^ 
Together the two do not even begin to scratch the 
surface of Tenniel's output. Three other books, Mi- 
chael Hancher's The Tenniel Illustrations to the ''Alice" 
Books, Frankie Morris's Artist of Wonderland, and Mar- 
tin Gardner's The Annotated Alice quite surprisingly 
only contain a handful of rarities. '^ 

Having the collections at Harvard, the New York 
Public Library, the Rosenbach, the Morgan Library, 
the Newberry Library, and other collections, private 
and public, under one cover would have the obvi- 
ous benefits. Not only would readers be able to see 
an illustration's complete development, but they 
would also be able to see the drawings in a book that 
can properly handle the fine detail such artwork 
demands. Too often, these rarities appear muddy or 
too small for any serious enjoyment. 

But the book does not have to begin and end 
with Tenniel. Christ Church Library has a few rare 
items from Carroll and Carroll's brother Wilfred, '*" 

before Tenniel came along, that have never been 
published. And the book could also reprint the some 
of the known forgeries, telling their interesting story 
as well. 

' For the two Duckworth accounts, see Robinson 
Duckworth to Stuart Dodgson Collingwood [n.d.], in 
Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Leiuis Carroll Picture 
Book (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1899), 358-60; and 
Robinson Duckworth to a friend, March 28, 1898, in 
Helmut Gernsheim, Leivis Carroll, Photographer, revised 
edition (New York: Dover, 1969). 

' For the six Carroll references (counting his diary as 
one), see Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 
(London: Macmillan, 1866), prefatory poem; Lewis 
Carroll, Through the Looking-Class (London: Macmillan, 
1872), n.p. (an allusion made in the prefatory poem), 
223-4 (closing poem); Lewis Carroll, July 4, 1862, and 
September 13, 1864, Wakeling, Dianes, 4:94-5, 5:9; 
Lewis Carroll, "'Alice' on the Stage," The Theatre, n.s., 
9 (April 1887): 179-84; Lewis Carroll to E. Gertrude 
Thomson, July 16, 1885, in Morton Cohen and Edward 
Wakeling, Lewis Carroll and His Illustrators: Collaborations 
and Correspondence, 1865-1898 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell 
University Press, 2003), 237. 

^ For Alice's four references, see Alice Hargreaves to the 
editor. The St. James's Gazette, March 1, 1898, reprinted in 
Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Life and Letters of Lewis 
Carroll (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1898), 96; Alice and 
Caryl Hargreaves, "Alice's Recollections of CarroUian 
Days: As Told to her Son," The Cornhill Magazine 73, 
no. 433, n.s. (July 1932): 1-12; Edward Wakeling, "Mrs. 
Hargreaves Comes to the U.S.A." in Proceedings of the 
Second International Lewis Carroll Conference, edited by 
Charlie Lovett (Winston-Salem, NC: Lewis Carroll Society 
of North America), 47-8; David and Maxine Schaefer, 
"Alice's Adventures Overseas," Jabberivocky 11, no. 2 
(Spring 1982): 50-56. Wakeling prints a manuscript in 
Alice's hand which may be her speech given on May 
4, 1932, at Columbia University, and the Schaefers 
transcribe the Paramount newsreel. 

^ Alice and Caryl Hargreaves, "Alice's Recollections," 
7. It is even possible to read this sentence as if she is 
describing the July 4 boat trip. 

' Wakeling, "Mrs. Hargreaves," 48. 

'' Dodgson, June 17, 1862, and May 1, 1863, Wakeling, 
Diaries, 4:81-2, 4:195-6. If Duckworth was the usual 
companion, as Alice claims, he likely took other trips 
during the years not accounted for in Carroll's published 

' Lorina Skene to Alice Hargreaves, May 1, 1930, in 
Edward Wakeling, "Two Letters from Lorina to Alice," 
Jabberwocky 21, no. 4: 91-2. 

** Lorina Skene to Alice Hargreaves, May 2, 1930, ibid. 

** Florence Becker Lennon, The Life of Leivis Carroll: Victoria 
through the Looliing-Glass (New York: Simon and Schuster, 
1945), 192-7. In the end Lennon speculates, "he was 
so much in love with his dream Alice — not necessarily 
the real Alice at all — that he cultivated her attributes 
more and more, and partially became the real Alice in 
'" Walter Thomas Spencer established his bookshop in 
1884. It was described at one time as being near the 
British Museum and opposite Mudie's Library. In a 
pamphlet published in the 1920s, he advertised for 


rarities, manuscripts and letters as well as books. His 
autobiography is a namedropper — Dickens, Thackeray, 
Dovv'son, Wilde, to name a few — and gives such amusing 
chapter topics as "How I nearly acquired the MS. of Jane 
Eyre — ^and why I missed it," "How I bought the MS. of the 
Cricket on the Hearth, and how I sold it," and, more to the 
point here, "My Unpublished Collection of Letters." Alas, 
no mention of Lewis Carroll seems to appear in the book. 
According to one genealog)' website, he was born on May 
5, 1843, and died August 2, 1929, but other dates are 
mentioned elsewhere. See Walter Thomas Spencer, Forty 
Years in My Bookshop, edited and with an introduction 
by Thomas Moult (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1923); 
[Walter T. Spencer], "Books and Prints Specially Wanted 
to Be Purchased by Walter T Spencer" (Derby: Harpur & 
Sons, printers, ca. 1920), http://www.anyamountofbooks. 
com/wts.html (accessed December 8, 2007); for his 
possible genealogy, see 
genealogy/ getperson.php?personID=I2070&tree=001 Mas 
ter (accessed December 8, 2007). 

" For the first meeting, see Lewis Carroll, September 4, 
1874, Wakeling, Diaries, 6:356-7; for other meetings, see 
ibid., 6:358-9, 361, 411, 412, 481. 

'■^ Carroll mentions seeing Birdie on six days in his diary, 
none of which detail this occurrence. But on September 
14, 1874, Carroll wrote, "Tried a picture of Florence 
(alias "Birdie") Balfour, and told a story to Kitty Napier 
and her little friend Ethel Mansen." Neither Kitty nor 
Ethel left reminiscences, but the telling of Alice in a 
bathing-machine could have occurred on this date if it 
did indeed rain and if Birdie was actually included. 

' ' The four letters to Birdie in The Letters of Lewis Carroll, all 
in the Berg Collection in The New York Public Library, fit 
the description of the ones sold to Spencer. 

'^ This incident is not mentioned in Carroll's diary. 

^^ CoUingwood, Life and Letters, 130. 

'" Cohen and Wakeling, Illustrators, 28-9, 40, 41 , 47, 61, 
63, 71, 90, 123, 126, 130, 138, 166, 169, 178, 190, 197, 
199, 221, 237, 258, 285, 333. Before reading the cited 
book in 2003, 1 decided to mark with marginalia all such 
quotations with the idea of presenting them in Knight 
Letter as a book notice. Several years later 1 penciled 
some frantic marginalia in Frankie Morris's book — 'Yes, 
yes, and many more such quotations" — when she made 
the same point, giving four examples: See Frankie 
Morris, Artist of Wonderland: The Life, Political Cartoons, 
and Illustrations ofTenniel (Charlottesville: University of 
Virginia Press, 2005), 144. Sambourne's first name was 
Edward, as Cohen and Wakeling's manuscript correctiy 
had it, and not Edwin as printed. 

'^ Morton Cohen, Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections 
(Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1989), 20, 28, 
90, 111, 235. See above for Florence May Balfour's 

'" Richard A. Sturm and Tony N. Frudakis, "Eye Colour: 
Portals into Pigmentation Genes and Ancestry," TRENDS 
in Genetics20, no. 8 (August 2004): 327 (quoted), 330 
(categorizing eye colors). As stated on Wikipedia, "Gray 
eyes are a variant of blue eyes and are sometimes very 
hard to tell apart" ( 

''^ Larry Bickford, "All About Eye Color," eyecarecontacts. 
com/eyecolor.html (accessed December 3, 2007). The 
page is kept by an ophthalmologist who fits colored 
contact lenses. He writes, "eye color is about reflection of 
ambient light from the structure of the iris. People with 
lightly colored irises note that their eye color changes 
according to the colors they wear." 

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice 

Found There (London: Macmillan, 1872), 176; Jeffrey 

Stern, "Carroll Identifies Himself At Last, or: A Problem 

Solved and a Puzzle Posed," Jabberwocky 19, no. 3 and 4 

(Summer/ Autumn 1990): 18-20. Carroll's objection to 

the whiskers on the White Knight may also owe to his 

basing the character on himself 

"Usually, gray eyes are considered a darker shade of blue 

(like blue-green), where in fact they are lighter" (en. . 

For the best reproduction of this photograph, see Lewis 

Carroll's Alice: The Photographs, Books, Papers and Personal 

Effects of Alice Liddell and Her Family (Sotheby's, 2001), 

8; or see Christina Bjork, The Other Alice: The Story of 

Alice Liddell and Alice in Wonderland (New York: R & S 

Books, 1993), 21. The photograph is also seen opposite 

page 1057 in Letters (top, right), along with another 

photograph that shows light eyes (bottom left). 

Edward Wakeling was kind enough to supply the 

description of Carroll's eyes in the Herkomer portrait, 

along with some history. Private e-mail, November 24, 


Wakeling, Diaries, vols. 1-4, passim. 

Lewis Carroll, April 29, 1863, ibid., 4:195. 

The balance between the first two quarters of 1857 does 

compare to the first two of 1863, showing Carroll is likely 

to increase his meetings with the girls for the spring. 

But 1857 was six years in the past, and the numbers were 

much smaller and therefore less notable. Interestingly, 

the first rumor that Carroll was courting Miss Pricket 

occurred in the second quarter of 1857 (May 17, 1857), 

the second highest total for a quarter. 

Edward Wakeling described the diaries as a "record 

of events and his personal thoughts; a system to help 

him recollect ideas and decisions, and, in paiticular, a 

record of people he met." See Edward Wakeling, "The 

Publication of Lewis Carroll's Private Journal, "/a^^^Tfoc^)) 

22, no. 4 (Autumn 1993): 5. 

From May 1862 to June 1863, Carroll's monthly meetings 

number: 1-1-5-5-0-1-3-2-0-4-4-10-9-8. 

Lewis Carroll, April 4-7, May 26, June 16, and June 

25, 1863 in Wakeling, Diaries, 4:185-7, 200, 206-9, 

213. Another avuncular activity took place in the prior 

quarter when Carroll and his brother Edwin escorted 

Alice around the celebrations on the wedding day of 

the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark 

(March 10, 1863, ibid., 172-3). In the same period 

Carroll made the comment "Destined to meet the 

Liddells perpetuallyjust now" (February 17, 1863, ibid., 


Authors and Publishers, Literature, J^inuarf 28, 1899, 103; 

Authors and Publishers, Literature, November 18, 1899, 


The time between Carroll beginning the manuscript 

(November 13, 1862) and sending the final copies to 

Macmillan (June 27, 1865) is two years, seven months, 

and two weeks. But if this is extended to the date 

Carroll received the first copy of the impression Tenniel 

approved (November 9, 1865), it would be four days 

short of four years. See Carroll, September 13, 1864, 

Wakeling, Diaries, 5:9-10. 

The spelling is curious because Wilfred, along with his 

brother Skeffington, matriculated at Christ Church in 

May, 1856. See Wakeling, Diaries, 2:106 n205. 


The language here — "adopted nieces" and "uncle" — is 
not characteristic of Carroll's diaries and letters. In The 
Letters of Lewis Carroll, Carroll uses the terms "nieces" 
and "uncle" figuratively in only three letters, and all 
three in reference to the children of the novelist George 
MacDonald. See Carroll to Mrs. G. MacDonald, August 
3, 1863; Carroll to Lilia MacDonald, January 5, 1867; and 
Carroll to Mary MacDonald, March 24, 1872, in Cohen, 
Lg«m, 57-60, 95-6, 173. 

To put some perspective on this number, between 1865 
and 1867, Carroll records meeting 70 children under 
twenty for the first time, and 143 in all; between 1875 
and 1877, Carroll records meeting 133 children for 
the first time, and 230 in all. Wilfred's estimate may be 
considered accurate only if we limit Carroll's friendships 
to those who were truly close to him and perhaps to one 
moment in time. See Matthew Demakos, Children Through 
the Decades: Lewis Carroll and His Girls. 
Although it may be possible to defend Wilfred's 
description of Carroll having a "special mission," it 
certainly does not come forth strongly in a reading of 
Carroll's diaries, letters, and papers. He was not involved 
in any program to protect or govern the use of theater 
children in productions, and his letter responding 
to ladies who wished to limit the age of children in 
the theater to under ten is more condescending than 
helpful, only defending the practice on economic 
grounds, and mistakenly using the example of a ten- 
and twelve-year-old, when only the seven-year-old would 
have fallen into the category needing protection. Also, 
according to his bank account, he did not support any 
such society or charity, although indeed some charities 
may have covered child actresses. Meeting child actresses 
happened to be an honesdy good way to befriend 

children of his liking, namely, those who were attractive 
and outgoing, two qualities theater children by definition 
usually po.ssess. See Carroll to the St. James's Gazette,]\x\y 
16, 1887, in Wakeling, Diaries, 8:349-52; Jenny Woolf, 
Lewis Carroll in His Own Account: The Complete Bank 
Account of the Rev. C. L. Dodgson (Chippenham, England: 
Jabberwocky Press, 2005), 34-6. 

Authors and Publishers, Literature, December 2, 1899, 

Authors and Publishers, Literature, December 9, 1899, 
575; Other New Books, Literature, December 23, 1899, 

Eleanor Garvey, TennieTs Alice: Drawings by Sir John Tenniel 
/or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the 
Looking-Glass (Cambridge: Harvard College Library, 
1978); Selwyn H. Goodacre andjusdn G. Schiller, Alice's 
Adventures in Wonderland: An 1865 Printing Re-Described and 
Newly Identified as the Publisher's "File Copy " with a Revised 
and Expanded Census of the Suppressed 1865 "Alice" Compiled 
by Sehvyn H. Goodacre to Which is Added a Short-Title Index 
Identifying and Locating the Original Preliminary Drawings 
by John Tenniel for Alice and Looking-Glass Catalogued by 
Justin G. Schiller {Kingston, New York: The Jabberwocky, 

Michael Hancher, The Tenniel Illustrations to the "Alice" 
Books (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1985); 
Morris, Artist of Wonderland; Martin Gardner, The 
Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (New York: W. W. 
Norton, 2000). 

Edward Wakeling describes these as test pictures for 
Under Ground, with a couple being signed "W. L. D." 
Some may have been made into postcards. Postcards? 
Have I proven my point? 


Carmen HortuUni \nsmi / *' Garlemr's Smi 

T\rt TT TTT~»T^U U A T T 17' 1 " 1 ' V^^ 



He thought he saw an Elephant 
That practised on a fife: 
He looked again, and found it was 
A letter from his wife. 
'At length I realize,' he said, 
'The bitterness of Life.' 

He thought he saw a Buffalo 
Upon the chimney-piece: 
He looked again, and found it was 
His Sister's Husband's Niece. 
'Unless you leave this house,' he said, 
'I'll send for the police.' 

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake 
That questioned him in Greek: 
He looked again, and found it was 
The Middle of Next Week. 
'The one thing I regret,' he said, 
'Is that it cannot speak.' 

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk 

Descending from the 'bus: 

He looked again, and found it was 

A Hippopotamus. 

'If this should stay to dine,' he said, 

'There won't be much for us.' 

He thought he saw an Argument 
That proved he was the Pope: 
He looked again, and found it was 
A Bar of Motded Soap. 
'A fact so dread,' he faintly said. 
Extinguishes all hope.' 

Visus sibi est elephan- 
tus, tibia ludens: 
Tuenti bis erat uxor 
Epistulas scribens. 
'Acerbitatem vitae ag- 
nosco,' dixit lugens. 

Visus sibi est prati 
bos, in camino sedens: 
Tuenti bis erat soro- 
ris affinis parens. 
'Nisi exeas, vigiles 
vocem,' dixit furens. 

Visus sibi est coluber 
Se Graece inquirens: 
Tuenti bis erat dies 
Mercuri veniens. 
'Paenitet unius, silen- 
tii,' dixit dolens. 

Visus sibi est argenta- 
rius, currum linquens: 
Tuenti bis erat equus 
Fluminis et ingens. 
'Esuriam si hie cena- 
bit,' dixit irascens. 

Visa sibi est ratio, 

Pontificem probans: 

Tuenti bis erat sapo 

Versicolor, quadrans. 

'Factum omnem exstinguit spem 

Atrox,' dixit mussans. 

Latin lyrics by Judith Peller Hallett, Professor 
of Classics, University of Maryland, College 
Park, Maryland, who would like to thank 
Stanley Farrow, Latinist and musician 
extraordinaire, for his suggestion "that 
enabled me to retain Carroll's internal rhyme 
in the final stanza. " 


Jett Jackson's Stuck in Wonderland 


^ven those who have (gasp) never actually 
Iread Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and 
its sequel have probably seen one or more 
adaptations in one medium or another, and know 
that, in the end, Alice triumphs over the Queens and 
escapes the ever-madder realms of Wonderland and 
Looking-Glass Land for a presumably saner world. 
But what if Alice hadn't gotten out? That is the simple 
yet amusingly provocative premise behind artist Jett 
Jackson's latest Alice-ihemed artwork. Stuck in Wonder- 
land, and to my eye there is a difference in tone worth 
noting in this latest creation, in comparison with her 
earlier A/ec^ projects. 

In a number of previous works {Leaves, KL 52), 
Jackson has depicted Alice as an aloof, sexually ma- 
ture young woman with voluptuous golden curls and 
a penchant for revealing a bit of bosom — in other 
words, an Alice the original author would never have 
presented, and one more likely to provoke than 
please Carroll "traditionalists." In Stuck, however, 
Jackson finds a delightful middle ground and mines 
it to great effect. Here, Alice's Disney-blonde hair 
hangs down utterly straight — in simplicity, defeat, or 
perhaps both. And her trademark white pinafore is 
rendered for humor and irony, not sexual provoca- 
tion, because this time, that archetypal garment has 
subtly morphed into a waitress's uniform. And while 
in some of Jackson's previous works Alice seemed to 
exert some measure of control, in this latest work, 
Alice is exactly what the title says: stuck. 

The familiar Wonderland and Looking-Glass 
Land characters surround her, carrying on what ap- 
pears to be a particularly out-of-control un-birthday 
party, while Alice stands center, looking away from it 
all. Her expression is inscrutable — as it is in previous 
Jackson works, and arguably as it is in Tenniel's origi- 
nal images — but this time there seems to be a hint 
of bittersweet dreaming behind the blankness. While 
the revelers cavort red-nosed around her, Alice looks 
out almost at us, almost a latter-day Mona Lisa. Is she 
dreaming of being back under the tree, wide awake, 
while her older sister reads a pictureless history book, 
or of posing for Mr. Dodgson's photographs in his 
rooms at Oxford, or perhaps just of resting her ach- 
ing dogs on an old ottoman in a tiny East Village 

studio? Jackson playfully invites us to speculate. And 
while we're with Alice in this "No Exit" Wonderland 
Diner, Jackson also invites us to take a long, detailed 
look at the dive in which our heroine finds herself 

Given the number of tattoos on her arm (this is 
still not a purist's Alice) , one has the feeling that poor 
Alice has been there for quite some time. Her ink- 
ings range from story-related (a white rabbit, a white 
rose half-painted red) to surreal homage (a melting 
Dali watch, a favorite Jackson "quote" and especially 
apt, as this work is offered via the Dali Society). And 
Alice's customers? Evidently it's always beer time 
here. The Queen of Hearts is out cold, head on the 
table, still clutching a bottle. The similarly incapaci- 
tated dormouse, replete with his own tiny bottle and 
a mysterious little fez, hangs draped out of Alice's 
apron pocket. The Tweedles are literally cross-eyed, 
and most of the other characters are doing their best 
to catch up. 

Only a few of the many creatures crowded into 
the diner still have their wits about them: the Duchess 
is busily wolfing down a huge plate of spaghetti, a sec- 
ond waitress in 1950s glasses efficiently plows through 
the addled crowd with her tray, and the short-order 
cook is making a lobster dish with one hand while 
tossing a Humpty omelette with the other. Part of the 
fun of this work is scanning it for the thematic visual 
jokes tucked here and there (check out the Specials 
board and the items on Alice's tray, for example). 

In the midst of all the madness, large as life and 
twice as detached, stands our heroine, with her crisp 
uniform, "Alice" name tag, and smiley-face button. 
Just as Carroll did with his original stories, Jackson 
gives us an Alice who is a stranger in a strange land, 
performing tasks that are beneath her with some 
measure of grace, in a world crammed with creatures 
behaving badly — in other words, someone with whom 
we can all identify. But even if this Alice hasn't yet 
found the exit, Jackson seems to be giving us a tiny bit 
of hope that one day she may. Or at least, that's the 
way I choose to see it. 

Stuck in Wonderland is presented as a signed, 
hand-pulled serigraph on high-quality paper in a 
rainbow of colors. It is being sold in a limited edition 


Jett Jackson's Stuck in Wonderland (actual artwork is in full color) 

of 500 (250 U.S. and 250 U.K.), and is listed at $2500, 
although LCSNA members are entitled to a 20% dis- 
count. Even if this artwork is not something you in- 
tend to add to your personal collection, if you've a 
healthy sense of humor about contemporary render- 
ings of Alice and an appreciation of artistic talent in 
general, I encourage you to explore and enjoy this 
witty work. It rewards repeated viewings — and that is, 
after all, one of the hallmarks of satisfying art. The 
image and more information can be found at www. 


After writing about the work Stuck in Wonderland, I 
interviewed artist Jett Jackson to hear her take on it 
and on her history of Alice projects. Ms. Jackson is an 
extremely amiable conversationalist, eager to discuss 
what she puts into her work, and what others think of 
it. She estimated that she has created around a thou- 
sand paintings so far in her career. She noted that in 
general, she tends to fill her works with references to 
world art history, love, melancholy, and humor, with a 
slight nod to cartoons. Surrealism is a favorite device, 
although she does not consider herself a surrealist in 
the strict sense. She explained that a number of the 
image choices in Stuck, including some characters, 
occur in some of her earlier works, and as a result, 
her pieces tend to contain something of a personal 
art history as well. 

Despite an avowed openness to the sensual side 
of life, she stated that she is surprised when viewers 
sometimes "over-sexualize" her Alice images. Yet at 
the same time, she acknowledged a joy in tweaking 
or provoking her audience. In one of her Carroll- 
themed works, Alice at the Barbeque, Alice is grilling 
the white rabbit — literally. Not all of Jackson's Alice 
images are that extreme, but she did note that her se- 
ries has strong themes of the heroine seizing control 
over an unfair world, and even meting out a diva's 
revenge in some cases. When asked where her ideas 
for a new piece come from, Jackson said she felt that 
"The more I put myself out on a limb personally, the 
more people would be likely to connect with it." But 
Jackson readily agreed that while Stuck still has wild el- 
ements, its message is gentler. She said she reworked 
Alice's face many times to find the right balance in 
the expression. 

Jackson noted with amusement that she herself 
has long blond hair and blue eyes, and that compari- 
sons to Alice are inevitable, if not necessarily accu- 
rate. She is only too aware of all the Alice-loving artists 
and readers out there: "I was extremely conscious of 
the fact that there would be an audience very knowl- 
edgeable of the original illustrations. And I wanted to 
honor those images, as I loved them too! I like bring- 
ing Alice into the modern world." Among Jackson's 
works-in-progress is an Alice-themed carousel sculp- 
ture. Some of her non-Alice art can be seen at www. 




'^"^->f — 

vvery writer has his or her own way of learn- 
ling to write. And there are two kinds of 
teachers. First, there are the visible teach- 
ers, who stand before us in the classroom, read our 
work, point out our strengths and weaknesses, and 
challenge us to write better. Second, there are the in- 
visible teachers, those writers from whom we learn, 
quite unconsciously, what we may not use for years, 
until we need it. For me, that writer was Lewis Carroll. 
Before I tell you what he taught me, let me say a few 
words about how I happened to find him. 

The rambling old house I grew up in was full of 
books, many of them left by the previous owner of the 
house, who had bought them to fill his empty shelves 
so that he would appear at least as well educated as 
his neighbors. Among the Victorian poetry antholo- 
gies with their pages still uncut and the beautifully 
bound sets of Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Ste- 
venson, I found a treatise on the human body written 
for the young, which claimed that all my bodily func- 
tions were governed by magic dwarves. One dwarf 
inhabited my liver, another lived in the chambers of 
my heart. If I had a stomach ache, I could be certain 
that the dwarf who occupied my intestines was throw- 
ing a tantrum. An illustration showed him scattering 
gumdrops and chocolates still wrapped in foil, like a 
maddened child. 

And there was an etiquette book which I thought 
was fiction because it contained a chapter on how to 
behave when you met the Queen, and the description 
of what to wear on this occasion seemed straight out 
of a French fairy tale: 

A Court or presentation dress must be amply 
trained, and with it a head dress, consisting of 
a white veil and three ostrich feathers, must 
be worn. Any competent and fashionable Lon- 
don dressmaker knows what a Court dress 
should be like, and can guide and direct her 
customer safely in the management of the all- 
important details. A Court dress for a young 
and unmarried woman is always in best taste 
when its fabric is white and diaphanous. A 
young lady, unless a matron, should not wear 
diamonds, nor even many pearl ornaments on 
her presentation, and she should be careful to 

learn well beforehand how to enter the royal 
presence, to curtsey, to kiss the Queen's hand, 
and then how to find her way gracefully out of 
the long room in which the great personages 
are assembled.' 

As a child growing up in a small town in Michi- 
gan, I was not likely to need this information, which is 
why I remember it. 

It was on one of these bookshelves in our house 
that I first met Lewis Carroll. I read Alice's Adventures 
in Wonderland on a summer's day, when I was eight 
years old, curled up on our back porch in Ann Arbor, 
and I had just reached chapter four and was reading 
quietly to myself until I came to the following pas- 

"Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?" 
"Sure, it's an arm, yer honour!" (He pro- 
nounced it "arrum.") 

"An arm, you goose! Who ever heard of one 
that size? Wliy, it fills the whole window!" 

"Sure, it does, yer honour: but it's an arm 
for all that." 

"Well, it's got no business there, at any rate: 
go and take it away!" 

There was a long silence after this, and 
Alice could only hear whispers now and then; 
such as "Sure, I don't like it, yer honour, at all, 
at all!" "Do as I tell you, you coward!" and at 
last she spread out her hand again and made 
another snatch in the air. This time there were 
tzvo little shrieks, and more sounds of broken 
glass. "What a number of cucumber-frames 
there must be!" thought Alice. "I wonder what 
they'll do next! As for pulling me out of the 
window, I only wish they could! I'm sure / 
don't want to stay in here any longer!" 

She waited for some time without hearing 
anything more: at last came a rumbling of lit- 
tle cart-wheels, and the sound of a good many 
voices all talking together: she made out the 
words: "Where's the other ladder? — Why, I 
hadn't to bring but one. Bill's got the other — 
Bill! Fetch it here, lad! — Here, put 'em up at 
this corner — No, tie 'em together first — they 


don't reach half high enough yet — Oh, they'll 
do well enough. Don't be particular — Here, 
Bill! Catch hold of this rope — Will the roof 
bear? — Mind that loose slate — Oh, it's coming 
down! Heads below!" (a loud crash) — "Now, 
who did that? — It was Bill, I fancy — Who's 
to go down the chimney? — Nay, /shan't! You 
do it! — That I won't, then! — Bill's got to go 
down — Here, Bill! The master says you've got 
to go down the chimney!" 

"Oh! So Bill's got to come down the chim- 
ney, has he?" said Alice to herself. "Why, they 
seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn't 
be in Bill's place for a good deal; this fireplace 
is narrow, to be sure; but I think I can kick a 

By this time I was laughing so hard that my 
mother came out to see if there was somebody with 
me. In all my reading of fantasy and fairy tales, never 
before had I come across a scene which included dia- 
logue that was so strongly rooted in everyday speech. 
The speakers did not talk like characters in a fairy 
tale, they talked like real people. And only much later 
did I notice something even more remarkable: Car- 
roll accurately reproduces the experience of hearing 
a group of people all talking at once. 

Tenniel's illustrations give us the pleasure of see- 
ing the characters. But what made them come alive 
on the page for me was their voices, including the 
conversations that Alice had with herself as she fell 
down the rabbit hole. Since both my sister and I often 
talked to ourselves after our mother put us to bed 
and turned off the light, this did not seem to me so 
much a literary device as a realistic one. So you might 
say that one of the first lessons my invisible teacher 
showed me was the power of dialogue to tell a story. 

Long before I even knew what dialogue was, I was 
drawn to stories written in such a way that I felt a real 
person was speaking to me. Indeed, some of my favor- 
ite writers were also storytellers. You have only to look 
at the opening sentence of "The Snow Queen" to 
know that Hans Christian Andersen was accustomed 
to telling stories to a gathering of listeners that he did 
not necessarily know: "All right, we will start the story; 
when we come to the end we shall know more than 
we do now." In the notes he wrote on his own work, 
Andersen says, "I wanted the style to be such that the 
reader felt in the presence of the storyteller; there- 
fore the spoken language had to be used. I wrote the 
stories for children, but older people ought to find 
them worth listening to."- 

Carroll's audience was entirely different. He 
knew the children to whom he told the stories. These 
occasions were a private gathering, not a public event, 
and he did not feel the need to create the voice of a 
storyteller, and therefore when he includes remarks 
addressed to the listener, the tone he uses is far more 
intimate, suitable for a drawing room. Everyone here 
will remember Alice's reflections as she falls down 
the rabbit hole. She rehearses what she might say to 
the first person she meets, and she tries to curtsey. 
"Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?" 
At this point the author breaks into the narrative 
with a challenge for the reader: "... fancy, curtseying 
as you're falling through the air! Do you think you 
could manage it?" 

Having read in the etiquette books about the im- 
portance of a well-executed curtsey, I felt great sym- 
pathy for Alice. 

Carroll's asides to the reader not only bring us 
into the circle of listeners bixt they also give Carroll 
the chance to tell us more about Alice than she can 
directly tell us herself. You remember her attempt, 
as she is swimming in the pool of tears, to enlist the 
aid of a mouse. "O Mouse, do yotx know the way out 
of this pool? I am very tired of swimming about here, 
O Mouse!" 

Carroll follows this with an aside, which like 
so many of the remarks he addresses to the reader, 
opens with a parenthesis: 

(Alice thought this must be the right way of 
speaking to a mouse: she had never done 
such a thing before, but she remembered hav- 
ing seen, in her brother's Latin Grammar, "A 
mouse — of a mouse — to a mouse — a mouse — 
O mouse!") The mouse looked at her rather 
inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with 
one of its little eyes, but it said nothing. 

Many years after I'd first read AAIW, I took a 
course in eighteenth-century literature, and found 
when I read the fiction of Laurence Sterne and 
Henry Fielding that I was already very familiar with 


their technique of interrupting the narrative with 
asides to the reader. Lewis Carroll had taught me 
well. I did not realize until I grew up that what Car- 
roll was really teaching me was the art of conversation 
as a storytelling device. In the opening sentence of 
AAIW, Alice's response to her sister's book makes its 
importance clear: "what is the use of a book without 
pictures or conversations?" The old etiquette books 
in our house had a great deal to say on the subject of 
conversation, and indeed there was one book, What to 
Talk About: The Clever Question, entirely devoted to the 
subject. The preface described conversation as the art 
of drawing people together through a common inter- 
est in a variety of subjects. A good conversationalist 
does not talk excessively about himself. 

Alice is especially conscious of this art whenever 
she encounters a stranger who has no regard for it, as 
in the opening of chapter five: 

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other 
for some time in silence: at last the Caterpil- 
lar took the hookah out of its mouth, and ad- 
dressed her in a languid, sleepy voice, 
"Who are youT' asked the Caterpillar. 

This was not an encouraging opening for a con- 
versation. Even less encouraging is Alice's encounter 
with the White Queen in chapter five of Through the 
Looking-Glass. The White Queen has lost her shawl 
and Alice catches it and also catches sight of the 
Queen running through the woods. Alice goes to 
meet her with the shawl. 

"I'm very glad I happened to be in the way," 
Alice said, as she helped her to put on her 
shawl again. The White Queen only looked at 
her in a helpless frightened sort of way, and 
kept repeating something in a whisper to 
herself that sounded like "Bread-and-butter, 
bread-and-butter," and Alice felt that if there 
was to be any conversation at all, she must 
manage it herself. So she began rather timidly: 
"Am I addressing the White Queen?" 

"Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing," the 
Queen said. "It isn't my notion of the thing, 
at all." 

Alice thought it would never do to have 
an argument at the very beginning of their 
conversation, so she smiled and said, "If your 
Majesty will only tell me the right way to begin, 
I'll do it as well as I can." 

In both the Alice books, the plot is not a series of 
events that keep us in suspense but rather Alice's con- 
versations with a cast of characters unlike any she — or 
the reader — has ever met. When the White Rabbit 
makes his appearance muttering, "Oh dear! Oh dear! 
I shall be too late!" Carroll hints in a parenthetical 
comment that the story he's about to tell might be a 

dream: "when she thought it over afterwards, it oc- 
curred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, 
but at the time it all seemed quite natural." And in 
TTLG, when Alice finds herself dancing around in a 
ring with Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the narrative 
briefly fast-forwards to beyond the end of the story. 

"But it certainly was funny," (Alice said after- 
wards, when she was telling her sister the his- 
tory of all this), "to find myself singing 'Here we 

go round the mulberry bush. ' " 

The scene ends with a query about the etiquette 
of conversation. Tweedledum and Tweedledee have 
suddenly stopped dancing. 

Then they let go of Alice's hands, and stood 
looking at her for a minute: there was a rather 
awkward pause, as Alice didn't know how to 
begin a conversation with people she had just 
been dancing with. "It would never do to say 
'How d'ye do?' now," she said to herself: "we 
seem to have got beyond that, somehow." 

Thanks to the ubiquitous presence of cell phones, 
we have all had the experience of eavesdropping on 
casual conversations. Lewis Carroll takes casual con- 
versation to a new level, because his characters see 
conversation as a kind of game. They know the rules. 
Even when Alice is conversing with herself, she has 
a respect for facts and a curiosity that allows her to 
speculate on where she is and who she has become. 

"I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this 
time?" she said aloud. "I must be getting some- 
where near the centre of the earth. Let me 
see: that would be four thousand miles down, 
I think — " (for, you see, Alice had learnt sev- 
eral things of this sort in her lessons in the 
schoolroom, and though this was not a very 
good opportunity for showing off her knowl- 
edge, as there was no one to listen to her, still 
it was good practice to say it over) " — ^yes, that's 
about the right distance — but then I won- 
der what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?" 
(Alice had not the slightest idea of what Lati- 
tude was, or Longitude either, but she thought 
they were nice grand words to say.) 

Falling down the rabbit hole with no notion of 
where you will land would terrify all of us. There are 
plenty of fairy tales in which characters find them- 
selves falling into underground chambers, and the 
sense of danger is overwhelming. But two things de- 
fuse that fear here. The first is Alice's level-headed 
response to the dangers of the unknown. The second 
is the reassuring presence of the storyteller himself. 
We hear his voice in his asides to the reader, remind- 
ing us that he is in charge of these events. And we 
are not surprised when at last we read "suddenly, 


thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of 
sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over. Alice was 
not a bit hurt. . . ." 

What's remarkable about the Alice books is the 
number of alarming situations Carroll introduces and 
skillfully turns into events both curious and comic. 
When the Queen of Hearts shouts, "Off with their 
heads," the order is never carried out, because this 
is child's play. Alice knows this when she meets the 
Queen and says to herself, "Why, they're only a pack 
of cards, after all. I needn't be afraid of them!" The 
repeated image of games, whether croquet or chess 
or riddles, reminds us that the storyteller is in con- 
trol here, not the Queen. But the Queen of Hearts 
is as mild as a kitten compared to the Jabberwock. 
We know that Tenniel's illustration of the Jabberwock 
was intended to be the frontispiece of the book, but 
Carroll had second thoughts about it. I quote from 
the letter he sent to about thirty mothers, soliciting 
their opinions: 

I am sending you, with this, a print of the 
proposed frontispiece for Through the Looking- 
glass. It has been suggested to me that it is too 
terrible a monster, and likely to alarm nervous 
and imaginative children; and that at any rate 
we had better begin the book with a pleasanter 
subject. So I am submitting the question to a 
number of friends, for which purpose I have 
had copies of the frontispiece printed off.^^ 

There are a number of ways Carroll creates 
a comfortable distance between his monster and 
those nervous and imaginative children. Take, for 
example, his vocabulary. The nonsense vocabulary 
of "Jabberwocky" does not impede the action, it 
protects us and diverts us from the gory details. 
Alice's response to the whiffling burbling fire-eyed 
Jabberwock and its demise is a model of common 
sense: ". . . somebody killed something: that's clear, 
at any rate — ." Second, the monster exists only on 
the pages of the book Alice holds up to the mirror. 
It is not rampaging around the garden of live flow- 
ers. Third, the Jabberwock has been tamed by the 
meter and stanzas of the poem in which he lives. If 
you can sing it, clap it, or recite it, you have con- 
quered the Jabberwock. 

One advantage of using conversation as a nar- 
rative device is the opportunity to include poetry. 
When Tweedledee entertains Alice with a recitation 
of "The Walrus and the Carpenter," he is surely aware 
that the death of the oysters at the hands, paws, and 
jaws of the Walrus and the Carpenter is not a pleas- 
ant tale, but this aspect goes almost unnoticed when 
sung or recited in a poem. When my son was very 
young, we had a recording of TTLG read by Cyril 
Ritchard, and we played it so often that I could not 
get certain stanzas and phrases out of my head. 

'A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said, 

'Is what we chiefly need: 
Pepper and vinegar besides 

Are very good indeed — 
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear. 

We can begin to feed.' 

One day I was much amused to find a letter 
painstakingly printed by my son which included two 
Cheerios^"^ box tops and a request for a toy car ad- 
vertised on the back of the cereal package. The letter 
started this way: "What I chiefly need is the toy car in 
the picture." 

When my son was little, I used to read aloud to 
him every night. And what did I read to him? The 
books I had loved as a child. If I had not reread the 
book since my own childhood, I would ask myself, 
before I read it to him, what scenes or characters I 
remembered. Later I would ask myself what scenes 
I'd forgotten. The scenes and characters I never 
forgot told me something about what makes a good 
children's book. Since I have never stopped read- 
ing the Alice books, I have to ask myself the question 
differently. What scenes or chapters did you reread 
over and over when you were a child? That question 
is easy to answer: the third chapter in TTLG, called 
"Looking-Glass Insects." The extended conversation 
between Alice and the Gnat raises a question that 
probably very few of us have ever thought to ask: Why 
do insects have names? 

"What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where 
you come from?" the Gnat inquired. 

"I don't rejoice in insects at all," Alice ex- 
plained, "because I'm rather afraid of them — 
at least the large kinds. But I can tell you the 
names of some of them." 

"Of course they answer to their names?" the 
Gnat remarked carelessly. 

"I never knew them to do it." 

"What's the use of their having names," the 
Gnat said, "if they won't answer to them?" 

"No use to them," said Alice, "but it's useful 
to the people that name them, I suppose. If 
not, why do things have names at all?" 

Learning the names of animals and flowers and 
stars was certainly familiar to me as a child. My father 
was a professor of chemistry with a strong interest in 
the natural world, especially butterflies, minerals, and 
fossils, and much of his pleasure came from identifying 
them. Because my father was a great deal older than 
my mother, and because my sister and I were born very 
late in his life, he did not relate easily to small chil- 
dren. One way I could get his attention was by sharing 
his passion for identifying things. Identifying a but- 
terfly meant naming it. Swallowtail. Monarch. Mourning 
Cloak. Painted Lady. Skipper. Naming it did not help you 


to see or admire the butterfly, only to recognize it. But 
if you could identify it, you could begin to understand 
its place in the natural order of things. 

So the question-and-answer conversation between 
Alice and the Gnat was familiar to me. Having warned 
Alice that further on in the wood things have no 
names (notice that he does not say lose their names), 
he urges her to "go on with your list of insects: you're 
wasting time." Alice names three common insects, but 
the Gnat's description of their exotic equivalents in 
the Looking-glass world suggests that looking-glass in- 
sects were invented by human hands and are entirely 
dependent on human activities. Here is the conversa- 
tion between Alice and the Gnat. (I have omitted the 
comments on what Alice is thinking): 

Alice: Well, there's the Horse-fly. 

Gnat: All right. Half-way up that bush, you'll 
see a Rocking-horse-fly, if you look. It's 
made entirely of wood, and gets about by 
swinging itself from branch to branch. 

Alice: What does it live on? 

Gnat: Sap and sawdust. Go on with the list. 

Alice: And there's the Dragon-fly. 

Gnat: Look on the branch above your head, and 
there you'll find a Snap-dragon-fly. Its body is 
made of plum-pudding, its wings of holly-leaves, 
and its head is a raisin burning in brandy. 

Alice: And what does it live on? 

Gnat: Frumenty and mince-pie. 

Alice: And then there's the Butterfly. 

Gnat: Crawling at your feet, you may ob- 
serve a Bread-and-butter-fly. Its wings are 
thin slices of bread-and-butter, its body is 
a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar." 

Alice: And what does it live on? 
Gnat: Weak tea with cream in it. 

The tone of this exchange is academic, rather like 
an oral exam. When I was a child, its impersonal sci- 
entific tone inspired me to make a little guide book to 
the fauna of the looking-glass world, in case I ever did 
find a way of getting there. In the meantime, I had a 
great longing to construct some of these insects so I 
could see them for myself. The bread and butter and 
tea and a lump of sugar would be easy to assemble, 
but the plum-pudding and holly and the raisin burn- 
ing in brandy could only be had at Christmas, and I 
was pretty sure that frumenty, whatever that was, was 
not available in Ann Arbor. 

Carroll locates the wood where things have no 
names not far from the tree under which the con- 
versation with the gnat has taken place, and the de- 
scription is brief: "it looked much darker than the last 
wood." Because Alice is fond of talking to herself, the 

reader sees through her eyes the experience of names 
disappearing. And here is how she describes it: 

"Well, at any rate it's a great comfort," she said 
as she stepped under the trees, "after being so 
hot, to get into the — into the — into what?" she 
went on, rather surprised at not being able to 
think of the word. "I mean to get under the — 
under the — under this, you know!" putting 
her hand on the trunk of the tree. "What does 
it call itself, I wonder? I do believe it's got no 
name — why, to be sure it hasn't!" 

Alice's experience here is quite unlike the in- 
ability to remember a name that many older people 
experience. A name that slips from your memory is 
still there, and what can't be immediately called up 
will eventually return. But entering the wood where 
things have no names is a different kind of loss. It is as 
if the air itself cannot hold the names. The wood has 
made all the inhabitants equal, and with their names 
erased, conventional ways of seeing each other have 
also vanished. As Carroll describes it, the human child 
and the fawn are walking in a kind of Eden, where 
the lion lies down with the lamb. It is Alice's response 
to all this that hides the dark side of the woods. To 
remind you of that, let me read you Jean-Paul Sartre's 
description of what happens when names no longer 
fit the objects to which they belong. The speaker is 
the narrator in his novel Nausea. 

So I was in the park just now. The roots of 
the chestnut tree were sunk in the ground 
just under my bench. I couldn't remember it 
was a root any more. The words had vanished 
and with them the significance of things, their 
methods of use, and the feeble points of refer- 
ence which men have traced on their surface. 
I was sitting, stooping forward, head bowed, 
alone in front of this black, knotty mass, en- 
tirely beastly, which frightened me.^ 


Earlier in this talk I mentioned Carroll's skill at 
walking a fine line between what might amuse chil- 
dren and what would almost certainly terrify them. 
It's likely that many children would prefer to face the 
Jabberwock than find themselves lost and alone in a 
familiar place that has suddenly turned hostile. I dis- 
covered George Macdonald at about the same time 
I discovered Lewis Carroll, and will never forget the 
scene in The Princess and the Goblin in which the prin- 
cess Irene loses her way in her own home. We are 
told that she opened a door which showed her 

a curious old stair of worm-eaten oak, which 
looked as if never any one had set foot upon 
it. She had once before been up six steps, and 
that was sufficient reason, in such a day, for 
trying to find out what was at the top of it. 

Up and up she ran — such a long way it 
seemed to her! until she came to the top of 
the third flight. There she found the landing 
was the end of a long passage. Into this she 
ran. It was full of doors on each side. There 
were so many of them that she did not care 
to open any, but ran on to the end, where she 
turned into another passage, also full of doors. 
When she had turned twice more, and still saw 
doors and only doors about her, she began to 
get frightened. It was so silent! And all those 
doors must hide rooms with nobody in them! 
That was dreadful. Also the rain made a great 
trampling noise on the roof. She turned and 
started at full speed, her little footsteps echo- 
ing through the sounds of the rain — back for 
the stairs and her safe nursery. So she thought, 
but she had lost herself long ago. It doesn't 
follow that she was lost, because she had lost 
herself, though. 

She ran for some distance, turned several 
times, and then began to be afraid. Very soon 
she was sure that she had lost the way back. 
Rooms everywhere, and no stair! . . . Noth- 
ing but passages and doors everywhere! She 
threw herself on the floor, and began to wail 
and cry.'^ 

At first glance, this scene has a good deal in com- 
mon with the room at the bottom of the rabbit hole 
in which Alice finds herself. 

. . . she jumped up on to her feet in a mo- 
ment: she looked up, but it was all dark over- 
head: before her was another long passage, 
and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hur- 
rying down it. There was not a moment to be 
lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was 
just in time to hear it say, as it turned a cor- 
ner, "Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's 

getting!" She was close behind it when she 
turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no lon- 
ger to be seen: she found herself in a long, 
low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps 
hanging from the roof. 

There were doors all round the hall, but 
they were all locked, and when Alice had been 
all the way down one side and up the other, 
trying every door, she walked sadly down the 
middle, wondering how she was ever to get 
out again. 

Suddenly she came upon a little three- 
legged table, all made of solid glass: there was 
nothing on it but a tiny golden key, and Alice's 
first idea was that this might belong to one 
of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the 
locks were too large, or the key was too small, 
but at any rate it would not open any of them. 
However, on the second time round, she came 
upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, 
and behind it was a little door about fifteen 
inches high: she tried the little golden key in 
the lock, and to her great delight it fitted! 

Alice opened the door and found that it 
led into a small passage, not much larger than a 
rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the 
passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. 

The difference here is not so much in the details 
of place as in the reactions of the characters to their 
new surroundings. In Macdonald's story it is the emp- 
tiness and the silence which frighten the princess. 
She is, it seems, the only living thing in this place 
and there is no one who can help her. Alice's circum- 
stances are more complicated. Having drunk the con- 
tents of the bottle she finds on the table, she shrinks 
to a height of ten inches and is unable to reach the 
golden key. Though she weeps with frustration, she 
pulls herself together. "Come, there's no use in cry- 
ing like that!" said Alice to herself, rather sharply. "I 
advise you to leave off this minute." 

What follows is a comment from the author, 
which interrupts the narrative and defuses the sense 
of isolation and helplessness: 

She generally gave herself very good advice 
(though she very seldom followed it), and 
sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to 
bring tears into her eyes; and once she remem- 
bered trying to box her own ears for having 
cheated herself in a game of croquet she was 
playing against herself, for this curious child 
was very fond of pretending to be two people. 

The underlying subject here is the power of play, 
both formal, as with cards and croquet, and make-be- 
lieve, or pretending. It's Carroll's way of reminding 
the reader there is a way out, and Alice has already 


found it. She will find it again in the first chapter of 
TTLG, when, addressing herself to her cat, she wishes 
that she could get into the Looking-glass house. 

"Let's pretend there's a way of getting through 
into it, somehow, Kitty. Let's pretend the glass 
has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get 
through. Why, it's turning into a sort of mist 
now, I declare! It'll be easy enough to get 
through — ." She was up on the chimney-piece 
while she said this, though she hardly knew 
how she had got there. And certainly the glass 
was beginning to melt way, just like a bright 
silvery mist. 

In another moment Alice was through the 
glass, and had jumped lightly down into the 
Looking-glass room. 

So far we've talked mostly about what I learned 
from Carroll about writing narrative. But teachers 
know that what our students learn from us is not al- 
ways what we set out to teach them. 

Now let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, 
when I was eight years old, I was afraid of the dark. My 
sister and I had identical mirrors in our bedrooms, 
which our mother had chosen for us. The mirrors 
were circular and so large that I could see almost, but 
not quite, my entire little bedroom in it. Alice's senti- 
ments in TTLG were very close to mine when she re- 
marked, "I can see all of it when I get upon a chair — 
all but the bit just behind the fireplace. Oh! I do so 
wish I could see thathitr I never paid much attention 
to the mirror during the day — after all, I didn't need 
a glass to tell me what I looked like. But at night the 
sweep of lights from passing cars seemed to light the 
reflected room from the inside. And I had heard sto- 
ries of people who, looking into a mirror at night, saw 
not their own reflections but the faces of the dead. 
What better place for a ghost to dwell than that little 
bit of the looking-glass room I couldn't see? 

My mother reminded me there were both good 
ghosts and scary ones. She often spoke of a night, the 
week after her own mother's funeral, she felt some- 

one pulling the covers over her shoulder, and when 
she opened her eyes she saw the ghost of her mother 
standing at her bedside. She shook my father awake. 

"Mother's in the room with us." 

My father was a man of good sense. 

"If it's your mother she won't hurt you. Go back 
to sleep." 

The only person I could think of who knew about 
mirrors from the inside and could help me was Alice, 
who, unforttinately, was only a character in a story. 
This Alice was not a real person. Of course Lewis Car- 
roll was a real person, but I didn't even know what 
he looked like. But did that really matter? Hadn't he 
taught me that the way out was only the other side of 
the way in? Just before she jumped through the look- 
ing-glass, didn't Alice say, "Let's pretend there's a way 
of getting through into it"? Let's pretend — Let's pre- 
tend — I knew those words long before I'd read AATW. 
Those were the words I needed to make me believe 
that nothing in the mirror could harm me. Night 
after night, as I dropped off to sleep, how comforting 
it was to think of Lewis Carroll, standing in the bit of 
my looking-glass room hidden from view, forever in- 
visible to me but present nevertheless, watching over 
me and keeping his eye on the dark. 

' Encyclopedia of Etiquette, by Emily Holt, Doubleday, Page & 
Company, 1912, p. 466. 

^ Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and 
Stories, translated by Erik Christian Haugaard, Doubleday 
Anchor Books, 1974: "The Snow Queen," p. 234, and 
"Notes for My Fairy Tales and Stories," p. 1071. 

' Note 32 on Chapter 1 , Through the Looking-Glass, in 
The Annotated Alice, introduction and notes by Martin 
Gardner, Forum Books, The World Publishing Company, 
1960. (All quotations from the Alicebooks are taken from 
The Annotated Alice.) 

"• Nausea, translated by Lloyd Alexander, New York: New 
Directions paperback, pp. 126-127). 

"' The Princess and the Goblin, Strahan and Co, 1872, 
reprinted, David McKay Company, 1920, pp. 15-17. 

Copyright © 2008 by Nancy Willard 


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In the introduction to our society's 
recently published La Guida di 
Bragia, Peter Heath suggested that 
Carroll chose the names "Moggs 
and Spicer" as aliases for the char- 
acters Mooney and Spooney as 
some sort of in-joke, and indeed 
the characters themselves refer to 
the names as an "in joke," though 
playing on the double meaning 
of the words. He was likely cor- 
rect, even though he was unaware 
that Anthony Trollope used the 
names in Ralph the Heir, published 
in 1871, about 20 years after Car- 
roll wrote his marionette play, hi 
chapter 25, Trollope wrote: "Sir 
Thomas heard that some voters in 
the factories suggested the ballot, 
and he heard one man say that he 
intended to vote for Moggs, but 
he also heard Mr Spicer's reply 
to that." With this knowledge, 
the question is now whether it is 
?i family in-joke, a r^g^owa/ in-joke, 
or an industry or some other type 
of invoke. Since part of Carroll's 
original audience was from an- 

other part of England, a regional 
in-joke remains a possibility. 

Heath also wondered if there 
was a real-life establishment called 
Moggs and Spicer. But he should 
have questioned — since Mooney 
and Spooney and Moggs and 
Spicer both begin with M and 
Sp — if there was a real-life estab- 
lishment that rhymedwiXh Moggs 
and Spicer. Was there a Boggs and 
Wicer, for example, or a Roggs 
and Dicer, or even a Hoggs and 
Pricer? In other words. Heath's 
search for a Moggs and Spicer 
would only be justified if Carroll 
chose the M and Sp beginnings 
for his 'ooney characters for this 
very in-joke, which seems unlikely, 
because the aliases are introduced 
for the first time in the second act. 
It is only through Trollope's use, 
unknown to Heath, that we now 
question if there was ever a true 
Moggs and Spicer. 

Matt Demakos 

Chatham, New Jersey 

There may not have been a Moggs 
and Spicer. However, Mooney's 
name may be taken to refer to 
a lunacy caused by the moon; 
"spooney" as an epithet for foolish- 
ness is found in chapter twenty of 
Great Expectations, the work of an- 
other great Victorian CD. 

Andrew Ogus 

San Francisco, California 

Re: Serendipity, Winter 2007 
Issue — I was enchanted to learn 
that some perceptive reader had 
read my poem "Alice to Cat," and 
had suggested it for republication 
in your very interesting Knight 
Letter. I want to thank you very 
much for reprinting the poem, 
and also for sending me the two 
complimentary copies of your 
magazine. I much enjoyed reading 
Knight Letter, learning about your 
organization, and appreciating the 
expert illustrations. May you keep 


up with your endeavors! Once 
again, my thanks, and thank you 
for creating a small Wonderland in 
my mailbox! 

Candace Orcutt 
Teaneck, New Jersey 

I was very glad when the Knight 
Letter arrived, I had felt so lonely 
without my Carrollian friends. I 
find the KL more and more inter- 
esting, and of course I like very 
much to see a lot of "pictures"! 
Sometimes I should like to know 
who made them. Perhaps the art- 
ists and page numbers could be 
identified all together somewhere 
at the beginning or at the end. 
Sometimes the artist may be obvi- 

ous to most of your (native Eng- 
lish-speaking) readers; the rest, 
like me, should have the opportu- 
nity to improve their knowledge. 

Alise Wagner 

Berglen, Germany 

Virtually all of the engravings used 
in Knight Letter as "spot" illustra- 
tions xvere published in Punch between 
the magazine's inception in 1841 
and 1898. the year of Lewis Carroll's 
death. A very few are copyright-free im- 
ages that have been collected onto CDs 
and sold by various publishers. 

Carroll himself contributed to 
Punch, the British New Yorker of 
its day; his brief parody of Swinburne, 
"Atalanta in Camden Town " [inside 
back cover], was published anony- 
mously on July 27, 1867. (In 1869 it 

appeared in Phantasmagoria and 
Other Poems, j 

Punch did not begin indexing its 
"large" and "small" engravings until 
the second half of 1854, and even 
then did not credit the illustrators 
until after our period. As many are 
unsigned, and some only with initials 
(which don 't ahoays appear in Knight 
Letter), the artists may be known to 
scholars of Victorian illustrations, 
but alas they are not to me. We can be 
fairly sure Carroll saw most, if not all, 
of these images, hopefully with as much 
enjoyment as our readers. 

Andrew Ogus, 

Knight Letter designer 

San Francisco, California 



First of all, welcome to our new 
members: Greg Bowers, Michael 
Heller, Erin Hutchinson, Timur 
Kanaatov, Matt Lewis, Ronald 
Papp, Dallas Piotrowski, Jerry Red- 
ding, Beth Skipper, Janet Smith, 
and Susan Sodomin. The LCSNA 
now has a total of about 290 mem- 
bers, of whom 27 are supporting 
miembers. We are very grateful to 
all our members for their contin- 
ued generous support. 


You've probably noticed me trying 
to encourage people to sign up 
for our Yahoo announcement list 
in previous issues. It hasn't really 
been very successful, but nonethe- 
less, I want to take this opportunity 
to stress to all participants that the 
plays, operas, books, toys, what- 
ever announced via the Yahoo 
Group are not supported, recom- 
mended, or in any way endorsed 
by the LCSNA, and the Society has 
no financial stake in them. The 
group was created because your 
poor Secretary cannot find time 
to send out e-mails to our mem- 
bers about all the new products, 
discounts, and events we hear of. 

noTes fRom ihe LCSNA secnejany 



and the group is an efficient way 
for us to quickly disseminate this 
information to interested mem- 
bers. In no way does mention in 
a Yahoo Group e-mail constitute 
an endorsement. "Ditto," said 
Tweedledum. "Ditto, ditto!" cried 

From time to time you may also 
receive advertising for new books 
or other products in the KL. This 
too is done merely as a courtesy to 
members, and is never an endorse- 
ment by the Society. 


Most likely, you will have received 
your 2008 premium book, Leiuis 
Carroll: Voices from France, by now, 
so this is a good time to remind 
you of other books available at 
member discounts, not all of 
which are listed on our website. 
The most recent list was published 
in KL78; most of the books on 
that list are still available. If you 
don't have KL78 to hand, please 
drop a note to August Imholtz at We also 
have a few copies still available of 
last year's premium. La Guida di 
Bragia, at $20.00 to members. 


(I mean Pins!) 
LSCNA finally has received a new 
set of lapel pins for our members. 
We handed them out at the fall 
meeting, and all other members 
will receive them through the 
mail. Those members who have 
been with us long enough to have 
the "old pin" may now deem it 
a collectible. I hope I don't see 
these cropping up on eBay! 


Ravings ifnom rhe Wnning Desk 




rabjous" is the best word I can think of to 
describe our LCSNA fall weekend events. 
On Friday, October 24, we presented our 
Maxine Schaefer Memorial Children's Outreach 
reading at Brookside Elementary School in Yorktown 
Heights in Westchester (more on this event later). 
That evening, we had a lively and productive board 
meeting; thanks once again to Edward Guiliano for 
generously providing a beautiful conference room. 
And while the weather was variable on Sat- 
urday, our meeting inside the Fales Library o, ,, 
at NYU was a warm, dry, and delightful af- 
fair. Our thanks, as always, to our gracious 
host Marvin Taylor, and also to Liz Wiest, 
who kindly helped me coordinate all the 
details of the Fales session. 

Our speakers were a varied and fas- 
cinating crew: Jon Scieszka (our nation's 
first Ambassador for Children's Literature) , 
author and professor Nancy Willard, com- 
poser Peter Westergaard, and illustrator 
Mahendra Singh. My thanks to them all 
for talks that were witty, insightful, intrigu- 
ing, and deeply felt. While the subject mat- 
ter varied in each case, the implicit theme 
throughout the day was clear: the ongoing 
potency of Lewis Carroll's influence on our 
modern arts culture. Thanks also to Dis- 
ney Publishing, which provided attendees with dis- 
counted copies of Jon's new release, Disney's Alice in 
Wonderland (which he kindly signed), as well as souve- 
nir prints of one of the lovely Mary Blair illustrations. 
Additional thanks are due to the indefatigable 
Janet Jurist for arranging yet another very enjoyable 
meal at Ennio 8c Michael Ristorante. I found my- 
self sitting with former LCSNA President Stephanie 
Lovett, and Nancy Willard and her husband. It was a 
fascinating discussion; I only wish I could have been 
at each of the tables in the room, to enjoy and learn 
from all the lively conversations taking place. Thanks 
also to August Imholtz and Janet for coordinating the 
elections; all incumbent officers were unanimously 
reelected for another two-year term. So you'll have 
me raving at you for a few more issues. 

Now that Lve finished raving about our Carrol- 
lian weekend in New York, I want to rave in a differ- 
ent way. For the Maxine Schaefer reading, wonderful 
school librarian JoAnn Tursone had asked students 
to write an essay about why they wanted to attend. 
We had an audience of twenty eager fourth and fifth 
graders — eighteen girls and two boys. JoAnn noted 
that a third boy who had submitted an essay was not 
there, and asked the students if they knew why. One 
of the girls answered promptly, "Oh, he's 
not coming; he was dared." Because some 
other boys teased him about wanting to go 
to a book event, the boy didn't join us and 
missed out on the reading, the lively discus- 
sion, his own beautiful copy of the book, 
and a brief but merry tea party. This made 
me both sad and frustrated. 

As it happens, Jon Scieszka is working 
to address the concern that boys don't read 
enough. He's started a program appropri- 
ately titled "Guys Read" (www.guysread. 
com) to provide boys with reading they'll 
enjoy and find "cool." What can you do to 
help? I can think of a few things. Consider 
making a donation to our Maxine Schae- 
fer Memorial Children's Outreach Fund, 
to help us put more books in more young- 
sters' hands. You can donate via PayPal to — be sure to specify the pur- 
pose of your donation in the correspondence box — 
or send a check to our Secretary. Check out Jon's 
project, especially if you are or know a teacher or li- 
brarian, and share the link with any boys you know. 

Also, wherever you are, if yoix know a boy — or a 
man — who needs a good book but may not dare to 
say so, perhaps you can find a subtle way to put one 
into his hands. It doesn't have to be Lewis Carroll, 
just something you think he'll truly enjoy. With any 
luck, he'll find a private moment to open that book, 
and the words will do the rest. After all, where would 
we all be if Charles Lutwidge Dodgson hadn't loved 





tt:5 u^ "^/iieticj 

Marion Isham asked {KL80) about 
Lewis Carroll's influence on the 
Goons, Monty Python, and later 
British humor. It turns out that in 
fact, Spike Milligan once wrote a 
charming Alice-themed poem/ 
lyric, which was read by his daugh- 
ter Jane at a memorial service in 
2002 and can be seen at http:// 
lyricsplayground. com/alpha/ 
kingssingers.shtml. (Milligan also 
appeared as the Gryphon in the 
1972 film of Alice's Adventures in 
Wonderland.) Carroll's influence 
seems to be broadly noted. For 
example, in The Goon Shoxo Com- 
panion: A History and Goonography 
(St. Martin's Press, 1976), authors 
Roger Wilmut and Jimmy Grafton 
say: "Rooted firmly in the non- 
sense of Lewis Carroll, the satire 
of Aristophanes, the anarchy of 
the Marx Brothers, the violence 
of the Hollywood cartoon, and 
the broad comedy of the English 
Music Halls, the Goons brought to 
air the use of techniques of sound 
broadcasting rarely achieved by 
any radio organization." 

An interesting Dodgsonian 
anecdote is found in the diary of 
Edward Lee Hicks, later a famous 
bishop, who was a classical tutor at 
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 
from 1866 to 1873. The Life and 
Letters of Edward Lee Hicks, ed. by J. 
H. Fowler (London: Christophers, 
1922) provides a few entries from 
Hicks's diary, including this for 
October 22, 1870: "N.B.— Heard 
this evening the last newjoke of 
the author of Alice in Wonderland: 
He (Dodgson) knows a man whose 
feet are so large that he has to put 
on his trousers over his head." 

Do you remember your first time? 

At this fall's meeting, speaker 
Nancy Willard asked 
those present to volun- 
teer a sentence or two 
about the first time they 
encountered the Alice 
books. What was yours? 
We may cite some en- 
tertaining memories in 
future issues. 

I'm working on the biography 
of Alabama writer, poet, and art- 
ist Eugene Walter (1921-1998). 
Walter was a member of the Lewis 
Carroll Society of North America. 
If you knew Eugene Walter, please 
contact me. Any input is greatly 

Gabrielle Gutting 

Department of English 

Florida Atlantic University 

777 Glades Road 

Boca Raton, EL 33431 

ggutting@fau. edu. 


As she walked down the stairs, the 
house was still and quiet, with 
no sign of life. She felt like Alice, 
walking through a charmed land 
with its own rules. 

From Sleeping Arrangements 
by Madeleine Wickham, Thomas 
Dunne Books, St. Martin 's Press, 
Nexv York, 2001 

Josh had been their salvation. He 
had the advantage of age — there 
is a world of difference between a 
first year and a second year — but 
in any case, no bully knew what to 
make of Josh, with his Cheshire Cat 
grin and knuckleduster humor. 

Perhaps it was the Alice in Won- 
derland effect of the tea party, but 
they all seemed to have gone a 
little mad. 

"So I didn't just cry myself a sea 
like Alice then," said Chelle in 
altogether the wrong tone of voice. 

From Well Witched by Frances 

Hardinge, HarperCollins Publishers, 

New York, 2007 

The most reliable guide to 
a policeman's rank in Indonesia 
is not his epaulettes but his girth. 
The higher the rank, the better 
they are at extracting bribes. The 
better they are at extracting bribes, 
the larger the girth. Here in front 
of me I had Tweedledum and 

/tow The Wisdom of Whores, 
Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the 
Business of AIDS by Elizabeth 
Pisani, W. W. Norton &' Company, 
New York, 2008 

"I ain't never hear tell of a pole-cat 
grinnin'," corrected Billy; "he 
jes' smell worser 'n what a billy 
goat do." 

"It is Chessy cats that grin," ex- 
plained Lina. 

From Miss Minerva and William 
Green Hill, by Frances Boyd 
Calhoun, The Reilly &' Britton Co., 
Chicago, 1908 


By now, his interlocutors would be 
truly puzzled, possibly edging away, 
wondering why this snow-haired 
stranger, an Alice-in-Wonderland 
figure, sometimes in tweed knick- 
erbockers, should be addressing 
them on the subject of a family 
of whom they had never before 

From Incline Hearts by A. N. 

Wilson, Viking, New York, 1 988 


"I like poems. Do you know Alice in 


"Know it? I used to live in the 

wretched place." 

From The Various Flavors 
of Coffee by Anthony Capella, 
Bantam Dell, New York, 2008 

Not surprisingly, there is a 
huge amount of repetition in 
loco [motive] names, over the 
years and classes. Even female 
names are well represented, in an 
otherwise male-dominant era. In 
the name index of steam locomo- 
tives in the UK compiled by the In- 
dustrial Locomotive Society there 
have been twenty-one locos called 
Alice, twenty-two called Annie, and 
seventeen called Daisy. 

From By Hook or by Crook, 
A Journey in Search of English 
by David Crystal, The Overlook 
Press, New York, 2007 

'You could threaten his life with a 
railway share," Valefor offered. "I 
have a huge collection of them in 
the Bibliotheca Mayor, and some 
of them are as sharp as razors. Oh 
no, I forgot, you are a pacifist. I 
would suggest charming him with 
smiles and soap, then. That would 
be a good nonviolent approach." 
From Flora Segunda: Being the 
magickal mishaps of a girl of 
spirit, her glass-gazing sidekick, 
two ominous butlers (one blue), 
a house with eleven thousand 
rooms, and a red dog by 
Ysabeau S. Wilce, Harcourt, 2007 

Translator's Note: Selwi Rollcar 
and Weddar Rale [note anagrams 
-Ed.] were founder members of 
a DuUsgardian school of poetry 
notorious for its deliberate cultiva- 
tion of unintelligibility. To this end 
they larded their verse with bizarre 
neologisms designed to reduce 
their readers to a state of mental 
confusion as profound as the one 
from which they themselves suf- 
fered. The school broke up when 
Rollcar, muttering incomprehen- 
sible gibberish, was carted off to a 
lunatic asylum in Atlantis, there to 
end his days embroidering pocket 
handkerchiefs with endless repeti- 
tions of the same word. Banders- 
natch, whose exact meaning has 
never been elucidated. 

From The City of Dreaming 
Books by Walter Moers, translated 
by John Broxonjohn, Woodstock 
&' New York: The Overlook Press, 




"W" ewis Carroll tried desperately to get Alice's 

I Adventures in Wonderland on the bookstore 

.^^i^^shelves in time for Christmas 1865. It didn't 
quite happen. Although you did not receive this col- 
umn by Christmas 2008, in keeping with the general 
holiday spirit, I will delve into the vagaries of collect- 
ing Alice Christmas ornaments. This is another cate- 
gory of collectibles that I had no intention of amass- 
ing, but I now have over 100 of them, and not 
a single A/ic^menorah. (My mother would 
not approve.) Many of my ornaments 
are displayed in barrister bookcases, 
glass-topped tables, and on orna- 
ment-display trees, while others are 
relegated to plastic boxes hidden in 

Oddly enough, my oldest orna- 
ments date back to only 1974, and as 
of now I don't know of any that precede 
that, but I'll keep searching. Certainly 
there must have been Alice ornaments pro- 
duced prior to 1974. If so, it would be great to hear of 
any, so send images and I'll post them on our website 
along with images of other ornaments not mentioned 

The 1974 set consists of twelve small ceramic fig- 
ures produced by A Company of Friends and made 
in Taiwan. This set was reissued in 1979-1980, but 
was made in Japan. A couple of new characters from 
Looking-Glass, the White King and Queen, were in- 
troduced into the set at that time. There have been 
other ceramic sets made over the years by Decamp, 
Silvestri, Cardew, and the Smithsonian, but these all 
had fewer characters. 

Alice ornaments have not been limited to ceram- 
ics by any means. Polonaise marketed sets of four 
and five glass figural ornaments that came in painted 
wooden boxes (almost coffinlike) that were limited 
to 2,500 each. They also had a set of four playing-card 
ornaments that they claimed were part of the Alice set, 
but you can't prove it by me. An Italian-style set of five 
ornaments by DeCarlini showcased the art of glass 
blowing, but are not particularly to my taste. Abigail 
Pfeffer also came out with a larger range of glass Alice 
ornaments for Tannenbaum Treasures in 2005, which 

included a Dodo, a Dormouse, and an "I'm Late" 
pocket watch. These, like the Polonaise, are of the 
Polish style. Many of you may be aware of the orna- 
ments Christopher Radko produced for Disney, but 
these were preceded by non-Disney designs. Even less 
known are Radko's glass Christmas ball ornaments 
that came before those. I have only seen photos of 
these, but they appear to be glass balls with poorly ex- 
ecuted line illustrations on them. They are not 
very festive, to say the least, and I imagine 
there aren't many around. Yes, that was 
me throwing down the gauntlet to all 
the avid collectors! It is not always the 
prettiest pieces that are the most col- 

To be complete about materials 
used, there were wooden ornaments by 
Kurt Adler that came with an Alice book 
ornament (a nice touch). Michael Wolfe 
designed a set of four wooden nutcrackers in 
2006, and also produced them in a smaller ver- 
sion as ornaments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
issued a book of cardboard Tenniel ornaments and a 
set of papier-mache ones. Department 56 did a large 
resin set in 1994 that was as colorful as any I have 
seen. They also produced a cheaper, smaller pvc set. 

Disney had glass, resin, and flocked plastic orna- 
ments, and the only one made of tin — a great little 
die-cut piece. Each year from 1995 to 1998, Hallmark 
issued a miniature metal ornament of an Alice char- 
acter seated on a thimble. Then in 2000, they issued 
a plastic Disney "Alice Meets the Cheshire Cat" orna- 
ment using lenticular film to make the Cheshire Cat 
appear and disappear based on the angle of viewing. 
Disney also released a clever plastic "action" orna- 
ment via Enesco that bears mention: The main part 
of the ornament is a tree with a large rabbit hole in its 
base. A figure of Alice on her hands and knees is in 
front of it, on a sliding mechanism. Push her into the 
rabbit hole, and out the other side appears a much 
smaller Alice, an expression of wonder on her face. 

An Adler-Boncavage set is interesting in that it 
is made of plaster composition with animated arms 
and legs. Bucilla had a kit to make four characters 
out of felt, yarn, ribbon, sequins, and silver thread. Jo 


Davis and Dylan Curry designed some cloth A/?r^ or- 
naments based on their primitive art dolls, marketed 
under their clever company name, Cart Before the 
Horse. I think they are an acquired taste, but I am 
fond of their Mad Hatter. 

Have I forgotten anything? No, I have just saved 
the best for last. I feel safe in saying that the most ex- 
tensive set of ornaments ever is the cloth set by Gladys 
Boalt. The first one came out in the early 1980s, and 
two new ones were added just last year. If my count 
is correct, there are now 43 ornaments in this set. 
Among the characters rarely if ever seen elsewhere 

are: the parrot judge, the lobster, the cook. Father 
William, the youth, four live flowers, and the leg of 
mutton. A deluxe White Knight was sold for five or six 
times what the other figures cost, and is no doubt the 
rarest of the lot. The Jabberwock is also a figure you 
probably don't expect to see hanging on a Christmas 
tree. These ornaments are quality pieces, and each is 
signed and dated by Boalt. 

One would have to conclude that Alice in Wonder- 
land has become a popular theme for the Christmas 
holiday. Let us not forget that there was even an Alice 
tree in the White House for Christmas 2003. 

A selection of Gladys Boalt cloth and Dept 
56 resin ornaments 


Canollm Notes 

"which came first?" 

"The real Humpty Dumpty was 
a powerful cannon used by the 
royalist forces during the English 
civil war of 1642-1651. Sir Charles 
Lucas and Sir George Lisle led the 
king's men and overpowered the 
parliament stronghold of Colches- 
ter early in 1648. They held on to 
it while the parliamentarians, led 
by Thomas Fairfax, besieged the 
town in what became known as 
the Siege of Colchester. The sup- 
porters of Charles I almost won 
the day — all thanks to his doughty 
defender, Humpty Dumpty. 

On top of the church tower of 
St Mary at the Walls, One-Eyed 
Thompson, the gunner, managed 
to blast away the attacking round- 
head troops with rousing success 
for 1 1 weeks. That is until the top 
of the church tower was eventu- 
ally blown away, sending Humpty 
Dumpty crashing to the ground 
outside the city wall, where it bur- 
ied itself in deep marshland. 
The king's cavalry (the horses) 
and the infantry (the men) 
hurried to retrieve the cannon 
in order to repair it, but they 
couldn't put Humpty together 
again and they were soon overrun 
by Fairfax and his soldiers. 

. . . But if the rhyme is entirely 
military in origin, how come we 
all think of Humpty Dumpty as an 
egg? The answer is found in Lewis 
Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass 
(1871). Sir John Tenniel's iconic il- 
lustration shows Alice in deep dis- 
cussion with Humpty Dumpty as 
he sits upon a high wall. Tenniel, 
clearly taken with the idea of the 
impossibility of Humpty Dumpty 's 

being put back together again 
once he'd fallen off the wall, has 
him shaped as an egg with short 
arms and legs. This is the first 
known depiction of Humpty as an 
egg — one that was to become the 
definitive image." 

From Pop Goes the Weasel: The 
Secret Meanings of Nursery 
Rhymes by Albert Jack, Allen Lane, 
August 2008, 
ISBN 9781846141447. 


Punch, November ig, i8^g, twelve years 
before Tenniel 

■'Humpty Dumpty has become so 
popular a nursery figure and is 
pictured so frequently that few 
people today think of the verse as 
containing a riddle. The reason 
the king's men could not put him 
together again is known to every- 
one. 'It's very provoking to be called 
an egg — ^very', as Humpty admits 
in Through the Looking-Glass, but 
such common knowledge cannot 
be gainsaid. What is not so certain 
is for how long the riddle has been 
known. It does not appear in early 
riddle books, but this may be be- 
cause it was already too well-known. 

Students of linguistics believe that is 
one of those pieces the antiquity of 
which 'is to be measured in thou- 
sands of years, or rather it is so great 
that it cannot be measured at all' 
(Bett). Humpty Dumpty of England 
is elsewhere known as 'Boule, boule' 
(France), 'Thille Lille' (Sweden), 
'Lille-Tille' (Denmark), 'Hillerin- 
Lillerin' (Finland), 'Annebadadeli' 
(Switzerland), and 'Trille Trolle', 
'Etje-Papetje', 'Wirgele-Wargele', 
'Gigele-Gaele', 'Riintzelken-Piint- 
zelken', and 'Hiimpelken-Piimplken' 
(different parts of Germany) . The 
riddles have the same form and mo- 
tif, and it sems undeniable they are 
connected with the English rhyme. 
The word Humpty-dumpty [sic] is 
given in the OED for a boiled ale- 
and-brandy drink from the end of 
the seventeenth century. Its first 
use in the nursery sense, however, 
does not occur before 1785, a 'little 
humpty dumpty man or woman; a 
short clumsy person of either sex'. 
The earliest recording of the rhyme 
itself is in manuscript, a contem- 
porary addition to a copy of Mother 
Goose's Melody published about 
1803. There is a girl's game called 
'Humpty Dumpty', described by 
Newell (1883) and other American 
writers, and apparently referred to 
in Blackwell's Magazine ior ]u\y 1848. 
In this game the players sit down 
holding their skirts tightly about 
their feet. At an agreed signal they 
throw themselves backwards and 
must recover their balance without 
letting go their skirts. Eckenstein 
thinks the game may be older than 
the rhyme. Perhaps the rhyme was 
not originally a riddle. Eggs do not 
sit on walls; but the verse become 


intelligible if it describes human be- 
ings who are personating [sic] eggs. 
E. G. Withycombe {Oxford Dictionary 
of Christian Names) also associates a 
human being with the name, sug- 
gesting that it echoes the pet forms 
of Humphrey, which were Dumphry 
and Dump, while Robert L. Ripley, 
'Believe it or Not,' has stated that 
the original Humpty was Richard III 

The Oxford Dictionary of 
Nursery Rhymes, edited by lona 
and Peter Opie, Oxford University 
Press, London. Published 1951; 
reprinted with corrections 1 952. 

[The Opies include a number of al- 
ternatives to the poem in their notes, 
reasoning that '"couldn 't put Humpty 
Dumpty in his place again, ' ... as 
Alice remarked, Hs much too long for 
the poetry. '"] 


alice explains 

Sarah Adams &" Ray Kiddy, 

with translation assistance by 

Matthias Gottmann 

We were recently perusing a "hand- 
me-down" Alice, a duplicate sold to 
us by Clare and August Imholtz to 
help thin out their collection. This 
particular example was printed in 
Diisseldorf in 1949 and is not in 
very good condition, but the il- 
lustrations are unusual. It is Alice's 
Abenteuer im Wunderland, published 
by Drei Eulen Verlag (Three Owls 
Press) and is illustrated by Char- 
lotte Strech-Ballot. At first glance 
the drawings seem almost child- 
ishly rough, with sketchy yet flow- 
ing ink lines thickly colored in, very 
unlike the precision of Tenniel. 
They are, though, very intelligendy 
humorous. The most surprising 
image might be the Mock Turtle 
as a rotund female in a one-piece 
bathing costume, wearing ballet- 
style shoes laced up the calf, and 
lounging so as to show off her long, 
dark hair. 

In contrast to these sketchlike 
illustrations, we were struck by a 
single geometrically perfect draw- 

ing, all in straight lines, the only 
one of its kind in the entire book. 
It was this drawing, which informs 
the reader where to position the 
wickets for playing croquet, that 
led us to discover several pages 
of text added to chapter 8, "The 
Queen's Croquet-Ground." Ap- 
parently, the unknown author of 
this section felt that croquet was 
unfamiliar enough to the post-war 
German audience that a detailed 
explanation of the game and its 
rules was warranted. 

This new section tells of Alice's 
English friends (Alice is German, 
of course!) and how she learned 
the game while spending holidays 
with them. In 1949, Dtisseldorf 
was in the British Zone of Oc- 
cupation, and while there is no 
direct evidence, it seems likely 
that this croquet story was part of 
an effort to foster amity with the 
British. This book also uses a thin 
serif font, similar to Times, instead 
of the Gothic-style typeface com- 
mon in Germany in pre-war years. 
While the book is printed on 
thick coarse paper with cardboard 
covers, consistent with a post-war 
economy, the publisher has gone 
to the effort of including eleven 
full-page color illustrations, four- 
teen full-page line illustrations, 
and smaller illustrations inset into 
almost every other page. 

Now we are curious whether 
other editions also have added sec- 
tions, but we would have to read 
all of our Alicehooks, in all their 
languages, in order to find out. So 
many Alices, so little time. 

Note: In the translation that follows, 
we have used the literal translation of 
arches and hammers /rackets, rather 
than the correct croquet terms of hoops 
(U.K.) /wickets (U.S.) and mallets. At 
the end of the inserted section, the 
author seems to be attempting a very 
weak joke about preferring a cutlet 
(Kotelettj to croquet (Krockett). 

"That's right!" shouted the 
Queen. "Can you play croquet?" 

The soldiers remained silent, 
and looked at Alice, as the ques- 
tion was evidently meant for her. 

'Yes!" shouted Alice. 

"Come on, then!" roared the 
Queen, and Alice joined the pro- 
cession, wondering very much 
what would happen next. 

She was very pleased to be able 
to play croquet once again. 

"It is a pity," she said, "that we 
played this beautiful game so lit- 
tle." She had learned croquet dur- 
ing the holidays with her friend 
Margaret. Margaret's mother 
was English and always invited a 
nephew and a niece from England 
for the holidays. These children 
played croquet all day with Marga- 
ret and Alice. 

"Oh, dear lady," said the sud- 
denly fearful voice of a soldier 
next to her, "please explain the 
rules of croquet just once, I've 
never played the game, and if I 
make a mistake, the Queen will 
behead me!" 

Alice was a helpful girl and 
wanted to save the poor soldiers 
from their embarrassment. So she 
started immediately to explain the 

"Croquet, you know, is a game, 
where a man with a wooden bat 
hits wooden balls on the ground 


through metal arches. The bats 
look exactly like a schlegel with long 
handles, they are one meter long. 
You know what a schlegel is, right? " 

"Yes, I know, my lady," said the 
soldier timidly; "a schlegel is a 
sledgehammer. Ah, I wish there 
were no schlegel and no wooden 
hammers!" sighed the soldier. 

"But why?" asked Alice dismayed. 

"Yes, you know, my lady, every 
day when I take the gardener's 
vegetables to the Duchess's cook, 
she hits me with the Duchess's 
croquet hammer at least five times 
very hard on the head!" 

"But why?" asked Alice, still 

"Because I always need to 
sneeze!" replied the soldier. 

"I am lucky," thought Alice, "that 
I haven't received even one hit with 
the sledgehammer!" 

"Is the baby always there?" Alice 
wondered aloud. 

"Yes, unfortunately!" said the 

"Why do you say 'unfortu- 
nately'?" asked Alice, amazed. 

"Because I always have to take 
care of the baby for one hour," 
said the soldier. 

'You do not like that?" asked 

"No!" said the soldier. 

"Why not?" asked Alice curiously. 

"Because the baby always spits in 
my face," said the soldier. 

That was something completely 
new for Alice. "If the pig-baby had 
spit on me," she thought, "then 
I would have simply dropped it 
on the ground in the Duchess's 
kitchen! You cannot keep a child 
who behaves so rudely! Even real 
pigs don't spit." At the zoo, you 
need to watch out at the llama 
cage. As her mum had always said, 
these beasts will indeed spit, if you 
look at them too curiously. "How 
right I was," Alice continued to 
think, "that I placed the pig-baby 
outside. In the forest, it may spit 
around like the llama. I hope it 
will spit in the face of the Persian. 
The cat will scratch the baby so 
badly that it won't ever spit again. 

How terrible is a baby that grunts 
and spits!" 

"Please, please!" said the voice 
of the fearful soldiers, "continue 
to explain croquet, otherwise I will 
be beheaded!" 

And so Alice hastened to con- 
tinue explaining the game. 

"The main thing is," she said, 
'that the whole playing field is 
smooth and flat so that the balls 
on the ground roll nicely. It can 
be solid ground as on a tennis 
court or short grass. I'm sure the 
Queen's croquet ground is won- 

"We always mark our playing 
field with chalk or paper tape. It 
is 35 meters long and 25 meters 
wide. Within this playing field, the 
arches are hammered into the 
ground in a certain order, which 
I will explain. The arches are very 
thick iron wire of about one centi- 
meter in diameter. They are about 
thirty centimeters high, and the 
two ends are beaten into the soil, 
standing about ten centimeters 
apart. Such arches one can make 
of thick iron wire. 

"The wooden balls may not be 
heavier than 450 grams, and have 
a diameter of nine centimeters, 
so they can just roll through the 


arches. You know what 'diameter' 
is?" asked Alice. 

"No," said the soldier. 

'You know," said Alice, "'Nine 
centimeters in diameter' means 
that the balls are nine centimeters 

thick. You know what 'thick' is, 
don't you?" 

'Yes, definitely!" the soldier 
replied, "that I know very well. 
Tonight we get thick pea soup. Un- 
fortunately, the peas are not nine 
centimeters thick, though obvi- 
ously I would much prefer that." 

"My goodness! He is always 
thinking about food!" Alice 
thought. But she didn't say this 
aloud and went on: 

"Well, I must explain to you the 
sequence in which the arches are 

Fortunately she still had a piece 
of chalk from school in her pocket. 
With this she made the following 
drawing on the flat paper back of 
the soldier marching in front of 
her (see diagram). 

'You see," said Alice, "the thick 
lines mark the corners I, II, III, 
and IV as the boundary of the 
playing field. One meter from 
these corners, another line with 
corners a, b, c, and d is marked. 
The thick line on the bottom left 
is the so-called 'kick-line.' From 
this line we kick the balls at the 
start of the game, and all the balls 
are played from there. Do you 
understand?" asked Alice. 

"I understand everything," said 
the soldier, "otherwise I will be 

Very worried, Alice continued: 

"Croquet is played between two 
teams. Each player plays alter- 
nately. A team can consist of two 
or more players each. If four peo- 
ple play, two on each side, then it 
is played with four balls; one team 
plays with a blue ball and a black 
ball, and the other team with a red 
ball and a yellow ball. It is most 
common to have four people play. 
Each player always plays with the 
same ball. 

The numbers 1 to 12 on the 
drawing indicate the order of the 
play. The players start at the kick 
line and try to knock the balls with 
their rackets through the arches 
from 1 to 12. The order from one 
to twelve must be strictly adhered 
to. If a player's ball gets through 


an arch, he receives a point and 
can hit again, repeatedly, until 
he stops gaining points, that is, 
when the ball doesn't go through 
an arch. Then comes the next 
player's turn. The order is exactly 
as in the game of billiards. Do you 
understand that?" asked Alice. 
The soldier looked at Alice 
sadly and he asked: "Why can't we 
have pea soup now?" 

But Alice said: "You must not 
think of pea soup now, you need 
to pay attention to what I'm ex- 

"But I'm so hungry," said the sol- 
dier, and skillfully grabbing a very 
big fly, he immediately ate it. 

"So next," said Alice. "The line 
with the arrows shows in what 
order the ball must go through 
the arches, starting down the 
left line and through the arches 
from 1 to 12. First it goes straight 
through the first and second. 
Then it goes around to the right, 
and on the next blow, you have 
to try to hit your ball so that it 
stops just above the third arch. 
Then, it goes straight through the 
third and fourth. Once your ball 
is through the fourth arch, you 
will have to be very careful that 
the ball does not go straight back 
through the second arch, but 
around through the fifth arch. Be 
careful not to make the Queen 
angry at this point! Do you under- 

"I will certainly be beheaded!" 
replied the soldier. 

"Then it goes, as I said, straight 
through the fifth and the sixth 
arches. Then left to the seventh, 
then straight through the eighth, 
then left again to the ninth, then 
again far ahead to the tenth, then 
left by the eleventh and finally 
straight through the twelfth arch. 
A ball that has gone through all 
of the arches is called 'a pirate.' If 
the ball goes through the twelfth 
arch correctly, you must hit the 
ball again with a curve to the left 
and hit the goal post in the mid- 
dle. Then you have all the points 
of the game. Of course, not every- 

thing goes as smooth and straight 
as the lines show. The lines indi- 
cate only the order. For example, 
if the ball does not run though 
an arch, but past it, the next time 
you need to hit the ball back to try 
again, so that it comes to a stop in 
front of the missed arch, so next 
time you can get the ball through 
the arch. This is often not done 
in one fell swoop, but often takes 
several blows to get the ball right 
back before the arch. Between 
your shots the other players are 
also a problem, because only when 
you pass through an arch can you 
hit again." 

"My dear God!" sighed the sol- 
dier, "I much prefer pea soup!" 

"Stop always thinking about pea 
soup! Move on!" Alice said, "But 
that's not all!" And she went on: 

"The team that gets all of their 
balls through in the correct order 
and hits the goal post first, has 
won. Besides trying to get the ball 
through the arches and to the goal 
post, a player can try to hinder the 
progress of the game by 'roqueting' 
and 'croqueting,' which gets the 
opponents' balls off their tracks." 

"I give up!" said the soldier des- 

"Now listen!" said Alice, "we are 
almost at the end. When a player 
hits the ball of an opponent, that's 
called 'roqueting.'" 

"I would prefer dining," said the 

"Don't just think about food!" 
said Alice, indignantly. "If a player 
has 'roqueted,' he can hit two 
more times. First, he has to 'cro- 
quet' the ball, and here is how 
that is done. You place your own 
ball against the opponent's ball 
from any side you like. You place 
your left foot on your own ball 
and hit your own ball. This way, 
your ball stays in place while the 
opponent's ball is knocked from 
its track, so he will have trouble to 
get back on track, which is back 
in front of the next arch he needs 
to pass through. Adults are not 
allowed to place their foot on the 
ball during 'croqueting,' which 

makes it much more difficult. My 
friend Margaret can 'croquet' as 
well as an adult. When her ball 
touches an opponent's ball, she 
can hit her ball without placing 
her foot on the ball such that her 
ball almost always stays in place 
while the opponent's ball rolls far 
away. Sometimes she drives the 
opponent's ball far away while 
her ball passes through the next 
arch. That she learned from her 
dad, who is good at billiards. Dur- 
ing 'croqueting,' you have to make 
sure that no ball leaves the field 
boundaries, otherwise you lose 
your turn. Remember: When you 
touch an opponent's ball, you get 
two more hits. One for 'croquet- 
ing' and then one more. Then it 
is the opponents' turn. You will 
see that by 'roqueting' and 'cro- 
queting,' you can always get the 
opponents' balls off track, and the 
game will progress very slowly." 

"I admit it!" the soldier said, "I 
want to know nothing more about 

"My God!" said Alice indignantly, 
"but yoti're unsporting! Yoti need 
to know it, but I still want to give 
you advice: Do not roquet and 
croquet the ball of the Queen, 
because then she certainly will be 
very angry, just as she was about the 
colored roses. You shall not throw 
the Queen's ball off track!" 

'Yes, yes!" said the soldier. "Unfor- 
tunately, queens are always right." 

"Now I want to quickly explain 
to you how to handle the racket," 
said Alice. "The most important 
thing in the game is that the eye, 
the top of the ball, and the goal 
form a vertical right angle at all 
times: The player looks at the goal 
and holds the racket with his left 
hand, with the left arm pressed 
firmly on the side. The right hand 
holds the bat a little lower and car- 
ries the force of the shock, while 
the left hand serves as the linch- 
pin of the momentum. The right 
or the left foot should be placed 
in parallel with the finish line, 
with the weight of the player sus- 
pended on the front foot. Surely 


you understand what I mean, 
don't you?" 

"Hitting is too difficult for 
me," said the soldier. "If I rest my 
weight on my front foot, I'll fall." 

"Oh," said Alice, "if you cannot 
do that, then it is easy to play with 
the Irish blow. Take a racket with 
a short handle, one that is eighty 
centimeters long. Hold the shaft 
with both hands, swing the racket 
between both feet, and then hit 
with the force of both hands. 
Then you don't need to bend for- 
ward so much and won't fall." 

"Dear God!" said the soldier, "it 
will be a misery if I play croquet!" 

"Well, maybe you won't play 
croquet," said Alice, "the Queen 
hasn't yet said anything about this. 

but it can't hurt that I've taught 
you the rules of this beautiful 
game. Just think, the parents of 
my girlfriend Erika are carpen- 
ters. Erika's father made us some 
croquet balls and wooden rackets. 
The arches we made from thick 
wire and now we can always play 
croquet. We're looking forward 
to it. Our teacher has already said 
that if we have enough rackets and 
balls, we all will play croquet in 
physical education." 

"You're really such a nice and 
helpful lady!" said the soldier. "I 
know that you enjoy playing cro- 
quet. But I have to say that I would 
much prefer a cutlet! Or even a 
nice piece of juicy ribs!" 

"I do not think," Alice thought, 
"that there is much purpose to 
explaining the game to a soldier 
who thinks only of food, who will 

never be a good croquet player!" 
Alice knew that her mother said 
that they thought too much about 
food, especially when it came to 
candy. "But I'm not so bad," she 
said. "To prefer a cutlet rather 
than croquet is too much!" 

"It's - it's a very fine day!" said a 
timid voice at her side. She was walk- 
ing by the White Rabbit, who was 
peeping anxiously into her face. 

Outfitting the Beaver © Mahendra Singh 2008 


Leivis Carroll in Numberland: His 
Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life 

by Robin Wilson, 

Norton, New York/London, 2008, 

ISBN 978-0-393-060270, 

208 pp, 100 illustrations 

Reviewed by Francine F. Abeles 

Lewis Carroll in Numberland is the 
first book about the life of Charles 
L. Dodgson that is centered on 
him as a mathematician rather 
than as a literary figure. Written 
for the general reader, the story 
that unfolds is rich in biographical 
detail and illustrated with many 
images of his work that have not 
appeared in any previous publica- 
tions. The panoramic picture that 
Wilson draws of Oxford University 
in the second half of the nine- 
teenth century captures the mood 
of one of England's oldest and 
most famous universities. 

Robin Wilson is a gifted uni- 
versity mathematical lecturer and 
this talent is evident in the way 
he handles the mathematical top- 
ics that Dodgson worked on. The 
reader who is inclined to skip over 
mathematical content instead 
will find herself absorbed by the 
clear explanations of the examples 
Wilson has selected. For the first 
time, we see in one place almost 
all of the major parts of math- 
ematics that interested Dodgson, 
and to which he contributed his 
own novel ideas: number theory, 
algebra, geometry, voting theory, 
cryptology, and logic. However, 
his published work on probability 
theory, except for two of the thir- 
teen "pillow problems" that Wilson 
includes in the final chapter, is not 

The structure of the book. An 
Agony in Eight Fits, is modeled 
after Carroll's great nonsense 
poem, The Hunting of the Snark 
( 1 876) . In the eight fits Wilson 
entwines Dodgson's whimsical 
pieces with his mathematical ones 
so that the reader comes away with 
an understanding of how the liter- 
ary pieces infuse the mathematical 
ones and how the mathematical 
pieces inform the literary ones. 


The introductory chapter deals 
with the mathematical ideas that 
appeared in the Alice books, in 
the Snark, in the less well-known 
books, Sylvie and Bruno (1889), 
and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded 
(1893). Wilson returns to these 
books in his discussions of various 
mathematical topics in later chap- 
ters. Dodgson's early life in Dares- 
bury and Croft is described in the 
first chapter and we learn that he 
showed a gift for mathematics as 
a 12-year-old pupil at Richmond 
Grammar School. Archibald Tait 
(later Archbishop of Canterbury) , 
the headmaster of Rugby School 
where Dodgson was sent at the 
age of fourteen, held a high opin- 
ion of Dodgson's abilities. In the 
second chapter, Dodgson's life at 
Christ Church unfolds. He had 
entered in 1850 and received his 
B.A. in 1854, finishing at the top 
of his class in mathematics. 

In the chock-full third chapter 
we learn about many different 
aspects of Dodgson's life, begin- 
ning in 1855 with his teaching at 
two schools for boys, where he 
used mathematical puzzles and 
tricks to enliven his lessons, and 
his appointment as Mathematical 
Lecturer at Christ Church. In this 
period too, he developed an inter- 
est in cryptography beginning with 
two ciphers he invented in 1858, 
the key-vowel cipher, and the ma- 
trix cipher {KL 59:8). (They were 
unnamed until they were first 
discovered in 1990-1991.) Ten 
years later, he created the alphabet 
cipher and the telegraph cipher. 
By 1875 Dodgson had lost interest 
in the secure transmission of mes- 
sages, so he used his fifth and last 

cipher, Memoria Technica, discussed 
in chapter 6, first as a way to 
remember the mantissas of loga- 
rithms, and then as a method for 
remembering names and dates. 

The fourth chapter deals al- 
most entirely with Dodgson's 
publications on Euclid's geometry 
and related issues, including the 
debate about the use of Euclid's 
book, the Elements, as a text in 
university courses. Here we meet 
Dodgson's equivalent and unusual 
closed form of the Euclidean par- 
allel postulate, one that does not 
involve lines and their "behavior" 
at infinity which he claimed was 
unknowable, which he published 
in his book, Curiosa Mathematica, 
Part Tin 1888. 

Two quite disparate topics are 
discussed in the fifth chapter. The 
first is Dodgson's publication. An 
Elementary Treatise on Determinants 
from 1866, the importance of 
which was not recognized until the 
latter part of the twentieth cen- 
tury. Wilson clearly explains how 
determinants are used to solve 
linear equations, and he presents 
one of Dodgson's most influen- 
tial algorithms, "condensation," 
which is a method of computing 
determinants that minimizes the 
computational difficulty. Two par- 
odies about Oxford affairs, one in 
letter form, are good examples of 
Dodgson's playfulness on serious 
matters. The second important 
topic in this chapter concerns his 
letters to child-friends. All his life 
Dodgson kept a letter register that 
incorporated many ideas currently 
used in the design of a modern da- 
tabase. To set matters straight it's 
worth quoting Wilson's comments 
about Dodgson's friendships with 

In common with many of his 
generation, he regarded young 
children as the embodiment of 
purity and he delighted in their 
innocence. His vows of celibacy 
[he was an ordained deacon], 
which he took extremely seri- 
ously, would have outlawed any 
inappropriate behavior, and 


there has never been a shred of 
evidence of anything untoward. 
Subjecting him to a modern 
'analysis', rather than judging 
him in the context of his time, 
is bad history and bad psychol- 
ogy, and often tells us more 
about the writer than about 
Dodgson. [108-109] 

In the sixth chapter, Wilson 
describes three pamphlets that 
Dodgson wrote on voting theory 
between 1872 and 1876 that were 
motivated by his experiences on 
the Governing Body of Christ 
Church, and which establish him 
as one of the great nineteenth 
century writers on the theory of 
social choice. In 1881, Dodgson 
resigned his mathematical lecture- 
ship to give himself more time for 
writing. One result was an 1883 
pamphlet on tennis tournaments, 
a topic that shares similar ideas 
with elections and whose prin- 
ciples were 50 years ahead of their 
time. The other was his illuminat- 
ing 1884 pamphlet on parliamen- 
tary representation, a culmination 
of work that began in 1881 when 
he became interested in elections 
and the political scene beyond 
Oxford. He used this pamphlet in 
an attempt to influence the out- 
come of the redistribution bill of 
1884, an attempt that ultimately 
failed. Both the 1883 and 1876 
pamphlets contain ideas that an- 
ticipate modern game theory. 

Recreational mathematics is 
the main topic of chapter seven, 
particularly Carroll's 1884 pub- 
lication, A Tangled Tale. Wilson 
reproduces all ten stories, knots, as 
Carroll called them. One of these, 
the second of three problems in 
Knot IX, is a variant of one of 
Zeno's paradoxes that Carroll later 
developed as a paradox in logic 
and published it in the journal 
Mind. The reader can try these as 
the correct answers are included 
in the Notes and References sec- 

On September 6, 1855 Dodg- 
son noted in his diary that he 
wrote part of a treatise on logic. 

This is the first reference to a sub- 
ject that would occupy Dodgson 's 
thoughts for the remainder of his 
life and influence all his math- 
ematical work. In chapter eight 
Wilson describes many aspects of 
Carroll's publications on logic: 
The Game of Logic (1886), Symbolic 
Logic, Part / (1896), and the two ar- 
ticles published in Mind, "A Logi- 
cal Paradox," (1894) and "What 
the Tortoise said to Achilles." 
(1895). Dodgson used the mate- 
rial in his two books to teach short 
courses in logic at the Oxford 
High School for Girls and at two 
of Oxford's colleges for women. 
Lady Margaret Hall and St. Hugh's 
Hall. Wilson contrasts Carroll's 
diagrammatic method with that 
of his contemporary, John Venn, 
discusses Carroll's versions of the 
ancient Liar Paradox, and repro- 
duces several of the delightfully 
funny syllogisms and the more 
complicated soriteses that con- 
tinue to amuse us. Dodgson died 
before completing the second part 
of his symbolic logic book, and 
it was only when William Warren 
Bartley published an edition of 
Carroll's Symbolic Logic in 1977 that 
included material Dodgson had 
left in galley form, that the novel 
methods he invented to handle . 
complex arguments, the most im- 
portant one, a mechanical test of 
validity that he called the Method 
of Trees, became known. 

The final chapter is devoted to 
Dodgson 's work in the last decade 
of his life, especially Curiosa Math- 
ematica, Part II (1893) containing 
72 clever problems designed for 
mental calculation. Wilson re- 
produces a number of the more 
interesting problems across the 
range of topics: arithmetic, alge- 
bra, geometry, trigonometry, prob- 
ability and differential calculus 
with several intriguing numerical 
and geometrical puzzles also in- 
cluded. For example, in a diary 
entry of December 19, 1897, less 
than a month before his death, 
Dodgson described a problem he 
was working on concerning triples 

of right triangles having the same 
area with sides of integer length. 
Almost a century later, in June 
1996, the problem was completely 

Robin Wilson has written an im- 
portant and timely book that any 
serious admirer of Charles Dodg- 
son will want to read. His book 
incorporates discoveries about 
Dodgson 's mathematical work 
that first appeared in print only in 
the second half of the twentieth 
century. And from this new per- 
spective we can appreciate Lewis 
Carroll as the only mathematician 
who was an even greater literary 

Alice in Wonderland: An ensemble 

opera for seven singers after 

the book by Lewis Carroll 

by Peter Westergaard 

June 3 and 4, 2008, at the 

Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at 

Peter Norton Symphony Space, 

New York City 

reviewed by Patt Griffin-Miller 

It's been well over half a year 
since I settled in the audience of 
NYC's Symphony Space to take in 
the fully staged version of Peter 
Westergaard's operatic journey 
into Wonderland. I'd seen a con- 
cert performance of the opera's 
first act at the same Upper West 
Side venue two years earlier, so 
I already knew I was drawn to 
Westergaard's singular musical 
take on Carroll's classic. 

I knew, too, that no orchestra 
would be involved — not even a 
chamber group. Indeed, Wester- 
gaard made it clear in his original 
program notes that the impetus 
for writing the opera came only 
after he opted to jettison musi- 
cians from the production. "What 
kind of instrumental palette could 
project the wacky, yet logically 
consistent world of Wonderland? 
Then it suddenly hit me: Why 
have any instruments at all?" he 
wrote. His solution — a dandy one 
by my eccentric creative stan- 
dards — was to recruit his septet 


to "take on some of the functions 
usually provided by the orches- 
tra." Thus, whenever performers 
were offstage, they stepped up to 
the plate to provide the piece's 
melodic backbone through lush a 
cappella vocals and assorted sound 
effects. The end result was a totally 
unorthodox, way cool audio feast 
that gave the book's topsy-turvy 
aesthetic vibrant (and fittingly off- 
kilter) life. 

Musically, the full-blown opera 
was as compelling as it had been 
in concert (and when I say "con- 
cert" I don't mean to imply it 
was devoid of theatrical charm, 
but it was really more of a staged 
"sung" reading). But the addition 
of sophisticated visuals — primar- 
ily projections — ratcheted up the 
impact in the full-length version, 
as did the pure joy of the perform- 
ers as they channeled Carroll's 
menagerie of characters. 

This time around, the singers 
had access to a variety of colorful 
costume pieces by Sarah Cub- 
bage — not always CarroUian, but 
they got the job done — while the 
scenic design by Alison Carver 
(with image animation by Keith 
Strunk and Laura Swanson) 
tapped deftly into Tenniel's cross- 
hatched drawings while inject- 
ing several nice optical illusions 
(Alice's size-shifting is never easy) 
that called to mind Disney's "Alice 
Comedies" of the 1920s, in which a 
live girl was superimposed against 
an animated background to inter- 
act with cartoon characters. 

With the exception of Alice, 
beautifully embodied by soprano 
Jennifer Winn, each of the singer- 
actors was called upon to take on 
several roles, so clearly versatility 
was key to their performance. The 
cast comprised Amaia Urtiaga 
(high soprano), Karen Jolicoeur 
(soprano), Abigail Fischer (mezzo 
soprano), Marchall Coid (coun- 
tertenor), David Kellet (tenor), 
and Eric Jordan (bass). (Only Ms. 
Urtiaga and Mr. Kellett did not ap- 
pear in the original concert, 

replacing Martha Sullivan and 
David Gordon respectively.) 

It should be noted that Wester- 
gaard intentionally followed 
Carroll's Wonderland ?,iory\\ne in 
a linear fashion — okay, no Puppy, 
but everything else was pretty 
much intact — and, bonus points, 
didn't dip into Looking-Glass for 
additional material. 

Westergaard also kept his li- 
bretto as true to Carroll's prose as 
possible. But this being an opera, 
he needed to mesh the two art 
forms. For example, during the 
Mad Tea Party scene, the sung 
dialogue throughout the "Twinkle, 
twinkle, little bat" segment was 
virtually identical to the book, 
whereas when Alice encounters 
the playing cards painting the 
rose bush, Carroll's brief back 
and forth between the characters 
turns into a duet for the Two and 
Five of Spades that fleshes out the 

We planted white. 
It wasn't right. 
But no one told us not to. 
And now just see 
The turn that we — 
Alas, poor souls — are brought to. 

Although Westergaard's com- 
mitment to the child-centric 
whimsy of the novel cannot be 
denied, he contends his opera 
was written for adults. As he 
noted in the Spring 2008 Opera 
Today newsletter: 

Of course I'd be delighted to 
learn that there were children 
who enjoyed it too. . . . But why 
would I think that a book writ- 
ten for children would prove to 
be a good source for an opera 
written for adults? For those 
adults for whom Carroll's Alice 
books hold that small but spe- 
cial place in their imaginations, 
this will seem a needless ques- 
tion, rhetorical at best, but 
basically silly. 

That would be us, fellow Alice ad- 
dicts, that would be us in spades. 


Bali ^ Beyond's Alice in the 
Shadows — A Psychedelic 
Rock-n-Roll Shadow Play 

Reviexoed by Lisa Marie Pirro 

Nestled in the hills outside the 
McGroarty Arts Center, on a Cali- 
fornia night beneath the stars, her 
dream begins. Alice, the girl many 
have followed through time into 
the rabbit hole, awaits her next 
screen appearance as Bali & Be- 
yond presents Alice in the Shadows. 

As the show begins, a psyche- 
delic shift in time takes place. 
From behind the scenes, musical 
memories adrift with lyrics ". . . sit- 
ting in an English garden waiting 
for the sun . . ." lure all eyes to the 
screen. Suddenly, in a center-stage 
spotlight, the White Rabbit ap- 
pears in this unique theater expe- 
rience of color, light, and shadow. 
But things are not always as they 
seem to be. Is he a shadow, or is he 
white light? 

Alice in the Shadows is per- 
formed by a small theatrical 
ensemble in an outdoor setting. 
maRia Bodmann, shadow master, 
is the voice and spirit behind the 
animated ritual, while her musi- 
cal counterpart, Cliff DeArment, 
leads the psychedelic mystery 
tour. The freedom and fluidity of 
their Balinese-inspired style give 
Bali & Beyond's shadow theater 
performances a transcendental 
quality. Alice in the Shadows was 
carefully crafted from Bodmann 's 
love of the tales of Lewis Carroll 
and the images of John Tenniel. 
Countless hours were spent carv- 
ing and painting the sixty-five 
leather shadow figures used in 
the show. The shadow characters 
move beyond their mere physical 
forms; playing card soldiers bend 
in impossible arches as the Queen 
of Hearts boasts a boisterous 
undefeated reign. maRia infuses 
both humor and reverence into 
her performance through her 
vocal improvisations and brings 
each individual character to life in 
the shadows. This theater allows 
many unique opportunities for 


Alice. She can grow taller, moving 
toward the light, and grow smaller, 
easily passing through doors, a dif- 
ficult task for any ordinary puppet 
with strings, and almost impossible 
for a human actress. Audience 
members can even glimpse Alice's 
colorful psychedelic memories 
with the pulsing swirling colors of 
liquid light projectors and vocal 

As the story unfolds, audience 
members are invited to pass be- 
tween worlds, behind the screen, 
to see the painted shadow char- 
acters in full color, as well as the 
colorful characters playing in the 
live band. Children and adults 
alike gather around the sides of 
the screen to see what lies beyond. 
Others pick up copies of Lewis 
Carroll's book, which have been 
laid out for their convenience, 
and read along with the dialogue, 
which is embellished by maRia 
especially for the particular audi- 
ence at hand. 

Legends inspire further leg- 
ends, and the Bali & Beyond musi- 
cians move through musical pas- 
sages like a boat on a river. Images 
and literary concepts are inter- 
twined onscreen while the four- 
piece rock band brings music from 
the Doors, the Beatles, Cream, the 
Byrds, and other groups from the 
sixties era to life in the moment. 
The intimate magic of live theater 
created by six or seven people is 
enhanced by the summer night. 
Everyone is entranced as the 
Queen of Hearts, the Hatter, the 
White Rabbit, and the tiny Dor- 
mouse attend the trial of the cen- 
tury, where Alice takes the stand. 
As in the life of little Alice Lid- 
dell, long ago adrift in a rowboat, 
"golden slumbers fill your eyes. . 
." and the story is completed. The 
colored lights infuse the night 
until the music fades away. But the 
dreams, they live inside of us, to 
be reawakened somewhere down- 
stream. Alice in the Shadows is a 
monumental tribute to those who 
have traveled the wonderland: 
musical, literary, and beyond. 

maRia presented her marvelous pro- 
duction to our Society at our fall 1 998 
gathering in Los Angeles (KL 59:5), 
and we welcome her back to the per- 
forming arena. Her site, 
ivwxu. balibeyond. com/alice, has videos, 
pictures, and merchandise for you. 

Behind the Looking Glass 

by Sherry Ackerman 

Cambridge Scholars 

Publishing, 2008 

ISBN 978-1847184863 

Reviexued by Morris Grossman 

It's good that Lewis Carroll was a 
mathematician and not a philoso- 
pher. It permitted him to separate 
(more or less) his imaginative life 
from his academic one. Philoso- 
phers, especially professors, usu- 
ally cannot risk being too creative 
or imaginative. They think to 
make real discoveries, especially 
real connections between philoso- 
phers. Otherwise they are scolded, 
usually by other philosophers, for 
being imprecise, or unclear, or 
literary, or worse. 

Sherry Ackerman is a philoso- 
phy professor, an academic, but 
not without an imaginative, even 
an avowedly wild or fun side, and 
she is willing to take scholarly 
risks. Broadly speaking, this exten- 
sive study (professedly 33 years in 
the making) is another revisionist 
myth, a keenly self-conscious one, 
about the vast influences philoso- 
phers presumably had on Lewis 
Carroll (with whom she has an 
"I-Thou" relationship). 

In the long process of making 
connections, Ackerman steers 
Lewis Carroll toward her interests 
and likes, especially as found in 
nineteenth-century thought. (She 
has her dislikes, too; any men- 
tion of matter or materialism is 
accompanied by an audible philo- 
sophical groan.) She is particularly 
receptive to mysticism, theosophy, 
Esoteric Buddhism, Madame 
Blavatsky, and other sub- or supra- 
intellectual tendencies that preoc- 
cupied Victorian England. She 

suggests a move on Lewis Carroll's 
part away from Anglican ortho- 
doxy, with its distasteful eternal 
punishment concerns, toward 
thinkers who promoted universal 
love and right feelings. She quotes 
Alexander L. Taylor, The White 
Knight, to the effect that Dodgson 
"made it clear to himself, if to 
nobody else, that his God was a 
God of Love and a God of Mystery, 
the world vastly stranger than the 
churchmen or scientists realized. 
. . ." And there is much evidence 
that Lewis Carroll had these inter- 
ests and sympathies — if evidence 
matters! He preferred Intelligent 
Design to Darwin. 

To make her claims, Ackerman 
gives very lengthy expositions 
of the philosophers, with quota- 
tions supplemented by textbook 
sources. She is so extensive about 
Plato, Locke, Berkeley, Descartes, 
and a legion of other thinkers that 
her book is almost a self-contained 
Philosophy 101 course. The link- 
ages to Lewis Carroll are some- 
times remote and playful, some- 
times provocative and profound. 
Both need to be considered. 

With respect to the former, 
Ackerman uses phrases such as: 
Lewis Carroll "appears to grapple" 
(p. 54), "reflects this sentiment" 
( p. 46), "would have appealed 
to Lewis Carroll" (p. 47), "history 
makes room for the assumption" 
(p. 48), and "[t]he eternal nature 
of absolute time is hinted at when 
Alice recounts the history of her 
adventures to her sister. . . ." (p. 
55). We are told that Carroll's 
story about Humpty Dumpt)' is 
suggestive of a "satirization of 
Berkeley's nominalism," since 
Humpty Dumpty, for his part, 
"had subscribed to an extreme 
form of Nominalism. . . ." (p. 50). 
When Alice cannot reach all the 
rushes she wants to pick, "[t]he 
dream rushes seem symbolic of 
the realm of Beauty beyond the 
sensible world that is, nonetheless, 
perceptible to the mind" (p. 55), a 
"[rjemark of the Cheshire Cat tells 
us what Lewis Carroll thinks of 


sensory experience" (p. 95), "the 
Tweedle brothers defend Bishop 
Berkeley's position. . . ." (p. 46), 
and the Gnat in a conversation 
with Alice "served as a reminder 
for the masses of hopeless people 
who were bereft of assurances of 
immortality following the nine- 
teenth century attack on biblical 
revelation" (p. 93). In a conversa- 
tion between the Queen of Hearts 
and the Mock Turtle, "one gets 
a glimpse of Carroll's discomfort 
with Locke's materialism" (p. 44). 

It seems, following Ackerman, 
that Lewis Carroll was influenced 
as much by the Mock Turtle, the 
Tweedles, Humpty Dumpty, the 
Gnat, and of course Alice herself, 
as by the traditional philosophers. 
This is understandable. Lewis 
Carroll's characters, including 
Alice, had fewer distractions and 
more occasion to chatter and loaf 
than he did. (Anyone who thinks 
that an author doesn't learn from 
his characters, but simply creates 
them ex nihilo, has never been 
either an author or a character.) 
Without being bookish, they were 
well versed in what has sometimes 
been another name for philoso- 
phy, critical common sense. 

Lewis Carroll is commonly 
reputed to be very philosophical, 
and as part of her tribute Acker- 
man makes him more of a philoso- 
pher than he was. He was certainly 
well read and educated. But ev- 
eryday reflections, not books, can 
and do give rise to thoughts about 
dreams, knowledge, ethics, and 
"the real." These reasonings, when 
we encounter them in finer form 
as someone's "philosophy," invite 
us to challenge, question, and 
think back to our prior reflections. 
The movement is in both direc- 
tions. And so it was with Lewis 
Carroll. He articulated puzzles, 
paradoxes, and skepticisms, but 
whatever his thinking, he did not 
write about philosophical issues 

Intellectual influences are often 
obscure, nameless before they are 
named, and Ackerman sometimes 


over-determines them. In some 
moods, often without knowing 
the sources, we are all Berkeley- 
ans, or Cartesians, or Thomists, 
or Platonists, or otherwise linked 
to various "isms" and "ians." In 
other moods (pace Ackerman), 
we are even theosophists, mystics, 
spiritualists, satanists, angels, and 
maybe even Blavatskians. We can 
be, or know what it is to be, stoi- 
cal without having read Marcus 
Aurelius or Epictetus. Although 
reading Descartes could provoke 
puzzlement about the status of 
dreams, it is also a spontaneous 
human curiosity. Surely the Chi- 
nese philosopher who dreamt he 
was a butterfly, and who the next 
day wondered whether he might 
be a butterfly dreaming he was 
a Chinese philosopher, was free 
of Cartesian influences. And he 
didn't read Plato's Theaetetus. The 
creation and discovery of influ- 
ences is what academia is about, 
and it is a delicate and dubious 
matter. It has become catecheti- 
cal to assume certain influences, 
for example between the British 
empiricists. When I was an under- 
graduate I think I read a paper 
that questioned whether Berkeley 
read Locke! 

Sometimes a farfetched Acker- 
man linkage becomes a persuasive 
one. For example, she thinks 
that Carroll's character Bruno is 
derived, no less, from Giordano 
Bruno. "Giordano Bruno's posi- 
tion on the emancipation of the 
will would . . . have held signifi- 
cance for Carroll" (p. 112). Like 
the earlier Bruno, Lewis Carroll's 
Bruno "perpetually questions 
authority, only recognizing the 
authority of love which binds him 
to Sylvie." But Ackerman goes on 
to make the case with such adroit 
detail that any reasonable person, 
I assume even Lewis Carroll after 
the fact (conclusion first — argu- 
ment afterwards!), would gra- 
ciously confirm the connection 
between the two Brunos. 

Can anyone with any apprecia- 
tion of poetry or metaphor claim 

of any proposed linkage that it is 
not worth a hearing because it is 
too tendentious, or extravagant? 
That would be like stepping on a 
fallen fledgling before letting it try 
to fly. Or worse still, like wincing 
at a crude simile without first rec- 
ognizing that it is a simile! Con- 
nections — amorous (proper and 
improper), metaphorical (good 
and bad), intellectual (sound and 
unsound) — are often precarious. 
Ackerman, in making the case 
for the sources and seriousness 
of Sylvie and Bruno, might lead us 
back to more readings, and help 
us make and discover connections 
we had not noticed. 

Ackerman stresses Lewis 
Carroll's Platonism, though I 
would suggest that it was not due 
so much to an exposure to Plato, 
or the Cambridge Platonists, or 
Plotinus, or Porphyry, or what- 
ever else he directly encountered 
among books and colleagues. His 
Platonism was his own discovery 
of the real, of Euclid and Alice, of 
that special kind of longing for ex- 
cellence, for the best, that elevated 
love and reason sometimes create 
and discover. As I have elsewhere 
suggested (.KL 72:11-14), Lewis 
Carroll encountered Alice the way 
Dante encountered Beatrice: in 
both cases a "real" girl was turned 
into, discovered to be, someone 
else. (Much the way Ackerman en- 
counters Lewis Carroll.) But which 
was the real one? Was the "real" 
girl altered or evaded and the 
"unreal" girl found, or was it the 
other way around? As Ackerman 
nicely explains (and here it helps 
to be a philosophy professor) , the 
issue of which Alice is real is pre- 
cisely the challenge of Platonism. 
Any supposed search for the real 
Lewis Carroll, the man behind the 
myths, deserves the same dubiety. 
She quotes the claim that "there 
was no human being correspond- 
ing to Lewis Carroll." Indeed, 
the needed parallel claim is that 
"there is no myth corresponding 
to Lewis Carroll!" 

Ackerman 's book is far more 
detailed than this cursory look can 

begin to suggest. What we might 
learn from Lewis Carroll, also an- 
ciently from Plato and newly from 
Ackerman, is to rethink our habit- 
ual notions of the real and unreal. 
Western philosophy remains hoist 
on the petard of its search for an 
ens realissimus. In fairness to, and 
in praise of, Ackerman — and in 
unfairness to all real Lewis Carroll 
scholars! — I would suggest that 
writing about him can be both 
sound and daring, scholarly and 

Whether one reads this book 
to learn about Lewis Carroll, or 
about Professor Ackerman, or 
about oneself — it is well worth 
the effort. 

Disney 's Alice in Wonderland 

Retold by Jon Scieszka; 

Pictures by Mary Blair 

Disney Publishing Group, 2008 

ISBN 978-142310728-6 

Reviewed by Andrew Sellon 

The first thing I noticed about this 
new storybook was the gorgeous 
artwork. The second is that the 
name Lewis Carroll appears only 
once in passing — and that's on the 
inside of the dust jacket. To Dis- 
ney's credit, unlike in their original 
film, here it's spelled correctly. But 
while I think it would have been 
appropriate to give Carroll a bit 
of credit on the title page, author 
Jon Scieszka is retelling the Disney 
animated film, not the original 
book, and his contribution should 
be assessed on that basis. 

Scieszka, our country's first Na- 
tional Ambassador for Young Peo- 
ple's Literature, works faithfully 
to retain Carroll's light touch, and 
does very much what Carroll did 
with his own Nursery Alice, taking 
a charmingly matter-of-fact tone 
about all the nonsense Alice en- 
counters, and stopping occasion- 
ally to ask the children presumably 
reading this, or being read to, 
what they would do if they found 
themselves in Alice's shoes. He 
even artfully manages to sneak in a 
bit of Carrollian prose, and one of 

the poems ("Twinkle, Twinkle"), 
which is all to the good. 

The illustrations, published 
here for the first time in storybook 
form, are taken from the seminal 
concept art that the late, great 
animation artist Mary Blair cre- 
ated for the Disney film. They are 
simply beautiful, and ideally suited 
to a storybook format. Disney has 
done them justice in this elegantly 
produced, glossy hardcover. The vi- 
sual style is free, blending a feeling 
of childlike crayon coloring with 
an adult's eye for pleasing design. 
You may be hard-pressed to pick 
a favorite — although mine at the 
moment is the one of Alice con- 
fronted by the shadow of the card 
soldiers. Blair's pictures also play 
effectively with both the light and 
dark aspects of the story; compare 
her first clean, traditional images 
of the flowers (very much like the 
final versions in the film) with the 
more abstract ones she presents 
after they turn on Alice. The layout 
of the images and text is playfully 
and sumptuously rendered across 
the heavyweight pages. 

Carroll purists may not seek out 
this book, but I think the intended 
audience of young children will be 
thoroughly engaged by Scieszka's 
easygoing storytelling, and anyone 
with eyes should be delighted with 
Blair's rich and imaginative im- 
ages. One can only hope that en- 
joyment of this pretty edition will 
lead young children to explore 
the original books when they are 
older. This version is a decidedly 
upscale alternative to the Disney 
Golden Book retelling, and would 
make a lovely gift for the creative 
youngster on your list — or for 


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 

Illustrated by Maggie Taylor 

Modernbook Editions, 2008 

ISBN 978-0-9801044-1-7 

Reviewed by Andrew Sellon 

The press release for this new 
edition states: "This stunning cof- 
fee-table volume, a combination of 

Carroll's surreal prose and Taylor's 
computer-based photographic 
art, merges whimsical Victorian 
sensibility with 21" Century tech- 
nological know-how." That sums it 
up nicely. Taylor's volume is large, 
and well-suited for placement 
where it will be picked up and 

The delightfully creative 
photo-meets-Photoshop collage 
illustrations manage to be simul- 
taneously playful, mysterious, 
and moodily evocative of another 
time and place. Taylor's palette 
has a suitably antique tone, with 
rich, deeply saturated colors that 
enhance the period photographs 
she has chosen to manipulate. 
Appropriately enough, each image 
is staged with the look and feel of 
a Victorian photo portrait — seen 
through a surrealist photogra- 
pher's eye. Given the Alice author's 
fondness for having some of his 
own photographs hand-colored, I 
suspect Taylor's images would have 
delighted as well as fascinated 
him. Her decision to use images of 
different girls from the ages of 5 
to 16 to represent Alice at various 
stages adds to both the uniqueness 
and the universality of the inter- 

As with other pleasing photo-in- 
spired editions (such as the under- 
appreciated Abelardo Morell ver- 
sion of a few years ago) , you don't 
know what you will see when you 
turn the next page, but you know 
it will be new and fascinating. 
Much to Taylor's credit, she often 
chooses to include images or char- 
acters not generally given as much 
attention by illustrators, like the 
little crocodile improving his shin- 
ing tail, and a guinea pig in the act 
of being suppressed. Each image 
in the book is likely to hold you 
spellbound for a few moments. 

My only minor reservation 
about the book is its uneven 
introduction by Norman N. Hol- 
land, whose website indicates that 
"psychoanalytic psycholog)" is 
his realm of expertise. He makes 
some interesting if occasionally 


redundant observations about 
Taylor's influences, process, and 
creations, but many of his com- 
ments about Carroll, Tenniel, and 
the original book are unfortunate. 
At one point, Holland declares, 
"With the point of Carroll's paro- 
dies lost, Alice rarely succeeds now- 
adays as a children's book — too 
weird and those spooky Tenniel 
illustrations!" Since I have read 
chapters of both books to coimt- 
less groups of delighted school- 
children over the past decade, I 
can only say that he is mistaken. 
Elsewhere, Holland states simply 
that "Dodgson's mathematical 
work never amounted to much." 
He might want to leave the ques- 
tion of such an assessment to a 

I do agree with Holland on 
one main point, however: Taylor's 
illustrations are works of art. Her 
fantastical images are more than 
enough reason to buy this hand- 
some volume. 

bitten down upon. But, overall, 
my favorite part was the rapping 
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. 
The poster can be seen at 

@lice in iviuiu.onderland 

New York International 

Fringe Festival 

August 8-24, 2008 

Reviewed by Elinor Heller 

The impetus being an announce- 
ment received from the LCSNA 
Yahoo group, I grabbed my seven- 
year-old A/iV^deprived grandson, 
and headed downtown for a most 
delightful hour of inspired dance: 
@lice in ivxvia.onderland at the New 
York City Fringe Festival. 

To begin this cyberspace ad- 
venture, Alice gains access to the 
Internet, or rather the rabbit hole, 
by figuring out the password on 
her computer. The performance 
was wonderful, innovative, and en- 
ergetic, with talented dancers and 
multimedia staging. For example, 
the show made ver)' clever use of 
what resembled teeth retainers 
that were handed out to the audi- 
ence. During the Cheshire Cat's 
tap dance, these sent forth colored 
strobe lights from the mouth when 


Lewis Carroll 

By Anne Higgonet 

Phaidon Press Limited, 2008 

ISBN 978-0-7148-4282-0 

Reviewed by Andreiv Sellon 

While editions of Lewis Carroll's 
literary works often display marvel- 
ous visual creativity in their design 
and layout, scholarly texts about 
him tend to look about as dry as 
the mouse's tale sounds. Lexvis Car- 
roll, Anne Higgonet's new exami- 
nation of Carroll's photography, is 
a happy exception. The dust jacket 
uses an excerpt from Through the 
Looking-Glass to pick out the letters 
of his name, and the book covers 
underneath the jacket owe a hu- 
morous debt to the King of Hearts. 
Inside, the book has charmingly 
trimmed corners and a pleasingly 
open and simple layout. In short, 
the lovely presentation has a suit- 
ably Carrollian spirit. 

Professor Higgonet teaches art 
history at Barnard College, Co- 
lumbia University, and her stated 
areas of expertise are "nineteenth- 
century art and the representation 
of childhood," making Carroll an 
ideal subject for her study. She 
rightly acknowledges prior schol- 
ars of Carroll's photography, but 
Higgonet's book differs from those 
of her predecessors in two ways. 
First, her introduction is noticeably 
shorter. But while the biographi- 
cal details are too sparse (Carroll's 
life, birth to death, is summed up 
in a single cursory paragraph), the 
essay otherwise touches on all the 
other basic topics one would wish. 

Higgonet provides a concise 
technical description of photog- 
raphy in Carroll's time, as well 
as a thoughtful period context 
for his photographic oeuvre. She 
also highlights instances where 
Carroll's loves of writing and of 
photography and images overlap. 

And she provides the appropriate, 
well-considered cautions when 
comparing our time to Carroll's 
with regard to the question of any 
possible sexual undertones in his 
photographing young girls. (A 
minor cavil: One of Higgonet's 
attempts to put her Victorian 
subject in a modern context may 
mislead anyone unfamiliar with 
the details of early photography. In 
rightly praising Carroll's expertise 
in preparing his miodels, Higgonet 
states that he "waited for the per- 
fect moment to click the shutter" 
The mass-produced shutter-release 
mechanism, of course, came well 
after Carroll's photographic years. 
Some closer editorial fact-checking 
might have been in order for this 

The other, more important way 
in which Higgonet's book differs 
from those of her predecessors is 
that it briefly evaluates Carroll's 
photographs from an artistic view- 
point. Opposite each image, she 
presents a concise but thoughtful 
aesthetic appraisal, inviting us to 
admire Carroll's artistry through 
her experienced eye. Happily, 
Higgonet also shares at least a few 
more biographical and historical 
tidbits in these paragraphs. The 
chronological set of images she has 
selected, while alas not including 
anything new, is well reproduced, 
and provides a good, representa- 
tive balance of children and adults. 
With her critical observations, Hig- 
gonet helps us appreciate Carroll's 
subtle use of light and dark, posi- 
tive and negative space, flesh and 
fabric — not to mention his im- 
canny ability to capture the simple, 
honest essence of a child, despite 
any artifice in the pose. And she is 
quite right that the images of chil- 
dren seem the most modern — or 
perhaps most timeless. 

While nothing here is revelatory, 
with her commentary, Higgonet en- 
sures that this book is not to be mis- 
taken for just a catalog, or a repeat 
of previous publications, but is in 
fact an interesting and attractively 
packaged new work worth consid- 
ering for your bookshelf. 


Z. W. Wolkowski of the 
University of Paris has 
completed Lewis Carroll: 
The Spirit and the Letter, a 
chirographic and semi- 
otic study of his selected 
quotations, a group of ten 
calligraphic documents, 
each about 11x16 inches, 
featuring well-known quo- 
tations from Lewis Carroll. 
They are available for 
exhibits, general public 
exposition, or other means 
of sharing. He can be 
reached at 

White Rabbit Press has just 
launched a new signed and num- 
bered limited edition of prints 
from The Nursery Alice, $750 and 
$1,000, with a 10 percent discount 
for LCSNA members. The prints 
are signed by Caroline Luke 
(great-great-grandniece of Charles 
Dodgson), Mary Jean St Clair 
(granddaughter of Alice Harg- 
reaves, nee Liddell), Walter Ten- 
niel Evans (great-nephew of Sir 
John Tenniel), Lesley (Dalrymple) 
O'Neil (great-grandniece of Emily 
Gertrude Thomson), and Edward 
Wakeling (former Chairman of 
the Lewis Carroll Society and 
noted Carroll scholar and author). 

Artist Dallas Piotrowski offers for 
sale full-color note cards (blank 
inside) entitled "I'm Late" of the 
White Rabbit, with pocket watch 
in hand and watchwork back- 
ground, for $3.50 each or $15.00 
for five cards. Limited edition 
prints are also available of "I'm 
Late," "Wonderland" (Joyce Carol 
Oates as Alice), and "Looking- 
glass Alice" with checkerboard 
background. Contact Dallas at or 
Dallas Piotrowski, 44 Whitehall 
Rd., Hamilton Sq., NJ 08690. 

Despite the name, Sydney sculp- 
tor Rod McRae's new piece, Alice 
in Wonderland, has nothing to 
do with AAPAl. . . . The series of 
larger-than-life sculptures is based 

on the inhabitants, including Alice 
the elephant, of Wonderland City, 
an amusement park that drew 
thousands of people to Tamarama 
Beach in New South Wales be- 
tween 1906 and 1911. See http:// 

Duirwaigh Gallery's online 
exhibition "A Walk Through 
Wonderland" was held October 
27-November 30th, 2008, at www. Sculptors, 
painters, and multi-media artists 
from around the world presented 
their A&^inspired works. (Also be 
sure to check out the Gallery's short 
film "A Knock at the Door," which 
includes several Alice images.) 

The exhibit I Rossetti tra Vasto e 
Londra (The Rossettis between 
Vasto and London) includes pho- 
tographs of Pre-Raphaelite painter 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet Chris- 
tina Rossetti, and their siblings, 
critic William Michael Rossetti and 
author Maria Francesca Rossetti, 
taken by their close friend Charles 
Dodgson. The exhibit was at the 
Musei Civici di Palazzo d'Avalos 
( , 
Vasto, Italy, from August 14 to No- 
vember 16. For further informa- 
tion, see the London Times article, 
"Italian homecoming for Dante 
Gabriel and Christina Rossetti" at 

As part of her "Off With Their 
Heads" series, artist Judith G. 
Klausner has recreated the "paint- 
ing the roses red" scene from 
AAIW . . . with the Queen of Hearts 

and Card Gardeners made 
from praying mantises! See 

The Liverpool (U.K.) 
Academy of Arts (www. 
la-art. had an open 
exhibition on the theme 
of AA/VV^and TTLGfrom 
July 22 to August 7, with 
over a hundred wonder- 
fully varied paintings and 
sculptures by Merseyside 
artists. The exhibit also 
included a series of Alice 
paintings created by June 
Lornie, and photographs and 
details from the lives of Lewis Car- 
roll/Charles Dodgson and Alice 
Liddell supplied by members of 
the Daresbury Lewis Carroll soci- 
ety. See 

On the front cover of the July 
issue oi Art Monthly Australia (www. was artist Polix- 
eni Papapetrou's photo "Olympia 
as Lewis Carroll's Beatrice Hatch 
before White Cliffs" (taken in 
2002), which features her then- 
five-year-old daughter Olympia 
in the nude. The work has gener- 
ated a great deal of controversy 
in Australia over whether child 
nudity equals child pornography. 
(Papapetrou's "Dreamchild" series 
was featured in KLs 71 and 72.) 

Kenyon College's (Gambier, 
Ohio) recently restored Peirce 
Hall boasts two beautiful full-color 
stained-glass A/eV^ windows, show- 
ing the White Rabbit and the 
Lobster Quadrille, respectively. 
These are pictured in a new book 
for Kenyon donors, "Stained Glass 
of Peirce Hall," which also features 
a short reflection on the windows 
by Jennifer S. Clarvoe, Professor of 

Dover Books has a new book of 
royalty-free clip art, Classic Chil- 
dren 's Book Illustrations CD-ROM 
and Book (ISBN 0486998622), com- 
piled by Mar)' Carolyn Waldrep. 
With many AA/W-related pictures. 


its "229 color and black-and-white 
drawings and paintings spotlight 
the glorious imaginations of lead- 
ing illustrators such as Beatrix 
Potter, Randolph Caldecott, Kate 
Greenaway, N. C. Wyeth, Edmund 
Dulac, Jessie Wilcox Smith, and 
many others." Sample illustrations 
can be viewed at http://tinyurl. 

Part group show, part art installation, 
The Alice Project, "an Installation of 
Curious Proportions" at the Stevens 
Square Center for the Arts, Minne- 
apolis, MN, from July 26 to August 
1 7, exhibited Alice-inspired art from 
more than a dozen artists. Patrons 
"fell" up a staircase "rabbit hole," fol- 
lowed a winding path though exhib- 
its and scenes from the book, played 
chess-croquet, and ended up at the 
Mad Tea Party. See www.stevensarts. 
org and search on "alice" for photos. 



An article by member Clare Im- 
holtz, "Two Simultaneous Edi- 
tions of Lewis Carroll's The Game 
of Logic,'' appears in the Fall 2008 
issue o{ American Notes and Queries 
(vol. 21, no. 4). 

An article by Pinhas Ben-Zvi, 
"Lewis Carroll and the Search for 
Non-Being," "in which Humpty 
Dumpty, a true Heraclitean, asserts 
that there must exist an opposite 
to a birthday which is an un-birth- 
day," appears in The Philosopher, vol. 
LXXXX, no. 1, Spring 2002, www. 

Members Clare and August Im- 
holtz presented works-in-progress 
papers at the December 2008 
meeting of the Washington Area 
Group for Print Culture Studies, 
Clare on contributions of Philadel- 
phia writer and collector Joseph 
Jackson to Lewis Carroll bibliog- 
raphy, and August on the inside 
story of the return of the AAuG 
manuscript to Britain in 1948. 

A medical analysis of Flemish artist 
Quinten Massys's 1513 portrait. An 
Old Woman, upon which Tenniel 
is supposed to have based Alice's 


Duchess, shows that she was suf- 
fering from an advanced form of 
Paget's disease. In addition, art 
historians have established that a 
similar work by Leonardo Da Vinci 
is a copy of Massys's, not vice versa 
as previously supposed. "Solved: 
mystery of The Ugly Duchess — 
and the Da Vinci connection," 
Mark Brown, The Guardian, 
October 11, 2008, http://dnyurl. 

In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia Cir- 
cuit cited The Hunting of the Snark's 
"what I tell you three times is true" 
in a ruling on a Guantanamo Bay 
detainee. The court "slammed 
the reliability of U.S. government 
intelligence documents, saying 
just because officials keep repeat- 
ing their assertions does not make 
them true." Bill Mears, CNNWire, 
June 30, 2008, http://dnyurl. 

The Toronto Globe and Mail's "50 
greatest books series" included 
AATWon September 20. The 
conclusion of Ian Stewart, math 
professor at University of Warwick, 
U.K., is "None compares remotely 
to Alice — except TTLG, which 
captures the same dreamlike qual- 
ity and fantastic imagination, and 
may even be better." See 

Saint Petersburg Days, an event 
sponsored by Vassar College's 
Study Away Office, Russian Studies 
Department, and Palmer Gallery, 
featured a lecture by Professor 
Nikolai Firtich on November 19, 
entitled "City of Wonders: Saint 
Petersburg's Myth Through the 
Eyes of Lewis Carroll." Firtich ana- 
lyzed the mythology and culture of 
the city through the impressions 
of Lewis Carroll from his visit to 
Saint Petersburg in 1867. 

St. Peter's Church at Croft-on-Tees, 
famous for being the church where 
Lewis Carroll's father was rector, had 
the copper stolen from its roof — the 
second time it was vandalized in two 
years. "£23,000 copper theft from 
'Lewis Carroll' church," October 11, 

2008, Th£ Northern Echo: 

The Telegraph's article of October 
15, 2008, "Dormice breed success- 
fully in the wild," reports "Conser- 
vationists are jubilant that the tiny 
mammals have adapted quickly 
to a new territory established in a 
national park in Yorkshire." See 

A new junior rugby team for 
the Warrington area (U.K.) has 
been named the Cheshire Cats 
after locally born Lewis Carroll's 
"grinning moggie." "New junior 
Warrington rugby league team 
Cheshire Cats to play in Midlands 
League," The Warrington Guardian, 
November 9, 2008, http://dnyurl. 

Illustrator Colleen Champ and mi- 
crophotographer Dennis Kunkel 
received first prize in the National 
Science Foundation's annual 
Science and Engineering Visual- 
ization Challenge for creating a 
highly original version of the Mad 
Tea Party. The image appeared 
on the cover of Science Magazine 
(September 26, 2008). Champ 
Photoshopped Kunkel's photomi- 
crograph and transformed three 
beetles into the Mad Hatter, the 
March Hare, and the Dormouse. 
They drink tea at a table made of 
butterfly wings, set in a field of 
crystallized vitamin C while aphids 
fly overhead. Champ and Kunkel 
are planning to develop a book of 
illustrations to be called Alice's Ad- 
ventures in a Microscopic Wonderland. 


The Association for Library Ser- 
vices to Children has teamed up 
with The Oprah Winfrey Show to 
provide a Kids Reading List on the 
show's website, which includes this 
listing ior Jabberxuocky as illustrated 
by Christopher Myers: "The classic 
nonsense poem at last makes sense 
when brilliantly illustrated as an 
urban playground one-on-one bas- 
ketball game where intimidating 
size meets quickness and skill." See 

From Flock Beds to Professionalism: 
A History of Index-Makers by Hazel 
Bell (Oak Knoll, 2008) includes an 
essay by August Imholtz, entitled 
"Lewis Carroll: the orderly mind 
at work." 

Book & Magazine Collector magazine 
celebrated its 300th issue in No- 
vember with the cover story "Alice 
and Her Imitators." The article, by 
Nick Hogarth, is about AATWparo- 
dies, distortions, continuations, 
and other variations, and includes 
a six-page select bibliography: www. 

The Folio Society is offering a lim- 
ited edition oi AAuG (http:// This 
leather-bound edition seems to 
be reproduced from the original, 
owned by the British Library, and 
is accompanied by "an illuminat- 
ing companion booklet, in which 
Sally Brown, Curator of Modern 
Manuscripts at the British Library, 
traces the manuscript's develop- 
ment, and explores Carroll's 
friendship with Alice Liddell and 
her family." (The booklet appears 
to be the same as one available 
from the British Library, Treasures 
in Focus: Alice's Adventures Under 

Literary Feasts: Inspired Eating from 
Classic Fiction (Atria, 2006, ISBN 
1932338292) by Sean Brand has a 
section on the Mad Tea Part)?, and 
most important for the thrifty col- 
lector, is currently available in fine 
bookstores' and online retailers' 
bargain bins. 

Jim Dale, actor and reader of 
the Harry Potter audiobooks, has 
recorded an unabridged AAIW 
audiobook (ISBN 978-0739367384, 
Listening Library, 2008), available 
at all fine bookstores and booksites. 

A new colored edition oi AAIW 
is now available from illustrator 
Tatiana lanovskaia. Fifty copies are 
available at $40 (plus postage), 
with perfect binding, paper cover, 
63 original colored illustrations. 
Another 50 are available at $25 
(plus postage), due to some print- 

ing flaws, e.g., change of the font, 
duplicated pages that had to be 
removed. Pictures at the begin- 
ning of "The Mad Tea Party," on 
page 8 and on page 38, look dif- 
ferent in the two runs. The artist 
can sign the book if requested. 
If interested, write to Tatiana at 

Christophe Leroy, president of 
the Rhone [France] Chess Soci- 
ety, invites us to the deciphering 
of the mysterious chess game 
in TTLG in his Alice et le maitre 
d'echecs {Alice and the Chess Master) 
( . 
More information about M. Le- 
roy's chess adventures can be seen 
at In 
response, Arne Moll has written 
a very interesting article, "Lewis 
Carroll's chess problem," on the 
ChessVibes website: http://tinyurl. 

Patricia Sweet's Bo Press Miniature 
Books has the Bellman's Map avail- 
able in three sizes: a map portfolio 
at iVg" '^ 2Vg", an "extravagantly 
bound" portfolio at I'/j" x IV^", 
and a micro-miniature portfolio at 
1" X IV4": www.bopressminiature 

Women Who Read Are Dangerous, by 
Stefan Bollman (2008, Merrell, 
ISBN 978-1858944654), celebrates 
reading women in paintings, pho- 
tographs, drawings, and prints, 
and includes Julia Margaret 
Cameron's photograph of Alice 

Shadowline: The Art of Iain McCaig is 
here at last. At our fall '07 meeting 
in Seattle, Iain gave an amusing 
illustrated walk through his career 
as a concept artist (perhaps best 
known for designing the charac- 
ters — e.g., Darth Maul, Padme 
Amidala — in the Star Wars pre- 
quels) , and spoke of his lifelong 
plan to illustrate the Alice books 
{KL 79 cover and pp. 2-3). Shad- 
owline is framed within a rollick- 
ing fantasy tale, and includes five 
pages of Alice drawings in color 
and black-and-white. Insight Edi- 
tions, 2008, 


Icon creator website IconShock. 
com has developed a set oi Alice 
in Wonderland-\n?,'p\ved icons for 
Windows Vista operating system 
software developers. Alice, the 
Cheshire Cat with a wonderful 
grin, the Mad Hatter, and the King 
and Queen of Hearts are pre- 
sented in the "Lumina" style, and 
look a bit like Weebles to my eye. 
(Do people know what Weebles 
are anymore?) See http://tinyurl. 

Frank Beddor has added yet an- 
other aspect to his Looking Glass 
Wars "empire": a massive multi- 
player online (MMO) game called 
Card Soldier Wars. "Strategize to 
become the most powerful general 
in Wonderland and place your 
queen upon the throne!" See 

"Flo, Grandma, and Bookworm 
Bernie continue their adven- 
tures in the world of fairytales!" 
Children's video game Diner Dash: 
Through the Cooking Glass... "fea- 
tures Grandma Hatter presiding 
over a fantastical yet familiar tea 
party. She tells Flo that the only 
way home from Wonderworld 
involves the purchase of a very ex- 
pensive magic bean. How will Flo 
get out of this rabbit hole?" See 

The Reel Deal Casino Gold Rush 
package, put out by Phantom EFX, 
includes a computer slot-machine 
game, "Wonderland," based on 
Alice. Though the screen shot 
makes it look a bit sleazy, it's actu- 
ally a cute slot game. Many Alice 
quotes are used onscreen and in 
the sound effects, so someone did 
at least some homework on this 
game. The rest of the Gold Rush 
package has nothing to do with 
Alice, regrettably: http://tinyurl. 
com/6pupsl, with a screen shot 
of the game at: http://tinyurl. 




Sad days in Llandudno. In addi- 
tion to the Alice in Wonderland 
Centre closing on September 14, 
the demolition of Penmorfa began 
on November 20. 

This year the theme of EPCOT's 
International Food and Wine 
Festival (September 26 to Novem- 
ber 9) was "Cities in Wonderland." 
Member Daniel Singer reports, 
"The theme was not very devel- 
oped, but at least they featured 
a nice White Rabbit statue at the 
entrance and a lovely topiary tea- 
table. They also played the Disney 
A/W musical soundtrack at the 
park entrance. These elements 
were the only evidence of the 
Wonderland theme, unfortunately. 
In the Magic Kingdom, there were 
temporary signs announcing a tea 
party with Alice and friends, so we 
followed the "treat trail." Several 
characters were represented as 
full-sized painted-plywood cut- 
outs, encouraging us to continue. 
To our astonishment, the path 
ended in Tomorrowland with no 
payoff. We laughed pretty hard, 
reminded of P. T. Barnum's entic- 
ing signs leading visitors to 'The 
Egress.'" [The treat trail seems to have 
been part of "Mickey 's Not So Scary 
Halloween Party, " open during certain 
October evenings. — Ed.] 

"Dimensions of Wonderland: 
From Alice's Adventures Under 
Ground to Beyond the Moon," was 
exhibited at Kent State University 
Libraries, Special Collections and 
Archives, November 1, 2007, to 
December 14, 2008. This exhi- 
bition explored AA/Wand the 
many derivative works inspired 
by the original. The exhibit show- 
cased the evolution of a cultural 
icon — from the children's story 
never intended to be published, 
to the vast and diverse interpreta- 
tions of Alice through the last one 
hundred and forty years. Featured 
were early editions of the book, 
illustrations by prominent artists, 
translations, parodies, games, and 

artifacts. See www.library.kent. 
edu/page/ 14067. 

The Lewis Carroll Children's 
Library at 166 Copenhagen Street, 
Islington (U.K.) reopened on No- 
vember 6 after a major refurbish. 
Although it has no real connection 
with Lewis Carroll (other than 
making use of his name), it is deco- 
rated with Carroll characters. See 

Every year over a thousand candle- 
lit paper and bamboo lanterns are 
carried through Baltimore's Patter- 
son Park the Saturday or Sunday 
before Halloween. Titled "Beware 
the Jabberwock!," the Great Hal- 
loween Lantern Parade had a 
Lewis Carroll theme this year. "The 
ghostly procession ends with a 
shadow puppet drama set to eerie, 
live music. The show, projected on 
a 40-foot tall screen, tells a differ- 
ent spooky story every year." See 

On select nights in September, 
October, and November, Univer- 
sal Studios Florida theme park is 
transformed into Halloween Hor- 
ror Nights. This year the event 
included "Asylum in Wonderland": 
"Stepping through the Looking 
Glass, you find yourself in the 
depths of Wonderland, journeying 
through the nightmare that Alice 
couldn't escape. The wonder- 
ful figures you once believed to 
inhabit this fantastical place have 
been peering into the Looking 
Glass themselves, and have come 
face to face with Bloody Mary!" 

A new bar has opened in Welling- 
ton, New Zealand: "Alice" is lo- 
cated at the back of (where else?) 
the Boogie Wonderland nightclub: 

Blists Hill Victorian Town, in Iron- 
bridge, Shropshire, U.K., hosted 
a AA/Wthemed weekend on July 
26 and 27, 2008. Visitors could 
join the Hatter at the Mad Tea 
Party, play croquet with the Queen 
of Hearts, and attend the trial of 
the Knave of Hearts. Families also 
could have a go at painting white 

plaster roses red, playing with Vic- 
torian toys, or following a trail in 
search of the Cheshire Cat. Further 
details at 

Whitby (U.K.), the seaside town 
where LC spent many holidays, has 
put up a blue plaque commemo- 
rating his stays at number five. 
East Terrace. Known as Barnard's 
at the time of his stays, the hotel 
has recently been renamed La 
Rosa, and the new owners plan to 
focus their tea room on Carroll's 
works. "Lewis Carroll plaque set to 
be unveiled in terrace," November 
28, 2008, Whitby Gazette, 

A proposal for "The Alice In Won- 
derland ecological garden" at the 
Moray (U.K.) Arts Centre won 
the vote in the People's Millions 
television show, thereby winning 
a donation of £54,000. The fund- 
ing will pay for the construction 
of an outside garden art studio 
where people attending classes 
can draw and paint flowers, trees, 
fruit, and vegetables. See www. 

Are you aware that there is now an 
exclusive celebrity rehab facility in 
West Hollywood called "Wonder- 
land"? Oh, my ears and whiskers. 
There's an article about it, and 
other places like it, in the Dec 1, 
2008 New Yorker, www.newyorker. 
com/reporting/2008/ 12/01/ 

At Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Par- 
lor in Madison, WI, the decor is 
definitely the focus of the place, 
not the food. In addition to vari- 
ous peculiar automata, and a ceil- 
ing hung with handmade papier- 
mache images of virtually every 
pop culture character of the twen- 
tieth century, there is an extremely 
large AA/Wthemed cuckoo clock 
(about 4x5 feet), very impressive 
in its own odd way, also handmade 
by a local artisan: www.ellas-deli. 
com/displays. php. 



In episode 1 3 of the anime Ouran 
High School Host Club, Haruhi, one 
of the main characters, has a dream 
with the other Host Club mem- 
bers appearing as Alice characters: 

"Would you like to get married, 
Big Brother Africa style? The makers 
of the reality show are offering 
a fairytale Alice in Wonderland- 
themed wedding to their view- 
ers. In a new twist to the show, 
contestants are giving a couple 
the chance to wed in front of the 
production's 30 million viewers. 
And the event will be arranged 
and staged by the housemates — 
with the help of 'Big Brother.' 
The competidon is open to all 
fans of the show in all the African 
countries that have representa- 
tives appearing in it. The big day 
will be November 13 and will be 
broadcast live on Big Brother Africa. 
Unfortunately, the only guests 
allowed at the wedding will be the 
housemates themselves. The rest 
of the guests will have to settle 
for seeing it all play out on their 
television set. All a viewer needs to 
enter is a valid passport, to be over 
21, be legally eligible to marry, 
and not have been convicted of 
an offence punishable by impris- 
onment" — which eliminates the 
Knave of Hearts. The Times (South 
Africa), October 14, 2008, http:// 

From October 3 to November 15, 
the Northern Gallery for Contem- 
porary Art in Sunderland (U.K.) 
exhibited "A Gift to Those who 
Contemplate the Wonders of Cit- 
ies and the Marvels of Travelling," 
which included an A/ic^related 
film: "[Mio] Shirai's new short 
film, Forever Afternoon, re-creates a 
section of AATW. . . . Shirai allows 
us to re-read Alice in a new way, as 
a parable of how we experience 
and assimilate alien cultures and 
places. Here, Alice — played by Shi- 
rai — has to learn the rules of en- 
gagement of a strange yet familiar 

place, rules which are logical, and 
yet different from our own. The 
film was shot entirely in locations 
which Carroll knew and visited 
in the North East." See http://ti- 

The Seattle International Film 
Festival's Bumbershoot short-film 
program on August 30 and 31 
included two Alice-relzted offer- 
ings: /a^, "A mixture of live action 
and 3D photo animation illustrate 
the weird and beautiful world of 
Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky'" 
(, and 
Alice in Not So Wonderland, "From 
legendary stop-motion animators 
the Brothers Quay comes a dark 
and surreal variation on AATW, in 
which our puppet heroine sud- 
denly finds herself on the other 
side of the looking glass, witness- 
ing nightmarish scenes" 
( . 


Round House Theatre in 
Bethesda, MD, staged the world 
premiere of Alice, a new adapta- 
tion of AAIW, from November 26 
to December 28. "Lewis Carroll's 
beloved story comes to life in an 
inventive, magical new produc- 
tion adapted and directed by Mary 
Hall Surface." In this reimagined 
version, Alice, upon turning 13, 
neither child nor adult, is struck 
with existential angst, symbolized 
by her constant size changes: 

Yorkshire's Indigo Moon Theatre 
is touring the U.K. with "Alice 
and the White Rabbit": "Join Alice 
on her magical adventure as she 
chases the White Rabbit back in 
time on a fantastic spiralingjour- 
ney into Wonderland. Watch her 
change in size in this dream-like 
shadow adaption. . . . On her jour- 
ney she meets the Cheshire Cat, a 
two-legged dragon and the March 
Hare at the medieval Mad Hatter's 
Tea party. . . . 'Alice and The 
White Rabbit' celebrates different 
shadow puppetry techniques and 

is inspired by the gothic architec- 
ture and medieval times of the 
original white rabbit statue found 
in St. Mary's Church, Beverley, 
East Yorkshire" (i^ 71:26). See 

In late August, Philadelphia's Live 
Arts Festival and Philly Fringe in- 
cluded the Nicole Canuso Dance 
Company's Wandering Alice. "Alice 
[is] a curious wanderer who leads 
audiences through trials, delights, 
and a sea of unruly memories that 
color her identity. Inspired by 
AA/Wand The Wind-Up Bird Chron- 
icle by surrealist novelist Haruki 
Murakami, Wandering Alice \^il\ 
transform Christ Church Neigh- 
borhood House into a dreamlike 
landscape where audiences will 
be free to watch, wander, get lost, 
and be found." See http://tinyurl. 

Following last year's popular Alice 
in One-Hit Wonderland {KL 79:26), 
Burbank's Falcon Theatre and 
Troubadour Theatre Company 
presented Alice in One-Hit Wonder- 
land 2: Through the Looking Glass 
from July 25 to October 12: "No 
need to Walk 500 Miles for sum- 
mer fun! Just jump on the Double 
Dutch Bus to the Falcon and 
join Alice (who in Troubie-land 
is the wisecracking housekeeper 
from The Brady Bunch) , Humpty 
Dumpty, Tweedledum, Twee- 
dledee. Red Queen and the rest 
of the wacky Carroll characters 
as they bebop along to one-time 
chart toppers of yesteryear." See 

Foolsgold Theatre's Alice in Won- 
derland toured the U.K. this sum- 
mer: "Is the rabbit hole a black 
hole? Is Wonderland a parallel 
universe? We're all mad here! Join 
Alice on a magical mystery tour of 
wacky characters, weird science, 
and impossible sports as Foolsgold 
presents a pulsating adaptation 
of Lewis Carroll's classic tale for 
all the family." Billed as "outdoor 
walkabout theatre," Foolsgold 
played at various venues, includ- 
ing the Williamson Tunnels in 


Liverpool, where the audience ac- 
tually traveled underground along 
with Alice! See http://tinyurl. 

The Music Center of Los Angeles 
County presented the 2008 Toy 
Theatre Festival on June 14 and 
15, 2008, at Walt Disney Concert 
Hall, with Alison Heimstead and 
Sibyl O'Malley's Alice in Wonderland 
performed eight times over the two 


Jan Padover's fine deck of playing 
cards festooned with colored Ten- 
niel illustrations and quotes from 
Wonderland {KL 79:55) has been 
updated with text corrections and 
a new blue back (the old one was 
red). See 
alice_l . Be sure to specify the back 
color when ordering. 

Minnie Maria, an English company, 
is producing a set of hand-painted 
pewter miniatures based on the 
A/2c^ illustrations of Arthur Rack- 
ham, possibly the first time this 
has been done. The first figures 
are of two scenes, Alice and the 
Caterpillar, and Alice encounters 
the White Rabbit. The Caterpillar 
and the mushroom are separate 
pieces that fit together well, stand 
approximately 3" high, and are 
priced at £31 for the pair, while the 
Alice (when she is small) that goes 
with this scene is 1.5" high and 
costs £17. The White Rabbit is 2" 
high and is magnificent, with his 
coat flared out behind him. Don't 
be late, he is £25. The compatible 
Alice for this scene is about 1.75" 
tall. All of the figures come in a 
variety of color combinations. See or 
contact Joel Birenbaum at 

If you want to add a bit of madness 
to your next tea party, you can't 
go far wrong with this stackable 
teacup vase. The cups can be taken 
apart and stacked in different ways, 
yet don't leak! See http://tinyurl. 

Fans of the Black Phoenix Alchemy 
Lab's perfume, particularly the 
Mad Tea Party collection (http://, will be pleased 
with sister company Black Phoenix 
Trading Post's hand-cast sterling 
silver perfume pendants based 
on Tenniel's illustrations of the 
Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, 
the Mad Hatter, and the White 

Charles Stephan and Elf Doll will 
be releasing a new set of "Cherry 
Blossom" pig-headed dolls. Alice, 
Billie, Edward, Victoria, Ian, and 
Julia are dressed up as Alice, the 
White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the 
Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee, 
and Tweedledum, respectively. But 
no pig baby! See http://tinyurl. 

Check out Yasmin Sethi's Alice- 
inspired chess set! "Inspired by 
[ Through the Looking-Glass] , the 
chess pieces have an opaque mirror 
finish, when they touch the surface 
of the board they magically turn 
transparent and reveal the identity 
of the piece contained inside them. 
When removed from the board 
they revert to being opaque, hid- 
ing the identity of the piece. This 
is a comment on how a chess piece 
has no value unless it is in play on 
the board. . . the White Knight only 
works when placed upside down, 
a reference to the book where the 
White Knight talks about how he 
thinks better when he is upside 
down." Designed in response to 
a brief set by Schott UK Ltd. for 
final-year students of Central Saint 
Martins College of Art and Design, 
one hopes that it will soon be on 
the market! See http://tinyurl. 

Storytailors ( , 
a clothing store in Lisbon, Portu- 
gal, specializes in "literary-sartorial 
mash-ups," including "E.L.A(lice) 
and Ela (Queen of Roses)," a tale 
of a schizophrenic girl that mixes 
elements of AA/Wand a Portu- 
guese folktale about a queen who 
transforms roses into bread for the 
poor. Other A&^inspired clothing 

lines include "dressing fairytales"/ 
"historias para vestir" (http://, which has 
several dresses for little girls made 
with very colorful AAAV fabric, and 
designer Charles Anastase (www., who has 
a dress for grown-up girls with a 
black and white Tenniel design. 

The many faces of Alice: DoUmas- 
ters' 2008/09 catalog features a doll 
for every taste and pocketbook: (1) 
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls' Alice 
Through the Look [sic] GZa55 newly 
designed by artist Dianna Efifner. 
Alice wears a replica of her 1940s 
Nancy Ann costume and costs $93; 
(2) a Madame Alexander Litde 
Children Alice in Wonderland doll 
for $49; (3) hand-painted Alice 
and Cheshire Cat wooden figurines 
from Xenis Collection ($950 for the 
pair); (4) R. John Wright's limited- 
edition felt Alice for $1450; (5) an 
appealing Alice at the Tea Party 
chess set by Lucia Friederichy (one 
of a kind) for $6500. See 

The Unemployed Philosopher's 
Guild (www.philosophersguild. 
com, search under "Lewis Car- 
roll") has a variety of A/zV^inspired 
gifts, including cards, a mug with a 
disappearing Cheshire Cat, Alice's 
Enchantmints (buy two... one to eat 
and one to keep in, er, mint condi- 
tion), and an item of vital impor- 
tance to all KL editors, a pill box 
decorated with the Mad Hatter and 
the words "Meds or Madness!" 

Two Alice calendars are available 
to make sure you aren't late in the 
new year: "Alice in Wonderland: 
The Official 2009 Calendar" (Eu- 
rope 2, ISBN 978-1843377252) 
uses the colored Tenniel illustra- 
tions of the Nursery Alice, courtesy 
of the British Library, while the 
Zenescope ( 
Wonderland 2009 Calendar uses 
the illustrations from their horror/ 
cheesecake comic series. Beyond 
Wonderland, Tales From Wonderland, 
and Return to Wonderland. 



At ! 'twas here, on this spot. 

In that summer of yore, 
Atalanta did not 

Vote my presence a bore, 
Nor reply to mv tenderest talk " She had heard 

all that nonsense before." 

She 'd the brooch I had bought, 
And the necklace and sash on ; 
And her heart, as I thought. 
Was alive to my passion ; 
And she'd done up her hair in the style that 

the Empress had brought into fashion. 

I had been to the play 

With my beautit'ul Peri, 
But for all I could say. 

She declared she was weary. 
That the place was so crowded and hot, and she " couldn't 

abide that Dundreary'* 

Then I thought, " 'Tis for me 
That she whines and she whimpers ; " 

And it thrilled me to see 
Those sensational simpers ; 
And I said, " This is scrumptious ! " a phrase I had 
learned from the Devonshire shrimpers. 

And I vowed, " 'Twill be said 

I 'm a fortunate fellow. 
When the breakfast is spread— 

When the topers are mellow — 
When the foam of the bride-cake is white, and the fierce 

orange-blossoms are mellow." 

Oh, that languishing yawn ! 

Those emotional eyes ! 

I was drunk with the dawn 

Of a splendid surmise — 

I was stung by a serpentine smile, and tossed 

on a tempest of sighs. 

And I murmured, " I guess 
The sweet secret thou keepest. 

And the dainty distress 
That thou wistfully weepest ; 
And the question is ' Licence or Banns ? ' though 
undoubtedly Banns are the cheapest. 

Then her white hand I clasped. 
And with kisses I crowned it ; 

But she glared and she gasped. 
And she muttered " Confound it ! " 
Or at least it was something like that, but 

the noise of the omnibus drowned it. 

A Ritualistic Misprint. 

A Contemporary observes that, in one of the journals for the past 
week, we are told of " the undoubted success of the Ritualists in gain- 
ing the masses." This is just the mendacious language of puffing 
advertisements. The success of the Rituahsts in gaining the masses is 
more than doubted ; it is denied. The statement that tiiey succeed in 
gaining the masses can only be made true by taking the letter m away 
from the word masses. They ape the Mass, but do not gain the masses, 
and those whom they do gain are stupid asses. 

The Real Master of the Ceremonies to otjr Distinguished 
Guests.— St. Swithin, and be Cust to him ! {No offence to Sir Edward, 
we hope.) 

Dodgson's brief parody of Charles Swinburne's "Atalanta in Corydon" (1865) ivas first published 
without attribution on July 27, 1867.