Saturday, July 12, 2008

June 21 - 28, 2008

Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
The Pennyroyal Edition
Designed and illustrated by Barry Moser
10 cards

Anytime is probably a perfect time to read Carroll's books but with the notions that surround summer and this edition's quote by James Kincaid, "dreaming as summers die" and the beautiful lines that complete the text, summer indeed seems to be a "frabjous" time to pick this volume up. Such a book, filled with of secrets, which, when whispered or discussed in the summer, could intoxicate many a mind.

Alice's encounter with the Jabberwocky poem reminds me of my own experience reading Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange in high school. The words were unlike any I had encountered before, but somehow but continuing to read, some sort of sense and meaning took shape, and like Alice, my head filled with ideas even though I wasn't exactly sure of anything. The secret is to keep going forward. While I still need to learn more about chess, I love Carroll's questions posed about language, words and meaning, "Callooh! Callay!"

Some excerpts:
xi- "For Alice, the story is a magic potion to ward off the storm-wind of adulthood and death; for Carroll, it is a holding and freezing action. Words are a cabalistic stay against loss, growth, forgetting and betraying."
xi-xii-"The hope to hold and contain is counteracted by a recognition that such a hope is futile."
xii- "The gain is really a loss, the advance a decline"
xiii- "names are 'useful' to the namers."
xiv- "words mean more than we mean to express when we use them"
-Carroll; "Poesta fit non nascitur"
-"Next when you are describing
A shape or a sound or tint,
Don't state the matter plainly.
But put it in a hint:
And learn to look at all things with a sort of mental squint."
-James Kincaid, 1982- "dreaming as the summers die"
4- Footnote- Alice's birthday is May 4th (3 days before mine!)
5- (snow against the window panes) "Just as if someone was kidding the window all over outside."
6- "Let's pretend"
10- "Imperials fiddlestick!"
11- "Mind the volcano!"
13- Jabberwocky
"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
14- "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas- only I don't know exactly what they are!"
15- "We can talk," said the Tiger-lily, "when there's anybody worth talking to."
22- "It's a great game of chess that's being played- all over the world- if this is the world at all, you know."
23- "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."
24- "Speak in French when you ca'n't think of the English for a thing- turn out your toes as you walk- and remember who you are!"
27- "Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!"
30- "What's the use of their having names," the Gnat said, "if they won't answer to them, "said Alice; "but it's useful to the people that name them, I supposed. If not, why do things have names at all?"
32- "'I suppose you don't want to lose your name?' 'No, indeed,' Alice said."
34- "...And now, who am I? I will remember, if I can! I'm determined to do it."
38- contrariwise
44- (Alice) "If I wasn't real...I shouldn't be able to cry."
52- (Queen, living backwards) "...but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways."
54- (Alice lonely) Queen: "consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you've come to-day. Consider what o'clock it is. Consider anything, only don't cry!"
-Alice, "one ca'n't believe impossible things."
-Queen, "...Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
62- "'Must a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully. 'Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: 'my name means the shape I am...'"
-Alice, "'Why do you sit out here all alone?' Humpty Dumpty, 'Why, because there's nobody with me!'"
64- Alice, "' ca'n't help growing older.' said Humpty Dumpty, 'but two can.'"
65- un-birthday present
66- ''When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.'"
-"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean different things."
-"'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master- that's all.'"
67- asks Humpty Dumpty the meaning of Jabberwocky
-"You see its like a portmanteau- there are two meanings packed up into one word"
-toves- live on cheese
68- "In winter, when the fields are white, I sing this song for your delight-
In spring, when woods are getting green, I'll try and tell you what I mean.
In summer, when the days are long, perhaps you'll understand the song:"
69- "In autumn, when the leaves are brown, Take pen and ink, and write it down."
-"I sent a message to the fish..."
79- (Unicorn to Alice) "if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"
82- Looking-glass cakes
83- Alice- "'So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' she said to herself, 'unless-unless we're all part of the same dream.'"
84- Punch and Judy
-Alice, "I don't want to be anybody's prisoner. I want to be a Queen."
88- "It's as strong as soup"
100- (Red Queen) "Always speak the truth- think before you speak- and write it down afterwards."
102- (White Queen) "What is the cause of lightning?"
-(Alice) "It's exactly like a riddle with no answer."
103- hippopotamus
116 "In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?"

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