Michael Everson released six Carroll books in 2009 from his publishing company Evertype, starting with the Irish AAIW, Eachtraí Eilíse, and continues now with more new unique oddities. All this exciting activity is causing Mark Burstein to wax Borgesian about La biblioteca de Babel:
Borges and others have spoken of a universal library; for our purposes, let us imagine an enormous set of the two canonical Alice books, all with matching covers and identically formatted with the Tenniel illustrations, each being in one the ninety or more languages into which they have been translated. Michael Everson is moving in that direction with matching editions of the books in, thus far, English, Irish, Cornish, German, and Esperanto, and soon he promises French, Italian, and Swedish, as well as the constructed language Lojban. Aside from the new translations (Irish, Cornish), the European languages (Michael is fluent in six) are taken from the first editions, but romanized (in the case of the German Fraktur) and modernized in terms of spelling and, occasionally, vocabulary, the goal of which is to have thoroughly readable texts for modern readers.
(That continuing-to-evolve ‘Burstein on Everson’ essay will appear in a future Knight Letter.)
Mrs. J. C. Gorham (who will be known to history only by her husband’s name!) created a series of books using only one syllable words, including Gulliver’s Travels (1896) and Black Beauty (1905). “Having read the Gulliver’s Travels retelling,” writes Mr. Everson, “I can say that it is a fine example of monosyllabic writing […]. Although Mrs Gorham ‘cheats’ rather a bit more than this in her 1905 retelling of Alice—her style is still both vigorous and enjoyable. It is for this reason that Mrs Gorham’s ‘Alice imitation’ (to use Carolyn Sigler’s term) deserves to be put back into print.” You can see what he means by ‘cheats’ (as I did in my attempt at a monosyllabic title to this blog post) in this excerpt:
“Do you like your size now?” asked the Cat-er-pil-lar.
“It is a good height, in-deed!” said the Cat-er-pil-lar, and reared it-self up straight as it spoke (it was just three inch-es high).
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Retold in words of one syllable (Evertype, $11.95, available on Amazon.com).
The other new offerings are two fresh reprints of the Boer War-era political parodies, Caroline Lewis’s Clara in Blunderland and its sequel Lost in Blunderland, originally published in 1902 and each being sold for $12.95. Why is this dated comedy being dragged from the vaults? “I should make it clear that I am not a student of early twentieth-century British politics—but I’m not publishing this book because of its value to the study of that time and place,” writes Everson. “I’m publishing it because it’s a splendid parody, amusing both for what it parodies as for its reflection of Carroll’s original.”
All of Everson’s Evertype Alice books can be perused at alice-in-wonderland-books.com.