Dr Michael Pritchard, a regular contributor to the British Photographic History Blog, has alerted us to his cautionary tale about the uncertain world of eBay bidding. The above daguerreotype, which if you can’t read it is captioned “Charles L. Dodgson Christ Church 1858,” recently sold on eBay for £3,300, about $5,300. The image, if you can’t see it either, is clearly not of Dodgson, in fact the sitter looks more like a cross between Benjamin Disraeli and the Mock Turtle. The suspicious back story to the sale and the insights of the photographic experts all make interesting reading here.
Happy first of March, month of the Mad Hare! “Happy Hare! Happy beyond the lot of many mortals to be mad only once a year!” Read more about the many madnesses of March in The Outlook, Vol. 19, published in January (Why not March? Madness!) 1907, by clicking on the image below.
Mentioning every Carroll-related item that comes up for auction would be impossible, and not the good do-it-before-breakfast kind of impossible either. Nevertheless, here’s a couple of lots coming up at the end of this month that seem worth a mention.
Christie's Sale 5475, Lot #212
On November 30, Christie’s in London will be auctioning a number of books and pamphlets. Lot #212 (pictured left) is a uniformly bound set containing the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the true first edition was recalled by Carroll due its unsatisfactory reproduction of Tenniel’s illustrations) and a first edition of Through the Looking-Glass. Sale 5476 also features Algebraical Formulae and Rules for the use of candidates for responsions (Lot #214), never mentioned in the author’s diary, but possibly an expanded version of Algebraical Formulae for Responsions.
The following day, on the other side of the world, the Leonard Joel auction house in Sydney, Australia, will be auctioning a facsimile of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Lot #294), signed by the author and dated November 15, 1895. The lot also includes two letters to Olive Gould and one to Mrs Gould and, intriguingly, “part of a poem on bats.”
A photo of the poem is below. With a bit of squinting I can read that it begins “She gave it both some bread [and?] milk / and felt its furry wings / which were as soft as softest silk / and said all sorts of things,” but I can’t make out much of the rest. If you can decipher it, please leave a transcription in the comments! Click on the photo to see a larger image.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert‘s march on Washington, D.C., yesterday, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, was estimated to be about 250,000 sane people strong (approximately triple the headcount at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in August, which yesterday’s event was parodying.) Stewart requested attendees to bring pro-sanity signs, and suggestedfor example “I Disagree With You, But I’m Pretty Sure You’re Not Hitler” and “I am not afraid of Muslims / Tea Partiers / Socialists / Immigrants / Gun Owners / Gays … But I Am Scared of Spiders.”
So far, sixty-six parties have been coordinated around the planet to commemorate the giant Carrollian, Martin Gardner (October 21, 1914 – May 22, 2010) on what would have been his 96th birthday, Thursday. The website g4g-com.org(possibly named by Dr. Evil) invites you to join them “in celebrating the life of Martin Gardner by attending or hosting a G4G Celebration of Mind Party.” There are mapsto help find you one in your area, and a Twitter account @G4G_Com has a cacophony of tweets about the ever-increasing number of events.
The Pre-Raphaelite Society in the United Kingdom is calling for entries to the John Pickard Essay Prize. Last year’s winner was Anne Anderson, for her essay “The Pre-Raphaelite Lovejoy: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Charles Augustus Howell, the eponymous ‘dodgy dealer.’”
Alice Liddell by Charles Dodgson
You are invited to enter a monograph of not more than 2000 words for The John Pickard Essay Prize. The monograph may be on any individual related to the Pre-Raphaelite circle.
The winner will receive £100 prize and publication in the Spring 2011 Review of the Pre-Raphaelite Society and subsequently the essays of runners-up may also be published. The final decision will be made by the Committee of the Pre-Raphaelite Society.
When our cousins the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil held their first “Alice Day” in May this year, one of the main events was the live performance of a new soundtrack to the silent Alice in Wonderland (1903). The music was composed by Paulo Beto and performed by the band Frame Circus on keyboards, cello, percussion and Theremin.
Thank you to Adriana Peliano for sending us news of the event. Adriana tends Alicenations, the blog of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil. The above video featured in her Alice Day blog post, along with another soundtrack by Frame Circus, and a video of Leon Theremin playing his own instrument.
The Tinman Gallery in Spokane, Washington is hosting an Alice in Wonderland Invitational from July 30 to August 21, 2010. The event, which features paintings, drawings and sculptures inspired by portrayals of Alice 1865 through 2010, was reviewed by the Pacific Northwest Inlander last Wednesday:
While much of the exhibit artwork pulls directly from literature, others explore Alice in Wonderland’s more adult themes. Ric Gendron’s Feed Your Head is a provocative triptych complete with pot leaves and hookah. Is he pro-drug use? Against? Curiouser and curiouser.
Bernadette Vielbig asks a similar question with her Lewis Carroll Understood the Future of Modern Medicine, a refined aesthetic piece using weathered maple, eerily accurate cast plaster face and hands and a bottle of Kentucky bourbon. More…
The exhibition will be formally opened this evening with an Artist’s Reception from 5-9pm.
Alice in Wonderland Invitational Tinman Gallery, 811 West Garland Avenue, Spokane, WA 99205
Free and open to the public, July 30 to August 21, 2010
Thanks to Mahendra Singh for reminding us that 136 years ago today Lewis Carroll began his composition of The Hunting of the Snark, “and thus, in a semiotic and hypermetaphysical manner, began decomposing the non-existence of The Hunting of the Snark.” Read more at his excellent blog.
In celebration of Snark Day, here is the full text the first edition, published by Macmillan and Co. in 1876.
In lieu of a rendition of “Happy Birthday To You,” we suggest listening to Billy Connolly as the Bellman in the 1987 April Fool’s Day performance of Mike Batt’s Snark musical. When the musical was originally released as a concept album in 1986, the part of the Bellman was sung by Cliff Richard, possibly the only time Billy Connolly and Cliff Richard have proved substitutable in popular culture.
Finally, Mr. Singh (an LCSNA member and Knight Letter editor) is publishing his own beautiful Snark illustrations, coming out November 2nd, 2010, from Melville House, and it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon.com here. Only $10.08! (Don’t be fooled by Amazon’s “look inside,” it links to another edition.) Previews of many of Singh’s illustrations can be seen on his blog, and I’ve reprinted one below.
From Mahendra Singh's illustrations for Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark