Happily, Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in real life!) was a prolific letter writer. Even now, so many years after his death, some of his private correspondence can still surface–even if only long enough to pass from one private collection to another at public auction. But at least we obtain a new glimpse at the man in his own words.
On March 19th, Bonham’s is auctioning off a letter from November 9, 1891, in which Mr. Dodgson explains his dislike of being recognized as “Lewis Carroll” and even expresses, momentarily, the half-wish that he had never written any books because of all the attention their success brought:
“All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection with the books, and to my being pointed out to, and stared at by, strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’. And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all….”
Of course, those of us who have studied Mr. Dodgson in any depth know that he was more than willing to use the name Lewis Carroll to secure a social introduction when he wanted to! While he may have disliked being “lionized” there is no question that he went “lion hunting” himself with his camera and then his books on many occasions. So his statement here should be taken with more than a grain of salt. And we must also consider that he was writing to the woman who occasionally housed his child friends on visits to Eastbourne, where he went for summer vacations of peace and quiet. But the fact that he emphasizes the negative impact of the publicity on his private life does at least speak to the intensity with which he guarded his right to make a distinction between his private self and his literary persona–something well-known artists and figures struggle with to this day.
I am hopeful that this letter will pass into the collection of a library that will make it available to those who wish to see it for their own research, or if it passes again into private hands, that the new owner will be liberal in sharing this new letter with libraries for exhibits. Who knows what other Lewis Carroll correspondence still lies out there in private hands, waiting to be shared with the public?
To see the auction listing, click me.
To read an article about the auction, click me.
Everybody loves a Giveaway Event! Raul Contreras reports that Goodreads is giving away five copies of his new book Alice’s Bloody Adventures in Wonderland. Enter before February 24th by following this link and clicking the “Enter to Win” button on the page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643717-alice-s-bloody-adventures-in-wonderland
In case (like me) you weren’t able to attend the LCSNA’s by-all-accounts-fabulous Fall meeting in Los Angeles, host USC’s campus newspaper the Daily Trojan offers a helpful recap, although alas with some errors and omissions–the most egregious being that the names George and Linda Cassady, and also Daniel Singer, should have been front and center along with talented artist Karen Mortillaro. In addition to partnering with Karen and Daniel on planning the entire event, the Cassadys offered a private tour of their awe-inspiring Carroll collection at USC that has attendees still buzzing. They are also the driving force behind the Wonderland Award mentioned in the article. And just as Karen welcomed members for a private look at her studio, Daniel Singer kindly opened his home to members for a viewing of his own substantial Carrollian collection, as well. Our thanks once again to all who contributed to making this meeting so extraordinary, both the wonderful speakers on the podium (real and virtually) and those working behind the scenes to make the magic happen. By all accounts, it was a weekend that all attendees marked with a white stone.
To read about it in the Daily Trojan, click me!
Karen Mortillaro: The White Rabbit
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, remember that this weekend is the LCSNA’s semi-annual meeting. Our meetings are always free and open to the public, and we have a great roster of speakers and events. Join us!
Visit our Events page for the details.
One of our mimsy minions just forwarded us this information about the “interactive installation” Alice in Berlin, which is now coming to Brooklyn, NY this week from 9/27-29, and then to Chicago on October 19-20th. To read more about this project, click me.
We have just received this notice of a new multimedia art exhibit that will run in Chicago through November 5th (the Opening Reception is free):
“”The Mad Hatter’s Tea party” is a Multi-media wacky, whimsical group art show including mixed media sculpture, soft sculpture, 3-D photography, paintings inspired by Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and other classical story-books. Much of the artwork displayed consists of allegories and reinterpretation of traditional rich text, yet trying to be faithful to the narrative and its surreal context.
A few party related events during the show period:
Opening Reception: September 14. Costumes recommended. 6 -9 pm
Collectors night: September 16 by appointment, 847-224-9344 or: email@example.com
Mime/movement with Masks performance with Marianna Buchwald: TBA
“Alice” or “Dancing with Alice”: an interactive film, and Q & A with producer Ruth Sergel: October 19 -20. Time TBA.
Artists & Performers: If you would like to participate in this show, you can submit by visiting: http://www.outoflineartstudio.com/ under ‘contact’, or by clicking this link: http://www.outoflineartstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Call-for-Art.doc
: During the show period (until November 5) I plan to hold a few events. If any book fan would be interested in participating in a salon- discussion or in any of the events listed in the attachment, they are welcome to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone: 847-224-9344.
Out of Line Art Gallery
2812 W. Chicago ave, Chicago IL
Alice Liddell has made the front page of the New York Times again! This time, it’s an image of Alice as the mythical figure “Pomona,” as photographed by Lewis Carroll’s contemporary, Julia Margaret Cameron. The Metropolitan Museum in NYC has opened a new exhibit of 38 Cameron images. The exhibit runs through January 5th, 2014. To read more, click me.
We recently received the following note from Mabel Odessey, an American artist living in France:
I am contacting you about my current exhibition/installation at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. the exhibition opened on Alice Day July 6 and will run till the end of August so there is still time to catch it!
The subject of these pinhole photographs are marionnettes made by the English artist Margaret Littleton Cook (1940s). They explore the characters as representations of psycological states and Alice’s dream of wonderland as a spiritual journey. To come upon images in the garden unexpectedly much like Alice was confronted by characters in the books will give her psychological journey a geographic sense.
Each character Alice encounters on her journey represents a disturbing emotion that must be transformed in order to reach enlightenment. Carroll calls the Queen of Hearts the embodiment of anger. Lewis Carroll the logician brings up many philosophical debates in the books. He uses nonsense to explore concepts such as time, perception, impermanence, duality, identity and the role of language. Using marionettes as subjects echoes this playful approach.
Using the historic process of pinhole photography give the images a particular resonance and there is no denying the connection between the upside down back to front world behind the looking glass and the positive and negative in photography. Not to mention Carroll’s interest in perception and photography.
The installation considers the qualities of different spaces in the garden and uses the shady places for the darker more mysterious photographs, and more open spaces to echo the images of understanding and clarity. Visitors will have a unique experience of the images as the light and the garden change throughout the day and season.
So, if you’re in the Oxford vicinity and enjoy gardens, marionettes, and/or Alice-themed art, you have until the end of August to view this al fresco exhibit.
Here’s a belated nod to LCSNA member Cathy Rubin’s HuffPost article about this year’s Alice’s Day at Oxford. While the event was held on July 6th, you might still enjoy reading a bit about its history, and following the links to read about the events that were held this year. To read the article, click me.
The LCSNA’s own Charlie Lovett (a former president) will be in New York City to promote his recently published novel The Bookman’s Tale. Charlie will talk about, read from, and sign his book (which does contain Carrollian references) at Barnes and Noble on the Upper East Side (86th and Lexington) at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday June 26. The Bookman’s Tale is the current Barnes & Noble Recommends title, was in the New York Times Extended Bestseller List in its first week of release, and has been recommended by People Magazine, Parade Magazine, The LA Times, and many other publications. For more information, check out Charlie’s website: www.charlielovett.com. Charlie is hoping to see a great LCSNA turnout at the New York signing!