Full Schedule Posted of LCSNA Fall 2011 Meeting!

Barry Moser's Hatter

Our Fall 2011 meeting will again be at the marvelous Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology, on Saturday, November 12.

Speakers include Morton Cohen on Carroll’s epiphanies; Adriana Peliano, founder of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, on the metamorphosis of Alice in illustrations and art; Alison Gopnik on her discovery of the Iffley Yew and how Dodgson’s real life affected his works; Emily R. Aguilo-Perez on film adaptations; Jeff Menges, editor of Alice Illustrated (coming from Dover in October), on illustrators; and James Fotopoulos, an artist and film-maker who made an avant-garde film called Alice in Wonderland and will also display related art.

The full program is available here.

10/6 Happy Hatter Day To You

October 6th – It’s Hatter Day, here in the US anyway. In the UK, much like Mother’s Day and Independence Day, they celebrate on a different day (the 10th of June).

Jervis Tetch

First appearance of Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter in Batman (1948)

In Hatter news, the mad one is to join the roster of villains out to kill Batman in the video game Arkham City. Josh Harmon discusses the addition on the gamer site Gameranx where there is also a trailer for the updated game.

Hatter entered Batman’s universe sixty-three years ago this month in 1948. Originally, he was a batty ever-so-slightly megalomaniacal baddie, real name Jervis Tetch. Over the years he’s gained a touch of 21st century evil, as the screenshot from Arkham City below suggests. The updated game will be released on October 18.


Arkham City Mad Hatter

New Villain Mad Hatter in Arkham City

Celebration of Mind II – Sign up!

Can you change “100″ to “CAT” by moving just two of these toothpicks?
Cat Puzzle

The above puzzle is probably familiar to many lovers of logic games, but new to the multitude who have not yet made the connection between mathematical problems, visual conundrums, and, of all things, fun.

One man who spent a lifetime reaching out to both the initiates and the multitude was Martin Gardner, philosopher, mathematician, magician, and for 25 years the author of the “Mathematical Games” column in the Scientific American. He was also a founding member of the LCSNA and the creator of the irreplaceable Annotated Alice books.

Martin Gardner

When Martin died last year the foundation Gathering for Gardner vowed to “celebrate Martin’s life and work, and continue his pursuit of a playful and fun approach to Mathematics, Science, Art, Magic, Puzzles and all of his other interests and writings.” One of these celebrations is fast upon us – the second annual Celebration of Mind events to be held worldwide on or around what would have been Martin’s 97th birthday – October 21, 2011.

Last year, people gathered to share magic tricks, puzzles, recreational mathematics problems and stories about Martin at 66 locations from Tokyo to Tehran to Buenos Aires to Boulder, Colorado. This year, 30 hosts have signed up already and the organizers expect many more – if you can’t make the gathering at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, how about attending one of the 15 already listed in North America? Events held by LCSNA members will undoubtedly have an Alice flavor – if you are hosting one, be sure to get in touch and we will advertise it on the blog.

I wonder how many events this year will feature readings from A Bouquet for the Gardener, the beautiful collection of tributes and reminiscences published by the LCSNA in July? (Available at Amazon.com.)

For a map of planned events, and for guidelines for hosting your own event, go to the Gathering for Gardner website. There you can also find photos and descriptions of previous events along with downloadable visual treats and puzzles to whet your appetite. You can also follow event updates on Twitter account @G4G_CoM.

And finally, if you haven’t figured out the toothpick teaser above, I’m not going to tell you. What are Sunday afternoons for?


Down the Rabbit Hole with Lewis Carroll and Leonard Weisgard

If you find yourself in Fresno later this month, the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature has a double-billing for you:

Leonard Weisgard at the Arne Nixon Center

The Center will offer two coordinating exhibitions in the Henry Madden Library. The second-floor Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery will display Lewis Carroll materials from the Arne Nixon Center’s extensive collection, including original art by Leonard Weisgard for his 1949 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Materials on loan will include original Alice-themed art by Charles M. Schulz for his “Peanuts” comic strip loaned by the Charles M. Schulz Museum, anamorphic Alice bronze sculptures loaned by artist Karen Mortillaro, and original art loaned by author/illustrator Byron Sewell.

The third-floor Pete P. Peters Ellipse Balcony will showcase additional illustrations from picture books by Leonard Weisgard, on loan from his family. Leonard Weisgard won the 1947 Caldecott medal for illustration for his pictures for Golden MacDonald’s book The Little Island.

The exhibitions, which are suitable for all ages, will be open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Other viewings may be arranged by calling the Arne Nixon Center at 559.278.8116.

The exhibitions will run from September 16th to October 26th. If you do stop by, email us your review and we may post it on this blog!

Read all about it: Dame Gillian’s lecture on “Alice in Time”

Dame Gillian Beer

In the last edition of the Knight Letter we noted that Dame Gillian Beer, King Edward Professor of English Literature Emeritus at Cambridge, had delivered a lecture entitled “Alice in Time” last March at the Radcliff Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Now you can read a short review of the lecture in the online version of the Radcliff Magazine.

Beer discussed Carroll’s preoccupation with time as one reason for the Alice books’ enduring popularity; she also remarked on the upcoming anniversary: “The 150th anniversary of the first Alice book won’t occur for several more years, but ‘if people are getting primed already,’ Beer said, ‘Lord knows what will happen in 2015.’”

We’ll take that as a challenge, then.

Oxfork Underground Restaurant Spotted

Intelligence just in from our spies on the ground in Oxford, England. “Fancy dress appreciated” is a good sell, we think.


Watch the LCSNA Spring 2011 Meeting online

All the thrills of the LCSNA Spring 2011 Meeting in the privacy of your own home!

Thanks to our host Brewster Kahle and the magnificent Internet Archive, last month’s San Francisco/Petaluma meeting is now available online. If you missed the event, or would like to relive the highlights, you can download any or all of the meeting segments here.

The mission of the Internet Archive is to offer permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. We encourage you to watch founder Brewster Kahle’s address to the meeting to learn how the Lewis Carroll Society of North America could, like the Grateful Dead, be at the forefront of media preservation – ensuring the immortality of Alice for future generations.

The Internet Archive, San Francisco

Happy Birthday Alice

Happy Birthday Alice! – 159 years an inspiration on this earth or under it today. LCSNA member Bob Mitchell has sent us this birthday musing:

Let me ask the two of you a curious question: Lewis Carroll was born in 1832 and Alice was born in 1852. Since 1842 is exactly half way between those two numbers did that peak his interest in the #42?

The question was caused by an extremely odd dream I had a few weeks ago.

Most excitingly, this is the very first non-spam response to the question I posed back in October 2010: Why were both Lewis Carroll and Douglas Adams so interested in the number 42? As a non-mathematician it seems to me quite random. Let me mark the occasion of Alice’s birthday by reopening the question: What is so cool about the number 42? Explanations drawn from mathematical theory, literary studies or odd dreams are all welcome (particularly the latter).

May the 4th be with you.


The internet domain name www.twasbrilligandtheslithytovesdidgyreandgimbleinthewabe.com is up for auction on Ebay – starting bid only 1 cent!

It may be tricky to type, and it could be a struggle to fit it on your business card, but it sure is memorable.

The Daguerreotype that was not Dodgson or The High Price of Mistaken Identity

Who are you?

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.