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.’”
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.
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).
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.