Last week, the Câmara Brasileira do Livro (Brazilian Book Guild) announced the winners of the 54th annual Jabuti Awards and we are pleased to relate that Alice found herself in the list of winning titles. Adriano Peliano of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil took third prize in the graphic design category for her book Aventuras de Alice no Subterrâneo (Alice’s Adventures under Ground) by Editora Scipione.
As the images below show, Peliano’s book is a triumph of translation and calligraphic skill. Each page of the Portuguese translation mirrors Carroll’s handwritten original; the transformation of the language is subtle and quite magical.
Alice’s Adventures under Ground; Carroll on the left, Peliano on the right
When I decided to recreate the manuscript in Portuguese, I intended to have it be as close as possible to the original object. In doing that I looked for a design that would seem almost imperceptibly different. The pictures, conversations, discoveries, doubts, surprises, obstacles, the strangeness and the delicacy, all came from Lewis Carroll’s original. His handwriting was recreated as if he had written the book in Portuguese for each one of us. In the translation I intended to imbue the words with happiness and invoke curiosity, to read the book as if for the first time.
I can even say that I share this prize with Lewis Carroll. This graceful book is a gift dedicated to him, to Alice Liddell, to a boat trip, to all Alices and rabbits in the world, but mainly, to the strength and magic from an encounter.
The Jabuti Awards honor excellence in Brazilian literature and publishing. “Jabuti” means “tortoise”—can anyone tell us the significance of the name? As the Mock Turtle said of his schoolmaster, so he might school us here: “We called him Tortoise because he taught us”, but what did the Mock Turtle know of Portuguese?
The artist uses creative mark-making and layering to craft the dreamlike illustrations. In Kodomos’ world the White Rabbit is monstrously large, and shadowy landscapes reveal an even more surreal and nightmarish side of the fantasy story. These images are really special!
They actually reminded me, in a spooky way, of Barry Moser’s Dante illustrations. There seems to be only about five, plus some close-ups on the Cheshire Cat, but we’d love to see more.
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.
Thanks again to Adriano Peliano at the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, and her lively blog AliceNations, for posting pictures from this beautiful exhibition at the Biblioteca de Andalucía en Granada, Spain, from 2009. It’s called “Alice’s Adventures under Ground. 75 Aniversario de la muerte de Alice Liddell” by Leonor Solans. There are more images at the AliceNations blog, and she also embedded this video of the show set to the great Tom Waits song “Alice”:
[…] Y aunque la sombra de un suspiro
quizá lata a lo largo de esta historia,
añorando esos «alegres días de un estío de antaño»
y el recuerdo desvanecido de un verano ya pasado…
no rozará con su infeliz aliento
el mágico encanto de nuestro cuento.
We all know that the original Alices of John Tenniel are to rigid and formal to allow flows of subjectivity, body sensations, subtle feelings, vital experiences. These Alices of Leonor Solans welcome Alice in her dive in the potency of life. The exhibition is sweet and delicate, the song of Tom Waits fits perfect.
We are big fans of Alicenations, one of several blogs of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil managed by Adriana Peliano. The site regularly features original and experimental music, video, and illustrations created by Adriana, together with her husband Paulo Beto, and inspired by the Alice books.
Here’s a recent creation which began life as a damaged Disney LP:
Many years ago I found a Disney Alice Record completely warped. I suddenly began to play with its stutter sounds, noises, voices and echoes, creating and recording a musical puzzle. The result is a funny game of words, a collage with dislocated meanings. My actual husband, Paulo Beto, boyfriend at that time, who is an amazing electronic music composer, recreated the material, remixing the jumping sounds.
The video below (a work in progress) makes use of some of the resulting music. Visit Alicenations for further description of the project, and the opportunity to download mp3s.
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 Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil is having their First Anniversary meeting today at No Centro Cultural Brasile iro Britânico (Rua Ferreira de Araújo, 741 – Pinheiros, São Paulo). Here’s the description from their blog(fed thru Google Translate):
Is coming the day of our big event desaniversário! The Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, with support from the Cultural Inglesa promote an evening attractions alicinógenas. Lectures, readings, videos, music, poetry, illustration. Come for tea snack nuts and mushrooms colorful drink sip months of fun.
The writer Wilson Bueno come from Curitiba to create connections between the hilarious nonsense of Lewis Carroll and the riddles of the deep interior. A designer and artist Adriana Peliano will comment on the story of the illustrations of Alice, from Victorian England to contemporary art. The group Frame Circus will live a soundtrack for the 1903 silent film of Alice in Wonderland, the first ever conducted on the subject. The literature teacher Theresa Vasquez will read translations of Jabberwocky accompanied by music and images. These and other attractions invite the lovers of Alice for an unforgettable evening!
Follow the white rabbit, but do not be late and immerse us in this adventure!
Attention Portuguese-speaking Lewis Carroll readers! The Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil has several colorful blogs and websites with a bottomless rabbithole of books, links, art, tudo Alice. Look at all of these edições Brasileiras deAlice no país das Maravilhalisted on the dizzying alicenations.blogspot.com. (The groovy cover to the left is from a 1974 edition with ilustrações by Brazilian artist Oswaldo Storni.)
Their second blog, for “deeper research with more articles and images”, is at brasillewiscarroll.blogspot.com. This one is also expansive, and both sites have some English (always demarcated by stylish italic pink text). I’ve long been a fan of reading websites in translation using the various cyborg cyberspace interpreters at our disposal, and the Sociedade has provided an occasional easy link to do so. For instance, if you desired to read Myriam Ávila’s Alice e Macunaíma, you could feed it thru Google Translate like so. This occasionally creates interesting sentences like: “Such people, the girl significantly calls ‘obnoxious’ (meaning ‘antipodal’), are Anglophones, even though they walk ‘upside down’.” (Both websites, unfortunately, include all or most of their posts on their homepage, so they can take a long time to load on slower computers.) There is also an impressive cache of art and illustrations on these two blogs, like the large one that I’m putting at the foot of this post, which comes with the following pink italicized explanation:
Marina Peliano once was my little sister. But she ate any strange cookie and so suddenly she grew turning trapeze artist, sweet maker and art student, artist growing too. I asked her to do some drawings inspired on Alice and she followed the adventure. I found really beautiful her Alices who look like her. I remember now the letter of the writer Paulo Mendes Campos to his daughter when she was fifteen: “This book is crazy. The meaning is in you.”