The United Nations
It has been some time since we mentioned the stream of new translations flowing from the fount of Evertype Publishing, but that is not because that stream has abated. Six first-time translations and a new Esperanto edition have been published since the start of this year alone.
This brings to eighteen the titles in Evertype’s list of Carroll Books in Translation. It is a great achievement and one that has us daydreaming about radically ambitious installation art involving the United Nations General Assembly Hall (see above), inflatable mushrooms and hundreds of schoolchildren from around the world. (Just imagine. . . )
The seven new titles are:
Nā Hana Kupanaha a ʻĀleka ma ka ʻĀina Kamahaʻo
Alice in Hawaiian translated by R. Keao NeSmith. (The Hawaiian language is spoken by less than 0.1% of state-wide population, but is still the daily language of all the residents of Ni’ihau, “the Forbidden Island.”)
Lès-Aventûres d’Alice ô Pèyis dès Mèrvèy
Alice in Borain Picard translated by André Capron. (Borain Picard is closely related to French and is spoken in parts of northern France and the Wallonia region of Belgium.)
La aventuras de Alisia en la pais de mervelias
Alice in Lingua Franca Nova translated by Simon Davies. (Lingua Franca Nova was constructed by Dr. C. George Boeree of Pennsylvania in the 1960s and has a healthy existence online today.)
La Aventuroj de Alico en Mirlando
Alice in Esperanto translated by Donald Broadribb and edited by Patrick H. Wynne (Fifth Edition). (In Esperanto, “Who are you?” is said “Kiu vi estas?”)
Dee Erläwnisse von Alice em Wundalaund
Alice in Mennonite Low German translated by Jack Thiessen. (Mennonite Low German is spoken in Mennonite communities across North America and Latin America. There are well over 250,000 native speakers.)
L’s Aventuthes d’Alice en Êmèrvil’lie
Alice in Jèrriais translated by Geraint Jennings. (Jèrriais is spoken on the island of Jersey and is a descendant of the language of the Norsemen who conquered France in the 9th century.)
Alice’s Carrànts in Wunnerlan
Alice in Ulster Scots translated by Anne Morrison-Smyth. (The language that became Ulster Scots came to northern Ireland from Scotland in the early 17th century.)
All of the above are available for around $16 from Amazon.com. Bookstores can order copies at a discount from the Evertype.
Imagine this… You are tucked up in bed and have a brilliant idea that must be written down. It’s dark, it’s late, and bedside lights have not been invented yet. What do you do? If you are Lewis Carroll you invent an entirely new system of writing – a card template of square holes, and a square alphabet to fit inside. Problem solved!
Any one who has tried, as I have often done, the process of getting out of bed at 2 a.m. in a winter night, lighting a candle, and recording some happy thought which would probably be otherwise forgotten, will agree with me it entails much discomfort. All I have now to do, if I wake and think of something I wish to record, is to draw from under the pillow a small memorandum book containing my Nyctograph, write a few lines, or even a few pages, without even putting the hands outside the bed-clothes, replace the book, and go to sleep again. – Lewis Carroll, Letter to The Lady magazine in October 1891
A nyctograph, reconstructed by Noah Slater
The Square Alphabet
In 2005, LCSNA-member Alan Tannenbaum built a square alphabet font and transcribed and produced a limited edition of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground – some of you may be proud owners of the rare “Square Alice.” Now, for the first time, a square alphabet edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been published by Evertype and is for sale on Amazon. Below is an example of the text – it’s the passage that begins “‘Are you content now?’ said the Caterpillar,” though you may need a light on to read it.
"Are you content now?" said the Caterpillar.
The edition includes a forward by Alan Tannenbaum and an introduction by publisher Michael Everson on the challenges of the typography. Very little else has been written about Carroll’s nyctograph, but closely related devices may lie all around you – Carroll’s invention prefigured the types of text-entry systems used for tablet computers by 100 years. His own square alphabet has even been cited as inspiration for a unistroke text entry method designed for people with sight or motor impairments.
If you can’t help but try to back-transcribe the passage above (I couldn’t), don’t forget about punctuation. It seems letter characters all have a large dot in the top left of the square, while punctuation characters have a large dot in the lower right.
When I first saw this article about Alice in Sunderland, I thought it might be a forgotten manuscript republished by Michael Everson of Evertype, who has recently released such lost gems as “Clara in Blunderland: A political parody based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland” and “Lost in Blunderland: The further adventures of Clara: A political parody based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland,” as part of Evertype’s boundless library of Wonderland translations and variations. However Alice in Sunderland was just a Fake News release from NewsBiscuit, a website with the tag line “The news before it happens…”
An academic at the University of Lancaster has uncovered a previously unheard of follow-up to Lewis Carroll’s acclaimed Alice series of children’s novels, this time set in the North East of England.
‘Alice in Sunderland is very much like the original novels,’ said Professor Terry Eagleton. ‘It might be grittier and racier, but it contains the same trademark cast of unbelievable characters performing inexplicably bizarre pastimes. I don’t think I’d be spoiling the ending for the readers to say that the things they will witness in these pages could only have happened in a dream.’
As with Carroll’s first novel, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, the action begins with the young heroine lazing by a river one summer afternoon. ‘Only this time Alice is a teenager and she’s spread-eagled on a bench beside the River Wear, her soporific state explained by the two dozen empty bottles of WKD and vodka whose DRINK ME labels she had no choice but to obey.’ [...]
The article ends with Professor Eagleton “continuing his search for the rumoured sequel to Alice Through the Looking Glass describing a hen weekend in Gateshead.”
If your English geography is hazy, Sunderland is a small coastal city within Tyne and Wear in North East England, and the NewsBiscuit article should give you a taste of some of the local color. However, it’s not without its real Carroll connections, and NewsBiscuit is not the first to make the joke. This is a paragraph from the Wikipedia article on Sunderland:
The Walrus in Mowbray Park, Sunderland -Wikipedia
Lewis Carroll was a frequent visitor to the area. He wrote most of Jabberwocky at Whitburn as well as “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. Some parts of the area are also widely believed to be the inspiration for his Alice in Wonderland stories, such as Hylton Castle and Backhouse Park. There is a statue to Carroll in Whitburn library. Lewis Carroll was also a visitor to the Rectory of Holy Trinity Church, Southwick; then a township independent of Sunderland. Carroll’s connection with Sunderland, and the area’s history, is documented in Bryan Talbot’s 2007 graphic novel Alice in Sunderland. More recently, Sunderland-born Terry Deary, writer of the series of Horrible Histories books, has achieved fame and success, and many others such as thriller writer Sheila Quigley, are following his lead.
Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland is on amazon.com here. Wikipedia’s sited reference for the claim that Carroll wrote “The Walrus and the Carpenter” at Sunderland is the website englandsnortheast.co.uk, at which I found written:
On the coast to the north of Sunderland towards South Shields is the village of Whitburn and the nearby Whitburn Sands, where Lewis Carroll is said to have written the eighteen verse poem called the `Walrus and the Carpenter’.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come;” the walrus said
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.”
The Sunderland and Shields area does seem a likely setting for the poem as in Carroll’s time Sunderland was a great shipbuilding port employing many carpenters. Boiling hot sea could be a reference to the steam-boat colliers in the area and a stuffed walrus in a Sunderland museum may have provided further inspiration. It is known that during his regular visits to Whitburn where he had a number of relatives, Lewis Carroll and company entertained themselves with evenings composing rhyme and song. Carroll’s nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, informs us that all but the first verse of the `Jabberwocky’ poem were written by Lewis Carroll at Whitburn. The first verse was written at Croft on Tees, near Darlington, where Carroll lived as a boy.
Illustration by Francis Carruthers Gould from "The Westminster Alice"
Two more curiosities from the generous house of Evertype Publishers:
The Westminster Alice, by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki), and illustrated by Francis Carruthers Gould, New Edition 2010.
These political parody vignettes were first brought together in 1903 in the Westminster Popular, and then published again with forward and footnotes in 1927. This edition provides additional historical background and photographs of the Victorians lampooned. Amazon.com, $12.95
New Adventures of Alice, by John Rae, New Edition 2010.
John Rae, author, illustrator and portraitist from New Jersey, really wished that Lewis Carroll had written a sequel to Through the Looking-Glass, so he wrote and illustrated one himself. Published first in 1917, these new adventures see Alice visit a number of Mother Goose characters. Amazon.com, $21.95
Evertype has announced the publication of a new edition of Selyf Roberts’ 1982 Welsh translation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Anturiaethau Alys yng Ngwlad Hud is newly typeset and contains Tenniel’s illustrations. It is available from Amazon.com for $15.95.
“Y ffordd acw,” ebe’r Gath gan chwifio’i phawen dde, “mae ’na Hetiwr yn byw; a’r ffordd acw,” gan chwifio’r llall, “mae ’na Sgwarnog Fawrth yn byw. Ewch i ymweld â’r naill neu’r llall: mae’r ddau yn wallgof.”
“Ond does arna’ i ddim eisiau mynd i blith pobol wallgof,” ebe Alys.
“O, fedrwch chi ddim peidio,” meddai’r Gath, “rydyn ni i gyd yn wallgof yma. Rydw i’n wallgof. Rydych chi’n wallgof.”
Or, in other words….
“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw around, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
John Bull's Adventures in Fiscal Wonderland, a new edition from Evertype
Last month saw two new publications from Evertype, veritable fount of Alice parodies, translations, and rare reprints. (See the complete catalog here.)
John Bull’s Adventures in Fiscal Wonderland, by Charles Geake and Francis Carruthers Gould is a parody of late 19th century British economic politics, originally published in 1904. Publisher Michael Everson reassures readers that no specialist knowledge of either the Tariff Reform League or the Free Food League is required in order to enjoy John Bull’s adventures. (Amazon.com, $12.95)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a Manx translation by Brian Stowell
Contoyrtyssyn Ealish ayns Çheer ny Yindyssyn is the third edition of Brian Stowell’s Manx translation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Amazon.com, $15.95). Manx, the language of the Isle of Man, is a close relation of Irish and Scottish Gaelic but with a very different orthography. Tragically, no native Manx speakers remain, but the language is the subject of dedicated revival efforts – to which this book will contribute, we hope.
Would-be travelers in a Manx Wonderland might like to practice the following phrases (extracted from Stowell’s translation):
Ta mish keoi – I’m mad
T’ou uss keoi – You’re mad
Ta shin ooilley keoi ayns shoh – We’re all mad here
Ta’n jees oc keoi – They’re both mad
In these circumstances, the book takes the well-deserved liberty of “localizing” a few of Tenniel’s illustrations: apparently the label on Alice’s bottle reads “IU MEE,” for example. But, inquiring minds want to know, does the Cheshire Cat have a tail? Has he been transformed into a Manx cat? Surely one of that curious tail-less breed, with back legs longer than his front legs and a wonderful associated terminology, would feel right at home in Wonderland? (Quiz: Is the cat below a “dimple rumpy, a “rumpy riser,” or a “stumpy”? Visit Our-Cats.com to find out.)
A Manx cat, naturally tail-free (Image from Our-Cats.com)
Michael Everson released six Carroll books in 2009 from his publishing company Evertype, starting with the Irish AAIW, Eachtraí Eilíse, and continues now with more new unique oddities. All this exciting activity is causing Mark Burstein to wax Borgesian about La biblioteca de Babel:
Borges and others have spoken of a universal library; for our purposes, let us imagine an enormous set of the two canonical Alice books, all with matching covers and identically formatted with the Tenniel illustrations, each being in one the ninety or more languages into which they have been translated. Michael Everson is moving in that direction with matching editions of the books in, thus far, English, Irish, Cornish, German, and Esperanto, and soon he promises French, Italian, and Swedish, as well as the constructed language Lojban. Aside from the new translations (Irish, Cornish), the European languages (Michael is fluent in six) are taken from the first editions, but romanized (in the case of the German Fraktur) and modernized in terms of spelling and, occasionally, vocabulary, the goal of which is to have thoroughly readable texts for modern readers.
(That continuing-to-evolve ‘Burstein on Everson’ essay will appear in a future Knight Letter.)
Mrs. J. C. Gorham (who will be known to history only by her husband’s name!) created a series of books using only one syllable words, including Gulliver’s Travels (1896) and Black Beauty (1905). “Having read the Gulliver’s Travels retelling,” writes Mr. Everson, “I can say that it is a fine example of monosyllabic writing [...]. Although Mrs Gorham ‘cheats’ rather a bit more than this in her 1905 retelling of Alice—her style is still both vigorous and enjoyable. It is for this reason that Mrs Gorham’s ‘Alice imitation’ (to use Carolyn Sigler’s term) deserves to be put back into print.” You can see what he means by ‘cheats’ (as I did in my attempt at a monosyllabic title to this blog post) in this excerpt:
“Do you like your size now?” asked the Cat-er-pil-lar.
“It is a good height, in-deed!” said the Cat-er-pil-lar, and reared it-self up straight as it spoke (it was just three inch-es high).
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Retold in words of one syllable (Evertype, $11.95, available on Amazon.com).
The other new offerings are two fresh reprints of the Boer War-era political parodies, Caroline Lewis’s Clara in Blunderland and its sequel Lost in Blunderland, originally published in 1902 and each being sold for $12.95. Why is this dated comedy being dragged from the vaults? “I should make it clear that I am not a student of early twentieth-century British politics—but I’m not publishing this book because of its value to the study of that time and place,” writes Everson. “I’m publishing it because it’s a splendid parody, amusing both for what it parodies as for its reflection of Carroll’s original.”
All of Everson’s Evertype Alice books can be perused at alice-in-wonderland-books.com.
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are, I understand, to be published for the first time in German. When I first learned this important fact, it surprised me for a moment, for I had thought that both these classics had by this time passed into all civilized tongues; but after some little reflection, I soon realized that if they had been popular in Germany, we should have known about it. It is not difficult to imagine what will happen when the Alice books are well known there, for we know what happened to Shakespeare. A cloud of commentators with gather, and a thousand solemn Teutons will sit down to write huge volumes of comment and criticism; they will contrast and compare the characters (there will even be a short chapter on Bill the Lizard), and will offer numerous conflicting interpretations of the jokes. After that, Freud and Jung and their followers will inevitably arrive upon the scene, and they will give us appalling volumes on Sexualtheorie of Alice in Wonderland, on the Assoziationsfähigkeit und Assoziationsstudien of Jabberwocky, on the inner meaning of the conflict between Tweedledum and Tweedledee from the psychoanalytische und psychopathologische points of view.
-J.B. Priestley, “A Note on Humpty Dumpty”, 1921.
While Priestley was prophetically correct about the imminent psycho-analysis of Wonderland (and, obviously, not just by Germans), he was incorrect about that being the first German translation published in the 1920s. Antonie Zimmermann’s translation of Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland was published in 1869, the first ever translation of Alice into another language. Michael Everson is taking the considerable risk (according to Priestley) exposing the classic tale to Germans once again by re-publishing the original Zimmermann. (His wonderful Evertype publishing house released nine Carroll titles in 2009, and is so far sparing no moments this year with some new fascinating versions, parodies, and rare translations – - more at alice-in-wonderland-books.com.) Aus dem Klappentext:
Lewis Carroll ist ein Pseudonym. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson war der eigentliche Name des Autors; er war Dozent für Mathematik am Christ Church College in Oxford. Dodgson begann die Geschichte am 4. Juli 1862 bei einer Ruderpartie auf der Themse in Oxford, zusammen mit Pfarrer Robinson Duckworth, mit Alice Liddell (zehn Jahre) – der Tochter des Dekans der Christ Church –, und mit ihren beiden Schwestern Lorina (dreizehn Jahre) und Edith (acht Jahre). Wie man dem Gedicht am Anfang des Buches entnehmen kann, baten die drei Mädchen Dodgson um eine Geschichte und, zunächst widerwillig, begann er, ihnen die erste Version dieser Geschichte zu erzählen. Es gibt im Text des Buches, das schließlich im Jahre 1865 veröffentlicht wurde, viele versteckte Bezüge zu den fünf Personen.
The Rev. Charles L. Dodgson made important contributions to both Logic and Language. He died around a century before Lojban, a logical language, was developed–, so we’ll never know what he might have thought of (as the wikipedia defines it) “a constructed, syntactically unambiguous human language based on predicate logic.” Is language inherently logical, or can words mean what we choose them to mean? Does organic language have a sort of nonsense logic to it? How would Rev. Dodgson feel about a made-up language based on logic?
This website lojban.org
describes its “effort to translate Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
into lojban” as “ongoing.” They’ve placed it in the public domain, and it is downloadable in a number of formats
. We are told by Michael Everson of Evertype
that it will be published in the near future. I would love to hear from one of the contributers how they approached the translation of the puns and wordplay.
It’s an elegant-looking language, if it does have that certain made-up look to it. Here’s the “Lobster Quadrille”:
e’o sutra doi cakcurnu i ko ti’a zgana ua pa
xajyfi’e noi jbitrixe gi’e me mi rebla stapa
i ui a’a ro le jukni e le respa ca se ganse
gi’e denpa mi le canre i pei do ba kansa dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei aipei do ba dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei naipei do ba dansu
i do ka’enai se xanri le nu pluka co mokau
ca le nu mi’o se renro fi le xamsi i’a au
i dardukse i dardukse sei cy spuda tolselmansa
doi merlanu ki’e ku’i i mi na ba kansa dansu
i ainai einai ainai einai ainai mi ba dansu
i ainai einai ainai einai einai mi ba dansu
i na selvai le ni darno sei le pendo ze’i frati
i iasai lo drata korbi ca’a drata mlana zvati
i le ni darno le glico cu ni jibni be la frans
i ko carna doi cakcurnu i ei do ba kansa dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei aipei do ba dansu
i aipei naipei aipei naipei naipei do ba dansu
UPDATE: I just discovered a recording of the Lobster Quadrille in Esperanto, for comparison:
has published a book of new Alice stories called Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There
by author Keith Sheppard, with illustrations by Cynthia Brownell
. At Sheppard’s website, www.writerman.org.uk
, you can read the first chapter of the book & also some of his other nonsense verse.
Here is the blurb from the back cover:
“Excuse me,” said Alice to a small white Mouse in red shorts. “What precisely is a custard race?”
Did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass leave you yearning for more? Join Alice on her new journey and meet the extraordinary inhabitants of Wonderland, both familiar and new.
If your bed turned into a boat and you found yourself “drifting off” in an entirely unexpected manner how would you find your way home? The Jack of Diamonds says it’s Alice’s own fault for being fast asleep—had she slept more slowly she wouldn’t be so far from home.
The Red Queen, the Mah-jong Dragons, even the Red King’s Gamekeeper, all seem helpful enough at first—but things never quite turn out the way Alice hopes!
Brimming with wordplay, nonsense verse, and a cast of eccentric characters each with their own peculiar logic, this adventure is faithful to the style of the originals, picking up the pen where Lewis Carroll put it down. Be swept away on a torrent of humour and madness. Alice is back!
It can be purchased from Amazon.com for $12.95 or Amazon.co.uk for £8.50.