Friday, September 23, 2011


(Carroll's drawing of the Giant Puppy in Alice)

Marina Warner writes about Lewis Carroll's drawings in Tate Etc.:
Carroll’s juvenilia also include lots of drawings and graphic marginalia. The frontispiece of The Rectory Umbrella, for example, shows a bearded old man beaming as fairies fly under the shelter of his umbrella. They’re bearing cradle blessings labelled “Good Humour”, “Knowledge”, “Mirth” and “Cheerfulness”, among other boons. Above them, comical grimacing goblins are hurling rocks – these are “Woe”, “Spite”, “Gloom”, “Crossness”, “Ennui” and “Alloverishness” (presumably from the woeful cry, “It’s all over”.) Most tellingly of all, the umbrella that is shielding the good sprites has written between its spokes, “Jokes”, “Riddles”, “Poetry”, “Tales” and, in the centre, “Fun”. The young Charles Dodgson was interposing a determined brand of fun between himself and unhappiness.
Warner asserts that Dodgson didn't have a split personality, which is of course true; the mystery is why anyone would think otherwise. Another fact of interest primarily to myself is that "Dodgson" is cognate with "Rogers." (Andrew Gelman recently posted a list of blog obsessions; an analogous list here would include snouts and the word Hodge/Hogge and its equivalents, as well as other obvious things like Coleridge's drug intake and the physics of coffee stains.)

Thematically similar, and also of note, is this writer/illustrator collaboration by Krasznahorkai and the German artist Max Neumann.

No comments: