LEWIS CARROLL OBSERVED: A Collection of Unpublished Photographs, Drawings, Poetry, and New Essays by Edward--Ed. Guiliano

LEWIS CARROLL OBSERVED: A Collection of Unpublished Photographs, Drawings, Poetry, and New Essays

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifteen essays--by critics, philosophers, and assorted Carrollians--interspersed with rare drawings from Carroll's manuscripts and letters, portraits of ""girl-friends"" from his yet unexhausted photographic files, and movie stills from adaptations of the Alice books. The varied strengths and weaknesses of the articles yield an unexpected pattern. Those which explore narrative dynamics in familiar critical terms (Donald Rackin on comedy in Alice in Wonderland, Harold Beaver on The Hunting of the Snark as a comic analogue of Moby Dick) somehow bottle up Carroll in sterile conceptual enclaves. Those which start with the tools of logic and epistemology somehow open up whole kingdoms of imagination. Among the best are Ernest Coumet on the role of ""universes of discourse"" in Carroll's logical writings and Elizabeth Sewell's brief, sadly convincing argument for the larger-than-fiction dimensions of ""Nonsense systems"" in recent years. Jean Gattegno (author of the recent Lewis Carroll: Fragments of a Looking-Glass, p. 362) provocatively hints at the way in which childlike manipulation of language converges in the Alice books with logical manipulation of contradictory entities (dream and reality, single identity and excluded alternatives). Amusing source-tracings and bibliographical oddities come from Martin Gardner, Morton N. Cohen, and Roger Lancelyn Green; Edmund C. Miller suggests a modest revaluation of the Sylvie and Bruno books; Jeffrey Stern briefly links Carroll with some major facets of Pre-Raphaehte sensibility. All in all, many moments of happy browsing, and a few of real discovery.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter-dist. by Crown