Lewis Carroll

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'Twas brillig and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. ~ Through the Looking-Glass

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 - 14 January 1898) was a British author, mathematician, Anglican clergyman, logician, and amateur photographer; better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll

See also: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Sourced

I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.
  • I charm in vain; for never again,
    All keenly as my glance I bend,
    Will Memory, goddess coy,
    Embody for my joy
    Departed days, nor let me gaze
    On thee, my fairy friend!
    • "To my Child-friend" in The Game Of Logic (1886)

The Hunting of the Snark (1874)

Just the place for a Snark!
  • IF — and the thing is wildly possible — the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in Fit the Second)
    "Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes."
    In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural History — I will take the more prosaic course of simply explaining how it happened...
    • Preface
You may seek it with thimbles — and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap...
  • As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves." Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow." I have heard people try to give it the sound of the "o" in "worry." Such is Human Perversity.
    • Preface
  • "Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.
    • Fit the First : The Landing
  • "Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.
    "
    • Fit the First : The Landing
  • There was one who was famed for the number of things
    He forgot when he entered the ship:
    His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
    And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

    He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
    With his name painted clearly on each:
    But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
    They were all left behind on the beach.

    • Fit the First : The Landing
  • He had bought a large map representing the sea,
    Without the least vestige of land:
    And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
    A map they could all understand.
    • Fit the Second : The Bellman's Speech
  • 'Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
    But we've got our brave captain to thank'
    (So the crew would protest) 'that he's bought us the best —
    A perfect and absolute blank!'
    • Fit the Second : The Bellman's Speech
  • Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
    A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
    That frequently happens in tropical climes,
    When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."
    • Fit the Second : The Bellman's Speech
But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!
  • But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
    And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
    Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East
    That the ship would not travel due West!
    • Fit the Second : The Bellman's Speech
  • You may seek it with thimbles — and seek it with care;
    You may hunt it with forks and hope;
    You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
    You may charm it with smiles and soap —

    ("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
    In a hasty parenthesis cried,
    "That's exactly the way I have always been told
    That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

    "'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
    If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
    You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
    And never be met with again!'

    • Fit the Third : The Baker's Tale
  • You may charge me with murder — or want of sense -
    (we are all of us weak at times):
    But the slightest approach to a false pretence
    was never among my crimes!

    I said it in Hebrew — I said it in Dutch —
    I said it in German and Greek:
    But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
    That English is what you speak!
    • Fit the Fourth : The Hunting
  • As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,
    Since it lives in perpetual passion:
    Its taste in costume is entirely absurd —
    It is ages ahead of the fashion.
    • Fit the Fifth : The Beaver's Lesson
  • They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
    They pursued it with forks and hope;
    They threatened its life with a railway-share;
    They charmed it with smiles and soap.
    • Fit the Eighth : The Vanishing
  • In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
    In the midst of his laughter and glee,
    He had softly and suddenly vanished away —
    For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
    • Fit the Eighth : The Vanishing

Sylvie and Bruno (1889)

Is all our Life, then but a dream
Seen faintly in the goldern gleam
Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?
  • Is all our Life, then but a dream
    Seen faintly in the goldern gleam
    Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?

    Bowed to the earth with bitter woe
    Or laughing at some raree-show
    We flutter idly to and fro.

    Man's little Day in haste we spend,
    And, from its merry noontide, send
    No glance to meet the silent end.

  • I do not know if 'Alice in Wonderland' was an original story — I was, at least, no conscious imitator in writing it — but I do know that, since it came out, something like a dozen story-books have appeared, on identically the same pattern. The path I timidly explored believing myself to be 'the first that ever burst into that silent sea' — is now a beaten high-road: all the way-side flowers have long ago been trampled into the dust: and it would be courting disaster for me to attempt that style again.
    • Preface
I suppose every child has a world of his own — and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?
  • I believe this thought, of the possibility of death — if calmly realised, and steadily faced would be one of the best possible tests as to our going to any scene of amusement being right or wrong. If the thought of sudden death acquires, for you, a special horror when imagined as happening in a theatre, then be very sure the theatre is harmful for you, however harmless it may be for others; and that you are incurring a deadly peril in going. Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
    But, once realise what the true object is in life — that it is not pleasure, not knowledge, not even fame itself, 'that last infirmity of noble minds' — but that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning!
    • Preface
  • I suppose every child has a world of his own — and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?
    • Chapter 4 : A Cunning Conspiracy
  • He thought he saw an Elephant,
    That practised on a fife:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A letter from his wife.
    'At length I realise,' he said,
    'The bitterness of Life!'
    • Chapter 5 : A Beggar's Palace
  • He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
    Descending from the bus:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Hippopotamus:
    'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
    'There won't be much for us!'
    • Chapter 7 : The Baron's Embassy
  • The West is the fitting tomb for all the sorrow and the sighing, all the errors and the follies of the Past: for all its withered Hopes and all its buried Loves! From the East comes new strength, new ambition, new Hope, new Life, new Love! Look Eastward! Aye, look Eastward!"
    • Chapter 25 : Looking Eastward
  • Fading, with the Night, the memory of a dead love, and the withered leaves of a blighted hope, and the sickly repinings and moody regrets that numb the best energies of the soul: and rising, broadening, rolling upward like a living flood, the manly resolve, and the dauntless will, and the heavenward gaze of faith — the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!
    "Look Eastward! Aye, look Eastward!"
    • Chapter 25 : Looking Eastward

Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933)

Quotations from A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933) edited by Evelyn M. Hatch
  • They did things very simply in those days: if you had a lot of money, you just dug a hole under the hedge, and popped it in: then you said you had "put it in the bank"
    • Letter to Mary MacDonald (14 November 1873), p.24
  • My best love to yourself-to your mother my kindest regards-to your small, fat, impertinent, ignorant brother my hatred.
    • Letter to Maggie Cunnynghame (30 January 1868), p.43
  • Some children have a most disagreeable way of getting grown-up: I hope you won't do anything of that sort before we meet again.
    • Letter to Dolly Argles (? 28 April 1868), p.52
  • As to dancing, my dear, I never dance, unless I am allowed to do it in my own peculiar way. There is no use trying to describe it: it has to be seen to be believed. The last house I tried it in, the floor broke through. But then it was a poor sort of floor--the beams were only six inches thick, hardly worth calling beams at all: stone arches are much more sensible, when any dancing, of my peculiar kind, is to be done. Did you ever see the Rhinoceros, and the Hippopotamus, at the Zoological Gardens, trying to dance a minuet together? It is a touching sight.

    Give any message from me to Amy that you think will be most likely to surprise her.
    • Letter to Gaynor Simpson (27 December 1873), pp.90-1
  • Of course you know what a Snark is? If you do, please tell me: for I haven't an idea what it is like.
    • Letter to Florence Balfour (6 April 1876)

Quotes about Dodgson

  • All old Dadgerson's dodges one conning one's copying and that's what wonderland's wanderlad'll flaunt to the fair.

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