Friday, August 26, 2016

The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll


This Edition published 1994
Barnes and Noble Books, USA

Introduction

As I child, I was given the 'Alice' books in two separate editions, which I enjoyed reading many times, but unfortunately they have been lost over the years. Much later, as an adult in Oxfordshire, England, I replaced them with 'The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll', which of course included the unabridged 'Alice' books. Earlier this year, during the course of conversations on Facebook 'Messenger' with my USA friend Holly B. Strange, she mentioned to me the existence of 'An Easter Greeting to every child who loves 'Alice', a letter written by Lewis Carroll at Easter 1876. It began life as a four-page leaflet, which was inserted into 'The Hunting of the Snark', and the text was incorporated into the so-called 'People's Editions' of the 'Alice' books in 1867. I wish to acknowledge here my gratitude to Holly for telling me about this letter, of which I had never previously heard, and sending me an online link to a web page from where I could print it out.
I searched through my 'Complete Works', but could find no mention of the letter, which prompted me to buy the 1994 edition mentioned above. The bookseller's advert mentioned that it included several rare works which had never been seen since their original publication, so I hoped that I might find the letter there, but having searched thoroughly, I was disappointed. Strangely a friend here in England, who is close to me in age, clearly remembers seeing it in her 'Alice' books as a child, but unfortunately those books have been lost. I mention this because Holly and I both feel that no edition of 'Complete Works' is complete without the inclusion of this letter in its pages.
I felt both humbled and privileged when she invited me to write a review for her blog, but I said that while I was extremely keen on the project, it would be impossible for me to read the whole work, prepare and write a review, and get it to her before her deadline. I suggested a mini-review, and was more than happy when Holly expressed her delight at my suggestion. So I accepted the commission, and I sincerely hope my readers will enjoy the result.

The Review

Lewis Carroll is probably best known for the 'Alice' books, which are incorporated into this edition of 'Complete Works' in unabridged form, complete with the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. The 'Alice' books are fondly remembered by adults who enjoyed them as children, but Carroll's subsequent books, 'Sylvie and Bruno' and 'Sylvie and Bruno Concluded' may be lesser known. I first read them in my earlier edition of 'Complete Works' so I was interested to renew my acquaintance and refresh my memory. I remembered immediately that I had found some difficulty getting into them, at they are lengthy, and difficult to get one's head round, so plenty of time and patience is required of the reader, who would also be well advised to sit somewhere quiet and uninterrupted before embarking on the task. However, I found that persistence is rewarding, so I shall definitely read the books again.
The title characters are very tiny, cute and lovable fairy children who interact with humans and share many adventures. The stories are set in Victorian England, so there is a strong religious element running through them, where the humans engage in lengthy discussions about the possible reaction of God to various difficult personal decision-making situations in which they might find themselves. To me, as a non-academic, the conversations seem endlessly complex and involved, and can become rather tedious and obscure, which is a great pity, because it could be off-putting, and result in people putting the book down, never to touch it again. The lighter-hearted episodes in which the fairy children are the main characters are delightful, and very entertaining. Human children and adults of all ages would love them. As with the 'Alice' books, the stories are scattered with amusing little verses, most of them the nonsense poems for which Carroll is so well known.

'The Hunting of the Snark' is on p. 677. It is narrative verse written in a similar rhythm to the verses in the 'Alice' books. It also pays homage to 'Jabberwocky', which appears in 'Through The Looking Glass", borrowing such characters as the Jubjub Bird and the Bandersnatch. I had never before read this lengthy poem, and although the verses on the first two pages are amusing and enjoyable, as I progressed further I found it so complicated that I soon 'lost the plot' and got confused about who was who. We must remember that Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was a brilliant Academic, both as a poet and as a mathematician. He wrote many poems and verses, including some extremely clever acrostics, which, for the uninitiated, are verses where the first letter of every line, when read from top to bottom, spells out the name or names of children he knew, including Alice Liddell, who was the 'Alice' of the books, and of various other children he had known. Being so clever, he sometimes used double or even treble acrostics, which are obviously very complicated and sometimes difficult to follow. He also wrote some verses that appear to be in Anglo-Saxon or Medieval English, and because some of the words are obscure there are footnotes explaining what they mean. Those verses are clever, not just because of the language in which they are written, but for their content. I thoroughly recommend them; they are educational as well as entertaining.

My attention was also caught by 'Early Verse', which begins on p. 700, because I was very much amused by the first little poem. I then glanced through the rest of that section. It seems to me that it is well worth reading, and I shall return to it when time permits.
I think it also worth mentioning 'Upon the Lonely Moor', on p. 727. It is an amusing and very readable set of verses, again in the rhythm style of 'Alice'. I am certain it would be enjoyed by anyone with a sense of fun.
I then turned to 'Phantasmagoria' on p. 741, and began to read Canto 1: The Trystyng. This another lengthy set of narrative verses when ends on p. 765. Again I have not had time to read all of it, but it tells the tale of a man who was sleeping in his bed when the resident 'house ghost' unexpectedly arrived, and they spent the whole night chatting and getting to know each other. The man became quite fond of the ghost, and was very upset when it disappeared in the morning. I am looking forward to eventually reading the whole story.
I also enjoyed a short verse on p. 768. With the title 'Ye Carpette Knyghte' is is amusing to read, and interesting because of the unusual spelling that Carroll frequently uses. It is very easy to understand what the poem is about.
Turning to p. 999, we find 'A Legend of Scotland'. Just six and half pages long, it is written in a strange form of English, with many unfamiliar spellings which could be off-putting, as making sense of them in order to understand the story would require time and concentration, but I think it should be interesting, so I shall definitely return to this for my own satisfaction at a later date.
Turning to page 1009 we find an aptly named section called 'A Miscellany'. As I skimmed through it, in order to get a rough idea of the content, I noticed that most of the pieces contain bewildering problems to be solved: Algebra and symbolic Logic seem to be in abundance.
An article entitled 'A New Method of Evaluation' contains what, to me, appear to be many obscure mathematical calculations. There are also a number of seemingly ponderous discourses on subjects such as vivisection, followed by an article describing in great detail how to play various games, complete with an in-depth discussion on how to play them and the rules to be followed in so doing. Again there seems to be a mathematical theme throughout. There is also a lengthy article in which Carroll sets out to explain the dynamics of a partic-cle (sic).
The Vision of the Three T's is a lengthy work set out in three chapters, although it is written in the form of a play. Again, I intend eventually to study it properly, as at first glance it looked very interesting.

A wealth of poems and stories, among other things, is contained in this book, which can be dipped into again and again; I feel that there is something for everyone. My offering, which was a labour of love, is by no means a full review of 'The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll', but I hope it has given my readers something of interest to think about, and that they will be encouraged to read it, and thus to form their own opinions of its contents.

This post was written by Linda Roberts of Oxfordshire, England.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vote for Alice and Malice

VoteAliceCooper.com

Alice chose Tom Hanks as his running mate,
but I think Malice BeGoth is a better choice.


You'll see her in my Wee Wonderland,
which I'll be unveiling this week.

I'm channeling her on the banner.
Here's the full photo:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Roots of Mr. Potato Head

Are uncovered in this short horror film:


Mr. Potato Head made his debut in 1952.
He was just plastic body parts you put on a real potato then.


Mrs. Potato Head joined him in 1953.
Followed by more friends and family.



He got his plastic potato body in 1964.
And has worn many costumes from then to now.
I think this one is my favorite though:

Frieddy Krueger

You can get him and a Jason Potato Head here.

Happy belated National Potato Day!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Return of SLASHERMANIA!

FREAKTOWN COMICS PRESENTS

SLASHERMANIA

1983. Troubled teens from New York and Los Angeles are taken to a summer camp facility
to be trained as counselors and mix safely with other people their own age.
Little do they know they are being watched by an audience hungry for sex & violence.
They are the designated victims for a bizarre contest of murder and mayhem –

WELCOME TO SLASHERMANIA!

Masked maniacs from across the USA, Canada, Italy & the UK compete in various categories:
Best Male Solo Death! Best Female Solo Death! Coitus Interruptus! Sin Punishment!
Most Creative Kill! Biggest Multiple Death! The coveted Slasher of the Year award!

“And the slashie goes to...”

Written by Russell Hillman. Pencils by Ron Joseph and CJ Camba.
Inks by Ron Joseph, Jake Isenberg and CJ Camba. Colours by Harry Saxon. Letters by Sergio Calvet.

Slashermania is an original graphic novel in the tradition of films such as Scream, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, The Final Girls and Cabin in the Woods. Functioning both as a tribute to, and an examination of, the eighties slasher movie phenomenon, it’s mostly played straight but with an undercurrent of post-modern self-awareness and some appropriately inappropriate laughs along the way - carefully designed not to undercut the scares.

It should appeal to readers of titles such as Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash, Williamson/Henderson’s Nailbiter and Alex de Campi’s Grindhouse miniseries.


 You may recall I did a post on this two years ago.
Sadly the Kickstarter campaign for it fell through,
but a new one started today and runs to Sept. 13th.
Check it out and back it here!

Want to know more before you go?

Download a FREE preview here!

Listen to the soundtrack playlist on YouTube here!

And follow Freaktown Comics on Twitter for teasers and polls here!
 
I enjoyed the workprint edition and am eager to see more of him:

By the way, August 22nd to 28th will be Wonderland Week here!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Music Monday: Fetus Feast



Those three songs by The Flaming Lips were on a flash drive,
which was housed inside the pictured gummy fetus.
Sadly they're no longer available,
but you can make a gummy fetus with this:

Fetus Cookie Cutter

You can also make a fetus out of meat.
Bon appetit!


Nurse Bathory

By day she hangs in a cave that's dark as a grave,
She induces fright in a hospital nursery by night,
Dining on fresh baby meat,
But no one suspects her cause she's so sweet.

This poem and post was inspired by Antropophagus (1980).

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pamela's Pumpkin Party

I'm changing this to Dress Up A Doll Day,
since I'm waiting for part of my costume.

Say hello to my little friend Pamela.
That's her standard outfit.

I dressed Pamela in her Out to Dinner Outfit.

And put a witch hat on her.

I dressed the wee witch's cat as a warlock.
He posed purrfectly with Pamela's pumpkin.

Then we dined on pumpkin pie lollipops.

Which we topped with astronaut ice cream
and washed down with pumpkin pie soda.
I bought all these festive food items at Vat19.com.

Did you dress up a doll or with a doll?
If so, comment with a link to your post.

Happy Halloween in July!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Music Monday: Thriller

On Carson last night Vincent Price said he commissioned a painting by Dali!
This beautiful one to be exact:
The Madonna and the Mystical Rose

I thought that was so cool, so I had to share.
I loved Vincent's art discussion with Johnny and Joan Rivers.
Sadly I couldn't find a clip of that episode, which was from 1974.
But I found one of the Halloween 1987 episode,
where Vincent recites his rap from Thriller!


I know you want to hear the whole song now,
so here it is with a doll version of the video:


Vincent's wife Coral Browne's birthday would've been Saturday.
You can read Vincent's daughter Victoria's post for Coral here.
I hope to meet her at Barnes & Noble in Arlington VA on August 6.
She'll be signing copies of Vincent's cookbook. All the info is here.