Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chesterton in Wonderland


The ever prescient G. K. Chesterton wrote the following in 1932, on the occasion of the one hundredeth anniversary of Lewis Caroll's birth:
Poor, poor little Alice! She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others. Alice is now not only a schoolgirl but a schoolmistress. The holiday is over and Dodgson is again a don. There will be lots and lots of examination papers, with questions like: (1) What do you know of the following: mimsy, gimble, haddocks' eyes, treacle-wells, beautiful soup? (2) Record all the moves in the chess game in Through the Looking-Glass, and give diagram. (3) Outline the practiced policy of the White Knight for dealing with the social problem of green whiskers. (4) Distinguish between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Cited in the introduction to Martin Gardner's extraordinary book, The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition.

1 comment:

aaronandbrighid said...

When I was about 11, I use to love poring over the notes in the original Annotated Alice, for which I was occasionally mocked by peers who thought it was 'merely' a children's book. Unfortunately, the next year I naively loaned it to a friend and never got it back. It was my first exam in the hard knocks school of book-lending.