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26 October 2012
Unpublished CLD items

Even all these years after Carroll's death, new items come to light. Edward Wakeling told me a few months ago about a cache of previously unknown Lewis Carroll memorabilia. He thought it overpriced, and I have to say it has been languishing on eBay for a while. You can click the link and see if it is still up! At the top of this post is one of the images from the listing.

To me the most interesting item in the collection was a previously unknown little poem by Carroll. It was the sort of thing he would write to amuse his friends - and, no doubt himself. I am usually struck by his clever use of language in these little poems, which he probably assumed would be ephemeral. He typically uses a severely limited selection of words but getting around the restrictions seem to entertain him.

This one is about whether or not to call his friend "Miss" or not. In Victorian days, even friends tended to call each other "Mr," "Mrs," or "Miss." Only children were called by their first names. The concept of teenagers was unknown - you were either a child or a grown up, but it was courteous to start calling girls "Miss" when they were in their early teens.

Edward Wakeling considers that this poem was written for Carroll's longtime friend Bessie Hussey, but if so it is slightly strange, because Bessie was 32 in 1884. when it was written. Carroll would normally have been calling her "Miss" for a long time. To me, this reads as if it is asddressed to a young teenager, but there again, perhaps this was some kind of a private joke between Carroll and Bessie Hussey.

Here it is.

Take not amiss this missile dread
Nor maim my mystic hopes
Miscalling me a much misled
Mistaken misanthrope!

My missive’s meant to murmur this
With mute mysterious touch
If I should merely miss the “Miss”
Would you, Miss, miss it much?

18 October 2012

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a name given to a medical condition involving memory loss, disorientation, feeling you have changed in size and other symptoms. It is thought to be a form of migraine, although epileptics can also display similar symptoms.

The syndrome is not always as severe as what is described in this link, but many people think that Lewis Carroll might have had experiences with migraine and.or epilepsy which encouraged him to write about Alice changing her size, and so on.

In "The Mystery of Lewis Carroll" I cover what is known of this issue, and discussed the matter with a consultant neurologist - but I was left with the strong impression that it is very hard to diagnose people after they are dead!

The article interested me though, and I was very sorry for the poor woman described, who seems to have had far worse symptoms than Alice ever had.

11 October 2012

Yoshi in Japan often sends me interesting pieces of Japanese Alice ephemera.He also sent a collection of lovely cards of Totoro, who is one of my favourite cartoon characters - here is one of them, above. I like all the Studio Ghibli movies.

I was looking through the Alice ephemera the other day and there are some that I have not posted. So here they are.


This one is a soft toy in the shape of Alice with her long neck. It's signed on the back. Many of the items that Yoshi sends are signed.


I very much like the clock


and the cakes


and I don't know why I didn't post them before.