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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jabberwocky

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


Slithy Toves? Gyring and Gimbling in the Wabe? Borogroves and they're all Mimsy? Mome Raths that are Outgrabing? What? None of this makes much sense, does it? Oh dear. We must have fallen down a rabbit hole and slipped through another one of those especially child-permeable mirrors...

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

The Jabberwocky is a fascinating poem by Lewis Carroll. It is a wonderful example of Nonsense Verse. Seeing as it is National Poetry Month, and we really like Nonsense Verse & Nonsense Words as well as Nonsense Books here at the Heretic-homestead, and The Jabberwocky is a great monster--and the poem gave us the dreaded Vorpal Sword as well, so we figured that it made a great "J" entry for the April A-to-Z Challenge.

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

You can find a full version of the poem here, and you can find out more about Through the Looking Glass here, and if that doesn't do it for you, there is a very interesting article on the problems that have arisen from people attempting to translate Carroll's poem from nonsense-English into French, German and other languages that you might find suitable food for thought. You can find the article here. Just don't take it too seriously...otherwise you'll start sounding like Robert Scott:

"Are we to suppose, after all, that the Saga of Jabberwocky is one of the universal heirlooms which the Aryan race at its dispersion carried with it from the great cradle of the family? You really must consult Max Müller about this. It begins to be probable that the origo originalissima may be discovered in Sanscrit, and that we shall by and by have a Iabrivokaveda. The hero will turn out to be the Sun-God in one of the Avatars; and the Tumtum tree the great Ash ygdrasil of the Scandinavian mythology."
--Robert Scott, letter to Dodgson (Saga of the Jabberwocky)

Here's a scene from a 1983 TV production of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass that features a Jabberwocky. The level of SPFX are about at the Tom Baker era Doctor Who level, but it did stir up some memories...







It's fun, as far s it goes, but Terry Gilliam, did a much better job with his 1977 version of The Jabberwocky:







You can watch the Introduction to Gilliam's movie by going here, or by following the snippets starting with Part 2 here.

Snicker-Snack!

4 comments:

  1. That letter from Scott is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really need to get ahold of that Gilliam movie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Matthew Slepin: That letter could inspire a ton of spin-off ideas...just saying...

    @Migellito: Oh Frabjous Day! It's just too much fun not to use it!

    @Jeff Rients: The movie is fun, but nowhere as well-done as Brazil or The Fisher King, but that is a free opinion.

    ReplyDelete

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