Thursday, February 24, 2005

On Lewis Carroll and Thomas Hardy

For tutorial next week, we are to find a Victorian poem and read in class. This is to a be an exercise in reading poetry (this being a poetry class, I guess being able to read poetry is important).
The poem I will probably read in class (it's a toss-up between Carroll or Hardy) will be Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky (pg 1032). For any of you that haven't read it, I encourage you to do so; because not only is it the most random, nonsensical poem you will ever read, but I guarantee that by the end of it, you will know what it is about, despite the made-up words and randomness. Let me try to tie Carroll with the Victorians.
Carroll was a Victorian (He was Professor of Math at ChristChurch College at my beloved Oxford!). And this being an age of many new things and new ideas, I will venture to say that, along with all the technological/social advancements and experiments, Carroll was doing the same with language. He was challenging people to see language in a new way. A way that could be manipulated to the fancy of the author. Just like nature was being manipulated by human ingenuity. Jabberwocky does use made-up words, but it has its own logic. In this way, it very Victorian.

Now, if I could change gears for a moment.

Thomas Hardy is another Victorian that interests me. His poem Hap (pg 1049) is another example of the Victorian style. This poem is more in line with the gloomy, meloncholia the Victorians were also known for. But it is, as Prof. Kuin noted in Lecture, straight to the point. I can imagine a Romantic like Wordsworth stretching this poem to many lines and pages. But Hardy gets to point and conveys exactly what he's feeling. Yet, like all great poets, he does this in a profound and moving way. Again, something very Victorian.

There you have it, a brief look at the two sides of Victorianism!

5 Comments:

Blogger The Poole Boy said...

I enjoyed your reading of the Jabberwocky. It was very Suessian in nature and I loved the simplistic rhymes. I actually didnt think that I would learn anything about reading poetry because I thought that It would take me years of practice before any real critique could be formed but I was pleasantly surpised with the great feedback and I think that it was a great activity the should be used more often.

March 8, 2005 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Annie Wong said...

hey sidd

Yummy, i've been looking for someone that blogged for this class because i missed the lecture. I'm still kind of in the dark but your post helped fill in some gaps. Thanks!

ps. Carroll's really neat, "Alice in wonderland" is one of my fav. books...but i heard the guys a pedophile or something....

March 8, 2005 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Sidd Rawte said...

Hey Annie,
The Alice books are some of my favourite too!
Carroll was not a pedophile (a pedophile is someone truly evil), he just took pictures of children…sometimes naked. Now, the parents knew everything and if the child felt uncomfortable, Carroll (apparently) stopped (There is a mid-nineties edition of "The Secret Garden" with one of Carroll's pictures on the cover). He just really really liked children. He felt more comfortable around children than adults; case in point: He was a severe stutterer, but around children his speech was perfect.
But Alice Liddel (the girl whom Carroll was inspired to write the books about), grew more uncomfortable with the relationship as she grew up. Finally, when she was in her 30s, she cut off all communications with Carroll.

Hope that helps.

March 9, 2005 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger la said...

I can understand that he really really like children - but how can one justify taking pictures of them naked? I don't fully understand the 'art' in that. It wasn't like the children were babies, -- most mothers take pictures of their little kids taking baths, or whatever, these kids were a little older, were they not, like 5 - 6 + years.. I just think its awkward.

March 23, 2005 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger The Poole Boy said...

That is a sad story about Carol and his life. I do agree that it is odd that pictures of children were taken but honestly it ws what was done with them that really is the desiding factor.

March 23, 2005 at 9:53 PM  

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