Jabberwocky (2)

Reams have been written about the poem “Jabberwocky” (the text of which I quoted in toto yesterday). I’ll add only that it captivated me as a child and a budding linguist. Already fascinated with languages and having taught myself French and Italian, I found “Jabberwocky” intoxicating. I spent hours contemplating the possible meaning of Carroll’s made-up words. I saw that all of them might have been the result of a child’s misunderstanding, because all of them were derived from real words.

To this day, I am in awe of the genius of Lewis Carroll (the nom de plume of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) and his intricate knowledge of the English language that allowed him to create the Alice books and “Jabberwocky.” I have spent my life trying to perfect my use of the language as a writer to tell stories with clarity and imagination. His genius lay in the opposite—concealing meaning to challenge the reader’s ability to decipher.

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