- Mar 1, 2008
Okay there are really several debates here. The literary content is one, the structure of the piece is another. But to be honest, it's fairly meaningless to engage in any of that until we know whether or not the piece has even the first semblance of being genuine. First thing is to test the paper, the ink, the type. If it passes these basic tests, then is the time to debate the finer details. At this point we don't even know how old the paper is it's printed on! It could be tested and found to be forty years old which would render further debate futile.
All our opinions aside, surely we have to concede that if any artefact arrives suddenly on the scene with a fake provenance (not anonymous - fake; the claim for its origin is a lie) , it should be examined with as much care as possible?
Bottom line - fakes happen. You seem to think saying it should be tested is synonymous with saying "it's a fake. " But of course it's not. It's saying we need to rule out the awful possibility that it isn't what it claims to be. It's slightly incredible hubris on your part to argue that you are so sure you're right there's no need to even prove it! I urge you to reflect a moment. The Hitler Diaries fooled experts. The Oath of a Freeman fooled experts. The people who believed in them marshaled very similar complex logistical and textual arguments to the ones you are using. They also just 'knew' they were right. Forgers depend on that kind of conviction in their victims. Let's not fall into that trap. Let's eschew hubris and certitude. Let's be cautious and wait to make our minds up until after the thing has been examined with as much rigour as possible. Maybe it will pass with flying colours, and we'll all have to concede Dodgson was possibly capable of crimes against literature that defy belief, or just maybe it'll turn out to have been printed circa 1970 on modern paper with modern ink, and you ( and a few others) will end up wishing you'd been more circumspect in your endorsement.
--- In email@example.com, "doyle6060" <DOYLE60@...> wrote:
> < To deal first with your (almost unbelievable) last sentence: The
> point of having it tested would be to find out whether it's genuine. >
> It's simple: I find no need to have it tested just like I find no
> need to have any random letter tested that was sold anonymously.
> There are no red flags here of any considerable size.
> < Really there's no more to be said. You think it's genuine and I
> tend to think probably not, and neither of us will know any more
> until and unless the piece can be identified and tested. (Or, to be
> more exact - I can see good reasons for doubting the piece's
> authenticity, on the limited evidence currently available, and would
> like to see further tests done to establish the truth one way or the
> other; you on the other hand know you're right and know there's no
> point in proving yourself right because, well, you already know
> you're right. >
> I see no reason why we can't have a discussion here about it and not
> use the "you're bullheaded" accusations. I, of course, could turn it
> around and put that on you. Let's have a conversation. There is
> plenty to talk about.
> < If only the Library of Congress had had you on hand to advise
> on 'The Oath of a Freeman'). >
> Again, you use the weak argument that just because there was another
> case of forgery this could therefore be a forgery. You could use
> this on anything, anytime. Analogies of this sort are meaningless.
> They only say everything should be tested.
> < 1) Provenance (the first thing a real forgery expert looks for and
> the thing which makes him/her most suspicious). The provenance isn't
> just anonymous, it's fallacious. The piece is claimed to have been
> sold with the rest of Dodgson's effects immediately following his
> death in 1898. No such item appears in the sale catalogue. >
> True. But as I said earlier this is not enough for me to have
> concern and it seems to be only a natural, honest mistake. Plus,
> it's a double-edged sword. Why would a forger make up a fact that
> could be proved wrong? Why not simply be mum on the issue? Would it
> raise the value? Yes, maybe so. But I don't think by enough to take
> this risk. This is, admittedly, the only genuine red flag I see
> here. But it isn't enough for me. No reason to have it tested just
> for this. As I said, families seem to get things like this wrong all
> the time. Jeffery Stern, as I point out in my article (p. 19b),
> mentions quite a few letters that point out that goods were sold at
> the time of the auction but that were not in the auction. Therefore,
> the piece of misinformation is explainable, and reasonably so.
> Also, I have collected many letters from Carroll and know that the
> auction catalog often gets details wrong, such as, who the letter was
> sent to. I see no reason why these little "family" errors should
> automatically send up a red flag on authenticity.
> < 2) The abysmal quality of the writing. I find it hard to believe
> that CLD, then at the height of his powers, could not only have
> written this garbage but considered it fit for publication. >
> It's a galley and by definition that means the writing may not be
> fine tuned. Carroll, like many writers of his day, used galleys to
> fine tune the writing, to make deletions, additions, and changes. We
> know Carroll was particularly interested in doing this. Also, it was
> deleted from the book so we must expect it to be doubly bad. You
> can't compare, as you seem to be doing, the fine-tuned and published
> Looking-Glass with the un-fined-tuned galleys of Wasp. Apples and
> By definition and the history that we do know, we must expect it to
> be bad. I think it fits the bill perfectly, by the way. I can't
> agree that it is "garbage" as you state. That seems to be a
> calculated word, said only to bolster your argument. If it were
> indeed garbage, it wouldn't have fooled anyone. No one I know thinks
> it that bad. If it were "abysmal" as you claim it would not have
> been sold at auction twice.
> I honestly can't believe that this is an honest assessment of its
> value. Is everyone stupid but you? It was sold at auction...
> twice! Let's be honest here, it is not garbage nor abysmal. It may
> be subpar or bad but it isn't all that bad. Carroll was able to
> write such a thing. You say "height of his powers". This seems to
> be added so I can't use the abysmal, garbage of Sylvie and Bruno.
> But I think I can. Sorry, but Carroll was capable of writing garbage.
> Perhaps you should point out some of these points about the writing.
> I know it is subjective, but what exactly are you talking about
> < (Besides the sheer quality, the style and the characterisation are
> all wrong, and it pastiches other parts of the Alice books in a way
> that real writers don't). >
> In my article, "The Authentic Wasp," I list all the similarities with
> other episodes that writers have commented on. I let the reader
> judge them for themselves. I point out that other similarities, even
> stronger ones, are presently in the book (p. 17a-b), yes, already in
> the book as it stands. So what is the big deal? Of the many
> complaints about Wasp on this account, only a few are strong enough
> for serious mention.
> I show that Carroll did pastiche himself as equally here in Wasp as
> in other non-Wasp episodes in Looking-Glass. I had so many such
> examples, I actually limited my list to only those that had to do
> with the Knight Chapter.
> And how, by the way, does this support forgery? A forger who copies
> something from another chapter and amends it would obviously change
> the similar words. One wouldn't leave vestiges of the original.
> Doesn't follow.
> < 3) The point Matt dwells on at such very great length, that the
> piece comes in exactly the place in the full text where the
> illustration plan says it should. Just one problem here - it doesn't.
> Count the words in the galleys, compare the word length with that of
> the published TTLG, and by the numbers on the galleys the 'Wasp'
> should come BEFORE the White Knight chapter, not after. (Selwyn
> Goodacre did the maths when the Wasp first emerged - see the Lewis
> Carroll Society's Wasp Symposium special.) >
> You are making several mistakes here.
> 1) To be exact, Goodacre claims that it comes only 10 pages too
> early, not early enough to place it in the spot that other
> commentators thought it appeared. That is obviously not enough pages
> to place it where the commentators had it. So your point is lost on
> me. Goodacre would have had to claim it was many more pages than 10
> to allow you to make the point you are trying to make here.
> 2) Galley pages are not uniform. I did my homework here. Some of
> the Carroll's galleys at NYU have different size galley sheets even
> for the same book. Look at the Wasp galleys themselves---page 67 is
> much shorter than the others!!! Remember too that Carroll took two
> or so years to write this book and the longer he takes the more
> variable things can be, especially with galleys; page numbers, paper
> sizes, and style, that is, page breaking, chapter breaks, margin
> sizes, all can change. Goodacre's numbers are a perfect world and
> galleys by definition are a scramble, used for editing, deletions and
> additions. The Wasp was deleted after all.
> In fact, Goodacre never used this as an argument against authenticity
> (and neither is Mike). Being 10 pages too early is not, especially
> for galleys and with the issues raised above, any cause for concern.
> 3) You claim it doesn't come after the White Knight chapter, but ten
> pages earlier. But it isn't the page numbers on the galleys that
> show its placement. Gardner didn't use that to place the episode in
> the existing Looking-Glass. It is the text itself that places it
> after the Knight chapter.
> Near the end of the Knight chapter we have these words:
> "I hope it encouraged him," she said, as she turned to run down the
> hill: "and now for the last brook, and to be a Queen! How grand it
> sounds!" A very few steps brought her to the edge of the brook. "The
> Eighth Square at last!" she cried as she bounded across
> The Wasp galleys end with these words:
> "Good-bye, and thank-ye," said the Wasp, and Alice tripped down the
> hill again, quite pleased that she had gone back and given a few
> minutes to making the poor old creature comfortable.
> So the words "as she turned to run down the hill" in the White Knight
> chapter and the words "tripped down the hill again"---note
> the "again"---in the Wasp galleys places the episode AFTER the White
> Knight chapter. There may be other textual issues that place the
> piece after Knight.
> So the whole of your point 3 is miscalculated and does not, by the
> evidence and knowledge of what we know of galleys, effectively damage
> the point I so "dwell" on. My "time-line" argument---developed with
> Mark Israel but much expanded by me---shows that those who believe
> there is some conspiracy here have a lot to answer for. How did this
> forger know more than scholars? Why was he so brave to do things
> that would only draw attention to himself?
> This forger knew to place it after Knight and all commentators had it
> much earlier than the Knight chapter. One commentator even had it as
> a fact that it occurred much earlier. If there was a forger he would
> have done his homework and read many, many books. He would have
> known that Hudson made such a claim. Why did he go against him? What
> balls! He must have known something.
> Those who believe this thing should be tested need to give better,
> more studied and thoughtful reasons for doing so. I see nothing but
> a few minor issues that can be mostly said of anything. Before we
> begin to snip a corner off one of the pages of these galleys and
> before we begin to burn it up with some chemical, we need to do make
> a full and accurate argument for doing so. I claim it has not been
> made. We also need to understand the timeline of events and to
> properly and affectively respond to what it suggests with a good
> understanding of probabilities and coincidences.
> Subsequent finds by scholars support the wasp's authenticity. This
> is troublesome for those who suspect it. It must be explained away
> before we take that first snip.
> If you are interested in this issue, please seek out my article. It
> was not lightly researched.
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