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Who is Insane?

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  • knaveofarts
    As I read the Alice and Snark books, I sometimes wonder if CLD was portraying characters who were insane, or aspects of whom were insane? Of course, insanity
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 8, 2009
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      As I read the Alice and Snark books, I sometimes wonder if CLD
      was portraying characters who were insane, or aspects of whom were
      insane? Of course, insanity must be distinguished from attributes and
      behaviors that are absurd, eccentric, idiosyncratic, inventive, or
      just nonsensical. I haven't looked into this yet but superficially,
      but some characters that come to mind are:

      Queen of Hearts: Acc. to Charles Darwin "The insane notoriously give
      way to all their emotions with little or no restraint...1

      Mock Turtle and Gryphon: Were they manic-depressives?

      Mock Turtle: it has no deep sorrow, but fancies that it does It
      thinks that it had been a real turtle, but, in fact, it had never been
      a real turtle. Is it delusional?

      Mad Hatter: he is obsessed with the tea ritual. Is this a case of
      compulsive, ritualized behavior?

      The Bellman: he was obsessed with the hunting of the Snark

      The Butcher: he had only one idea, and could do only one thing: Is
      he obsessive-compulsive?

      The Baker: He completely lost his own personal identity, and was
      possessed by his fear of the Boojum; in fact, the last words he says
      before he vanishes are "Boo jum," and so perhaps he became the Boojum
      - that which he most feared.

      The Crew: They seem to be introverted. Their behavior is
      impractical, and out of touch with reality (Snark 4.11-15)

      Alice: She weeps copious tears. In the insane "nothing is more
      characteristic of simple melancholia, even in the male sex (Mock
      Turtle again?) than a tendency to weep on the slightest occasions, or
      from no cause...The length of time during which some patients weep is
      astonishing, as well as the amount of tears which they shed. One
      melancholic girl wept for a whole day." 2

      Are there any more possible cases of madness in the Alice books
      and in The Hunting of the Snark?

      CLD's uncle had access to an insane asylum, and so I wonder if
      CLD accompanied his uncle on visits to this institution, and became
      familiar with mental patients. Is there any record of him accompanying
      his uncle?

      And, for that matter, did that mental institution keep records of
      its mental patients, and are these records accessible today? Might any
      of the patients been specific models for characters in Alice and the
      Snark?



      1 Charles Darwin. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals,
      3rd ed., OUP, 1998, Cloth, p.157
      2. Idem.
    • Goetz Kluge
      The characters in books live in books and are not insane. Just imagine how you would feel if you would have to live in a book and wait for readers to open it
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 8, 2009
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        The characters in books live in books and are not insane. Just imagine
        how you would feel if you would have to live in a book and wait for
        readers to open it so that you can jump into the brain of the reader?
        That is not an easy job. So all of these figures from books deserve
        lots of compassion and respect.

        Have fun with reading
        Goetz

        http://www.snarkdown.de
      • Ralph Sims
        Imagine that you are imagined and then imagine that which imagined you. Jasper Fforde has fun with bringing characters in books, e.g. his Lost in a Good
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 8, 2009
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          "Imagine that you are imagined and then imagine that which imagined you."

          Jasper Fforde has fun with bringing characters in books, e.g. his "Lost in a
          Good Book".

          ObCarroll: he has more than just a few "Wonderland" references throughout
          his writings.

          > The characters in books live in books and are not insane.
          > Just imagine how you would feel if you would have to live in
          > a book and wait for readers to open it so that you can jump
          > into the brain of the reader?
        • knaveofarts
          ... Another way CLD might have become familiar with mental patients is if he himself had been confined for a while in an asylum before he wrote AAIW. Richard
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 12, 2009
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            > CLD's uncle had access to an insane asylum, and so I wonder if
            > CLD accompanied his uncle on visits to this institution, and became
            > familiar with mental patients. Is there any record of him accompanying
            > his uncle?
            >
            > And, for that matter, did that mental institution keep records of
            > its mental patients, and are these records accessible today? Might any
            > of the patients been specific models for characters in Alice and the
            > Snark?

            Another way CLD might have become familiar with mental patients
            is if he himself had been confined for a while in an asylum before he
            wrote AAIW. Richard Wallace suggest that his schooldays experiences
            might have been traumatic. And then there is the possibility that he
            told Mrs. Liddell that he wanted to propose marriage to Alice; for
            some reason the Liddells cut him off. Did Dean Liddell send him to an
            asylum temporarily? It could have easily been done with CLD's uncles
            facilitation. What dates do the missing diaries cover? Did CLD have a
            nervous breakdown? Was he high-strung?

            I know this is all very far-fetched and fanciful. But is it
            possible that a few weeks or even a few months in his life could have
            been covered up or blacked out without anybody noticing? Maybe he was
            supposed to be on vacation. I don't suppose there were psychoanalysts
            in his time. Most likely, however, there was no such incident. That's
            too bad; it could explain a few things.
          • Goetz Kluge
            What is insane ? In different environments it could be helpful to behave differently. Most of the characters in CLDs writings seem to be quite well adapted to
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 12, 2009
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              What is "insane"? In different environments it could be helpful to
              behave differently. Most of the characters in CLDs writings seem to be
              quite well adapted to the environments which CLD has created for them.

              Best regards
              Goetz
            • doughowick
              ... if ... became ... accompanying ... records of ... Might any ... the ... he ... an ... a ... have ... was ... psychoanalysts ... That s ... There s a really
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 12, 2009
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                --- In lewiscarroll@yahoogroups.com, "knaveofarts" <knaveofarts@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > > CLD's uncle had access to an insane asylum, and so I wonder
                if
                > > CLD accompanied his uncle on visits to this institution, and
                became
                > > familiar with mental patients. Is there any record of him
                accompanying
                > > his uncle?
                > >
                > > And, for that matter, did that mental institution keep
                records of
                > > its mental patients, and are these records accessible today?
                Might any
                > > of the patients been specific models for characters in Alice and
                the
                > > Snark?
                >
                > Another way CLD might have become familiar with mental patients
                > is if he himself had been confined for a while in an asylum before
                he
                > wrote AAIW. Richard Wallace suggest that his schooldays experiences
                > might have been traumatic. And then there is the possibility that he
                > told Mrs. Liddell that he wanted to propose marriage to Alice; for
                > some reason the Liddells cut him off. Did Dean Liddell send him to
                an
                > asylum temporarily? It could have easily been done with CLD's uncles
                > facilitation. What dates do the missing diaries cover? Did CLD have
                a
                > nervous breakdown? Was he high-strung?
                >
                > I know this is all very far-fetched and fanciful. But is it
                > possible that a few weeks or even a few months in his life could
                have
                > been covered up or blacked out without anybody noticing? Maybe he
                was
                > supposed to be on vacation. I don't suppose there were
                psychoanalysts
                > in his time. Most likely, however, there was no such incident.
                That's
                > too bad; it could explain a few things.
                >

                There's a really interesting dissertaion on this subject in relation
                to CLD and the characters in the Snark. It is called "The Capture of
                the Snark" An essay by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. and Judy Miller in The
                Richmond Review and is based on The Invisible Plague: The Rise of
                Insanity from 1750 to the Present, by these authors in 2002. The
                whole essay can be found on the web at
                http://www.richmondreview.co.uk/library/torrey01.html
                Kind regards, Doug H
              • doughowick
                There s a really interesting dissertaion on this subject in relation to CLD and the characters in the Snark. It is called The Capture of the Snark An essay
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 12, 2009
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                  There's a really interesting dissertaion on this subject in relation
                  to CLD and the characters in the Snark. It is called "The Capture of
                  the Snark" An essay by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. and Judy Miller in The
                  Richmond Review and is based on The Invisible Plague: The Rise of
                  Insanity from 1750 to the Present, by these authors in 2002. The
                  whole essay can be found on the web at
                  http://www.richmondreview.co.uk/library/torrey01.html
                  Kind regards, Doug H

                  > --- In lewiscarroll@yahoogroups.com, "knaveofarts" <knaveofarts@>
                  > wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > CLD's uncle had access to an insane asylum, and so I
                  wonder
                  > if
                  > > > CLD accompanied his uncle on visits to this institution, and
                  > became
                  > > > familiar with mental patients. Is there any record of him
                  > accompanying
                  > > > his uncle?
                  > > >
                  > > > And, for that matter, did that mental institution keep
                  > records of
                  > > > its mental patients, and are these records accessible today?
                  > Might any
                  > > > of the patients been specific models for characters in Alice
                  and
                  > the
                  > > > Snark?
                  > >
                  > > Another way CLD might have become familiar with mental
                  patients
                  > > is if he himself had been confined for a while in an asylum
                  before
                  > he
                  > > wrote AAIW. Richard Wallace suggest that his schooldays
                  experiences
                  > > might have been traumatic. And then there is the possibility that
                  he
                  > > told Mrs. Liddell that he wanted to propose marriage to Alice; for
                  > > some reason the Liddells cut him off. Did Dean Liddell send him
                  to
                  > an
                  > > asylum temporarily? It could have easily been done with CLD's
                  uncles
                  > > facilitation. What dates do the missing diaries cover? Did CLD
                  have
                  > a
                  > > nervous breakdown? Was he high-strung?
                  > >
                  > > I know this is all very far-fetched and fanciful. But is it
                  > > possible that a few weeks or even a few months in his life could
                  > have
                  > > been covered up or blacked out without anybody noticing? Maybe he
                  > was
                  > > supposed to be on vacation. I don't suppose there were
                  > psychoanalysts
                  > > in his time. Most likely, however, there was no such incident.
                  > That's
                  > > too bad; it could explain a few things.
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