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Re: [lewiscarroll] Sylvie and Bruno: Crap

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  • Paul Janse
    ... Prefaces are another thing; they are non-fiction. But name one thing which we learn from S&B which we really could not have known otherwise. I am not
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 31, 2001
      John:
      >Completely not true.
      >
      >At least in most cases. What Sylvie and Bruno does - and very effectively,
      >is challenge fundamentally the received portrayal of Lewis Carroll from
      >Collingwood to Cohen. NOT reading S&B (and I include, of course, the two
      >prefaces here, is to miss out on some fundamental truths regarding Lewis
      >Carroll view of the world, his theology, and his politics.
      >


      Prefaces are another thing; they are non-fiction. But name one thing which
      we learn from S&B which we really could not have known otherwise. I am not
      talking about Collingwood or Cohen biographies but about, letters, diaries
      and other sources.

      Paul
    • Arne Moll
      I agree with Paul. Let s talk about real things here. What is it that you have found out about (the life of) Carroll from reading S & B that is not just an
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
        I agree with Paul. Let's talk about real things here.
        What is it that you have found out about (the life of) Carroll from reading
        S & B that is not just an assumption, an interesting but unproveable
        theory, a possibility, but a real FACT ?

        Or, to ask you specifically John, what does S & B change in the way it is
        thought Carroll thought about things like theology and philosophy? Can you
        really deduce concrete matters from the book and if so, which are they?

        Arne




        Paul wrote:

        >Prefaces are another thing; they are non-fiction. But name one thing which
        >we learn from S&B which we really could not have known otherwise. I am not
        >talking about Collingwood or Cohen biographies but about, letters, diaries
        >and other sources.
        >
        >Paul
        >
        >
        >
        >to unsubscribe send a blank email to: lewiscarroll-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        >
      • AnisaT@aol.com
        Arne, I am sorry if this seems unhelpful, but several times I have spelt out painstakingly, and certainly to the satisfaction of others, if not all, then many
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
          Arne,

          I am sorry if this seems unhelpful, but several times I have spelt out
          painstakingly, and certainly to the satisfaction of others, if not all, then
          many of the references, allusions etc that assists the reader in gaining a
          better understanding of Charles Dodgson.

          I have neither the time nor the inclination to go through the whole
          interminable process again. I am not consciously trying to snub you here
          Arne, but part of the problem is that to recognise and accept many of the
          evidences one needs to have a reasonably good understanding of the nature of
          the political, social and theological mileau in which Carroll moved and the
          various tides currents and undertows in which he swam and against which he
          battled.

          I think that some time ago I suggested that a good beginning to understanding
          some elements of this process would be to read Kingsley's Hypatia and
          Coleridge's Aids to Reflections, I could add Maurice's 'The Kingdom of
          Christ'. All these works influenced Carroll and the results of this
          influence can be clearly seen in S&B.

          I also suggested that the structure of S&B is very reminiscent of Vico's 'New
          Science'. Vico was an acknowledged influence on the three writers mentioned
          above. The Platonic influence is clear from the very first page.

          John
        • AnisaT@aol.com
          Oh, One further thing Arne. You talk about facts . Well, Arne, the main Fact is the book itself. Books are like finferprints in a way. They can tell you a
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
            Oh,

            One further thing Arne.

            You talk about 'facts'. Well, Arne, the main Fact is the book itself. Books
            are like finferprints in a way. They can tell you a lot about the writer
            whether they want you to know or not.

            This applies to any book by the way. I read a Patricia Cornwell novel, and
            having read it I can extrapolate certain information about her views on life,
            politics and priorities. In the same way, one can read Sylvie and Bruno and
            gain certain information which points quite clearly to Carroll's views on
            similar issues - the prefaces are just icing on the cake. And one thing S&B
            does NOT point to is the portrait of Lewis Carroll that has been presented
            over the last 100 years.

            Facts, particularly historical facts, are only useful if placed in the
            context of the events from which they emerged. An apposite example of this
            is the recent conviction with regard to the Locherbie bombing. The
            conviction is based on (so far as the account I've just read goes) two facts
            - the most important of which is the clothing found in the suitcase. Now a
            pile of clothing doesn't seem much on which to base a conviction for a
            particularly heinous crime. But the context, the circumstances in which that
            fact was placed made it of sufficient import that the judges unanimously
            declared that it provided overwhelming evidence of guilt.

            Now from what I've read about the nature of facts on this list in the past,
            it seems to me that the logic of reliance on facts is such, that if certain
            members of this list had been on the bench in the Locherbie case, the logic
            of their argument would have been such that they would have had no
            alternative but to post a not guilty verdict on the basis of lack of fact and
            the absence of a full confession.

            John
          • Kate Lyon
            ... From: Arne Moll To: Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2001 8:24 AM Subject: Re: [lewiscarroll] Sylvie and
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Arne Moll <arnemail@...>
              To: <lewiscarroll@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2001 8:24 AM
              Subject: Re: [lewiscarroll] Sylvie and Bruno: Crap


              > I agree with Paul. Let's talk about real things here.
              > What is it that you have found out about (the life of) Carroll from
              reading
              > S & B that is not just an assumption, an interesting but unproveable
              > theory, a possibility, but a real FACT ?
              >
              > Or, to ask you specifically John, what does S & B change in the way it is
              > thought Carroll thought about things like theology and philosophy? Can you
              > really deduce concrete matters from the book and if so, which are they?
              >
              > Arne
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Paul wrote:
              >
              > >Prefaces are another thing; they are non-fiction. But name one thing
              which
              > >we learn from S&B which we really could not have known otherwise. I am
              not
              > >talking about Collingwood or Cohen biographies but about, letters,
              diaries
              > >and other sources.
              > >
              > >Paul
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >to unsubscribe send a blank email to:
              lewiscarroll-unsubscribe@egroups.com
              > >
              >
              >
              > to unsubscribe send a blank email to:
              lewiscarroll-unsubscribe@egroups.com
              >
              >
            • AnisaT@aol.com
              In a message dated 02/02/2001 08:28:48 GMT Standard Time, pjanse@xs4all.nl writes:
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 2, 2001
                In a message dated 02/02/2001 08:28:48 GMT Standard Time, pjanse@...
                writes:

                << Prefaces are another thing; they are non-fiction. But name one thing which
                we learn from S&B which we really could not have known otherwise. I am not
                talking about Collingwood or Cohen biographies but about, letters, diaries
                and other sources.
                >>
                Paul,

                What you are asking for is MY interpretation of the text of S&B. I could
                (and indeed have, on numerous occasions) post my thoughts on the list. This,
                for some, seems unsatisfactory - not surprisingly because my interpretations
                are informed by a mass of evidences which are not available to you.

                In essence, it seems, what I, and others like Karoline, Kate, Jenny etc, are
                being asked to do is to teach people how to read a text!

                Frankly, this, in the context of the type of discussion one enters into on a
                list such as this, is a rather barren exercise.

                If you, or anyone else, are experiencing genuine difficulty in resolving the
                ambiguities involved in reading a text which is both autobiographical in
                nature (and we do, after all have the author's word that this is the case in
                S&B) and fictional in structure, then it is not I, but others more qualified
                who should guide you.

                I can recommend, though, as a beginning, one of my favourite books (written
                by an American by the way!). This is William Empson's Seven Types of
                Ambiguity. As a guide to reading complex works there is still none better.

                John
              • Arne Moll
                ... understanding ... John, I apologize for my ignorance. You are right. I did some research, and you know what? I found out that Carroll was heavily
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 2, 2001
                  At 06:41 1-2-01 EST, John wrote:

                  >I think that some time ago I suggested that a good beginning to
                  understanding
                  >some elements of this process would be to read Kingsley's Hypatia and
                  >Coleridge's Aids to Reflections, I could add Maurice's 'The Kingdom of
                  >Christ'. All these works influenced Carroll and the results of this
                  >influence can be clearly seen in S&B.

                  John, I apologize for my ignorance. You are right.
                  I did some research, and you know what? I found out that Carroll was
                  heavily influenced by Charles Dickens. I don't know yet what this influence
                  actually means for our understanding of him (I heard someone say that it
                  just means that he was influenced by him and used his techniques in his
                  work, but I do not believe that - there must be more to it!), nor do I have
                  time to give you some quotes which prove the influence of Charles Dickens
                  on Carroll's work, but I can assure you the works of Dickens influenced
                  Carroll and the results of this can be clearly seen not only in Sylvie and
                  Bruno, but in his entire oeuvre.
                  I also suggest you read Percy Bysse Shelley's work. When you read it, you
                  will surely notice a striking similarity between Carroll's lyrical poems
                  and Shelley's. They both used certain words a lot of times,- unfortunately
                  I am too busy with other things to give you some examples, but if you would
                  just read Shelley's 'Collected Poems', you'd know.
                  And of course Carroll was very much inspired by the unknown dutch poet Piet
                  Paaltjens. He also wrote nonsense verse. If you understood dutch, or had a
                  translation, you'd know what I mean.
                  I'm sorry if you won't take the trouble to read all of Dickens' or
                  Shelley's or Paaltjens works,- I'm sure if you did you would agree with me.

                  >I also suggested that the structure of S&B is very reminiscent of Vico's
                  'New
                  >Science'. Vico was an acknowledged influence on the three writers mentioned
                  >above. The Platonic influence is clear from the very first page.

                  Here too you are 100% correct. I recently bought Vico's book and it really
                  gives me a good idea now how Carroll's mind worked. Of course, HOW the
                  structure of S&B is reminiscent to Vico is beyond me, but just to know that
                  there is a similarity gives me so much more understanding of Carroll!
                  By the way, I also suggest you read the Holy Bible (especially the New
                  Testament) - the biblical infuence is clear from the very first page.
                  Surely this means something Very Important - but I just can't figure out
                  what it is! Sorry, I'll let you know when I find out. I don't have much
                  time, and I already mentioned a lot of other things in my previous letters
                  - have you read Salinger yet, and Sartre? What about the movie 'The Naked
                  Gun'. These things are all essential for our understanding of Charles Dodgson.

                  Arne
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