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Re: [lewiscarroll] Sylvie and Bruno: Crap

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
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      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 2 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
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        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 3 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
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          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 4 of 11 , Feb 1, 2001
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            ----- 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 5 of 11 , Feb 2, 2001
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              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 6 of 11 , Feb 2, 2001
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                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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