The books > Wasp in the Wig

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Angelica

Wasp in the Wig

Postby Angelica » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:53 pm

Read a discussion of the Wasp in the Wig that suggested some people think it is a fake. It's got me curious to know more about the background, does anyone know anything?

http://contrariwise.wild-reality.net/blog/?p=267

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Grimley Fieendish
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Postby Grimley Fieendish » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:25 pm

The chapter itself is effectively a "Deleted Scene", that for pacing reasons, never made it into the final version of TTLG...
The thread originator argues that it may be a forgery, & therefore non-canon, due to the lack of supporting reference materials to prove it's provenance, and by the manner that it appeared at auction...
One commentator even infers that it might be a early product of the infamous forger, Mark Hofman, who was in London, during the time the "Wasp..." was discovered...
Mark Hofman specialised in painstakingly forging historical documents, from the late 18th to mid 19th centuries, & selling them to collectors, who believed them to be genuine, such as letters, apparently written by the founder of the Mormon church, & texts that if they were true, would have massively altered the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints...
(Currently, Mr.Hofman is serving life imprisonment without parole for murder, after he started making mistakes in his forgeries, and his scam began to unravel, resulting in him using a pipe bomb on one of his former "Customers", & faking a similar attack on himself, in a attempt to mislead the Utah state police investigating the former...).
Last edited by Grimley Fieendish on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:09 pm

I've read the Wasp scene, and its annotations. I just cannot believe that it could be a fake. It is just too important for Alice's development.

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Postby Guest » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:24 pm


AngelAlice

Postby AngelAlice » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:48 pm

I've read the Wasp scene, and its annotations. I just cannot believe that it could be a fake. It is just too important for Alice's development.
There was definitely a 'wasp scene', because Tenniel refers to it, but it was missing for years, presumed destroyed, until this thing turned up at auction. The question is - is this the genuine lost chapter or a carefully placed forgery?

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:16 pm

Ooh, good thinking!
But, I'd have to say that it is Carroll's. It fits in perfectly with Carroll's story and Alice's maturing into a caring, compassionate young woman.

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Postby Justin » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:27 pm

Alice’s maturing into a caring and compassionate young woman? What other signs are there of this and why would Carroll have wanted to show – or encourage - it? As far as I can see she remains the same tough and commonsense kid she always was (good for her), and she certainly goes back to being a little girl when she wakes up at the end. (It’s also totally counter to the mythology that the last thing Carroll wanted little girls to do was to grow up and he’d have much preferred them to leave off at seven).

I’m 100% with the writers of the Contrariwise blog on this (glad to see someone here reads it besides me). As I see it the first and most important reason is the fake provenance. I’ve spoken to one or two document dealers and provenance is always the first thing they look at (unlike the big auctioneers, who will happily sell anything that doesn’t come with ‘FAKE’ stamped on it). The supposed provenance for the Wasp is total rubbish – so why not give a genuine provenance if you have a genuine document?

The second reason is the atrocious quality of the writing. People will rush to say ‘What about Sylvie and Bruno?’, but while S&B is a truly terrible novel, it’s still written in good English. Good writers can write bad works. It’s much rarer for them to write bad prose/poetry – and speaking of poetry, the Wasp’s execrable couplets are the prime example of what I mean.

A few minor points: Alice in the ‘Wasp’ episode behaves completely out of character with her presentation in the rest of the book, including the White Knight episode that follows.

Structurally – for what that’s worth in the creator of S&B - the Wasp episode makes a complete mess of the whole book by undermining the impact of the White Knight.

Alice says in the final chapter ‘I’ve had such a lot of poetry recited to me today, and all of it about fish’. All the poetry in the published version is indeed about fish. The Wasp’s isn’t.

Every time anyone else in the book tries to recite a poem, Alice responds with irritation and attempts to avoid it. Yet faced with the most cranky and irritating character she has yet encountered, she positively encourages him.

Mathematically, as I understand it, the numbers on the slips don’t quite add up.

Sorry if this offends people, and especially fellow Flann O’Brien lovers, but my genuine thoughts for what they’re worth.

Justin

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:31 pm

Well, maybe that's why it was cut out. Perhaps he edited the book after taking it out.
I still like the Wasp character, anyway.

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Postby Justin » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:40 pm

A very short answer that leaves an awful lot of specifics unaccounted for.

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:45 pm

Fine, fine! The Wasp isn't a real part of the Alice canon! But I'll read over it myself just to make sure. And it's annoying, because I really liked the Wasp.

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Treacle
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Postby Treacle » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:14 pm

3rdpoliceman, it's okay, it's fine, if you like the wasp. There's nothing wrong with that. (Sometimes I like to use the "Worrity, worrity" phrase used by the wasp.) The Wasp in the Wig proof sheets have been published and as a result are there to be read and appreciated.

In the worst case scenario, in which the wasp would be a forgery, the wasp would still be very good fan writing.

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:38 pm

Worrity, worrity, worrity... (repeat into infinity)

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Newfable
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Postby Newfable » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:42 pm

The Wasp in the Wig is an actual part of the Wonderland "canon" (which is a strange statement to make), but was left out of the second book, Through the Looking Glass. Lewis Carroll wrote it himself, but decided it best to leave it out of the story. I'm not sure of the specific reason myself, but there's been a great deal of speculation. This "Lost Chapter" can be found in a lot of modern editions of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, and at this juncture, the chapter is much of a public secret: a lot of fans of Lewis Carroll know that it's there, but that it's not there at all.

3rdpoliceman

Postby 3rdpoliceman » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:35 pm

But what if the one we have is just a faked version, rather than the one he actually wrote.

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Postby Newfable » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:37 pm

That's certainly a problem, especially concerning all the mythology concerning Dodgson, Lewis Carroll, and his portfolio of work. However, I doubt this is a large problem for historians and researchers looking into his past.

My reasons for that fall into mere conjecture, but I have a few of them. The first is that nearly as soon as AIW was published, authors were already taking cracks at it through parody and narrative imitation. However, none could match his style, and anyone who has read Carroll's work can tell the difference between the two. Now I haven't read any of these more infamous parodies and spin-offs, but I do know that it's incredibly hard, if nearly impossible, to match another writer's voice and style, word-for-word. It's doable in theory, but I've never seen it done, with Carroll's work or with any other.

Secondly, it would seem utterly pointless for an author to write only a segment of the story, in the original author's same style and voice, word-for-word. If the author could accomplish that, I doubt highly they'd stick to only writing a chapter, taking into consideration the numerous AIW reimaginings, reinterpretations, and "sequels".

Furthermore, historians, researchers, and literary theologists have found that Carroll was notorious for including inside jokes in his work, especially AIW. If this was the case, then it would be impossible for another author to write The Wasp in the Wig, as they'd have to be privy to such a joke. However, this assumes that such inside jokes are included in the chapter in question, and I haven't studied it enough to find any. I'm also unsure as to what has been researched on the matter; therefore this reason is much more speculative and theoretical than any other than I have.

However, considering the time period it was or would've been written in, such a chapter would have to have been written by hand. Handwriting experts, either from that period of time or modernly, would be able to tell if it was Carroll who wrote it or someone else. I'm not sure if such tests have been done on the original document, but I know that it would produce the most conclusive results.

In short, the odds of it being a fake are just too small for it to be likely. It's possible, just not highly.


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