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Old 03-26-2009, 04:42 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,249
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 12

Hello David,

As I mentioned in the bibliography, the meaning of the poem can be found on p.149 of The Annotated Alice:

It was evening and the smooth active badgers were scratching and boring holes in the hillside; all unhappy were the parrots and the grave (solemn) turtles squeaked out.

Since these columns are being translated into French, so here is the French version given by Gardner:

Il brilgue; les tovês lubricieux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave,
Ennîmés sont les gougebosqueux,
Et le mômerade horsgrave.

The German translation was made by the Scott of Liddell & Scott (of the Greek Lexicon: Liddell was Alice's father):

Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burgoven
Die mohmen Rath' ausgraben.

Comment on the German translation by Peter Heath (Philosopher's Alice. p. 179): "In no other language is elaboration of structure so readily compatible with entire absence of meaning."

Alice's own reaction is uncomfortably reminiscent of a discussion in these forums about KI or 'internal' arts:

"It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, (she was reading the words that were back to front, as in a 'looking glass' book) "but it's rather hard to understand." (You see she didn't like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.) "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't exactly know what they are! However, somebody killed something: that's clear, at any rate--"

David Soroko wrote: View Post
Some Jabberwocky translations:
The "nouns in bold" did denote something according to Lewis Caroll himself and the one translation I can understand is done in that spirit
Carroll first published the opening stanza in 1855 in one if his "periodicals" that he wrote for his brothers and sisters. It has hand-written, under the heading: Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Carrol then gives his own explanation of the words in bold (in the column).

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 03-26-2009 at 04:48 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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