Lewis Carroll’s birthday bash

January 30, 2009

Hell! I’ve done it again! It was Lewis Carroll’s birthday on the 27th January and I forgot to mention him (or get him a present!). So a belated but happy 177th birthday, Mr. Dodgson with many happy returns. I shall down a bottle of Orpale Grand Cru Champagne 1998 in honour of the occasion (obviously following the government’s Drink Awareness Guidelines in the process, needless to say!).

Thoughts of Lewis Carroll bring to mind Edgar A Poe and his child bride – it’s his bicentennial year after all (another forgotten birthday). Obviously Poe was much in the mind of Nabokov when he wrote “Lolita”:

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

Lo-lee-ta with the middle syllable alluding to “Annabel Lee” by our Edgar Poe – in fact one finds references to Poe on a good fifteen or sixteen occasions in the novel’s opening.

“She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom of the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee –

(Annabel Lee by E A Poe)

Paul Bowles described “Lolita” as one of the best travel books he’d ever read on America.

Anyway happy birthday to Poe and Dodgson both, better late than never…or nevermore!

3 Responses to “Lewis Carroll’s birthday bash”

  1. Quentin said

    ‘Annabel Lee’ is one of my favourite poems. I knew that Nabakov liked Poe, but had not spotted the ‘Lo. Lee Ta.’ allusion.

  2. peedeel said

    Hi Quentin

    Nice you could drop by. I’d agree, Annabel Lee is one of my favourite Poe poems. Crafty old Nabakov filled Lolita with allusions to other works including Lewis Carroll’s of course. The other writers are Merimee, Shakespeare, and Joyce.

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