Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Stunning literary find: new Lewis Carroll 'Alice' book.

Stunning literary find: under the floorboards of a room at Christchurch College, Oxford, an electrician has found a manuscript thought to have been written by 'Lewis Carroll' (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Some of it is hard to decipher and it's clearly incomplete. Here's one passage:

"Come in,' said a woman in a loud voice.
Alice walked in to a large room at the Compartment of Edification.
Sitting in front of her, staring into the middle distance was the Blue Queen.
'How old are you?' said the Blue Queen.
'I'm seven years old,' said Alice politely.
Sitting next to the Queen was the Gibblet.
'Seven?' said the Gibblet, 'Seven? Test her.'
'Test her,' said the Blue Queen.
'Test me?' said Alice, 'but we've only just met.'
'And be robust,' said the Gibblet.
'And be robust,' said the Blue Queen.

Alice heard a scratching sound.
She looked round and observed a row of scribes scratching the word 'robust' on their scrolls.
'Why are you doing that?' enquired Alice.
'To tell the world the good news about robust tests,' they chorused.
'But how do you know 'Robust Tests' is good news?' asked Alice politely.
'Because the Blue Queen said it is,' chorused the scribes.
'Just because someone says something is something, doesn't mean that it is the thing they say it is,' said Alice.

'Test her!' shouted the Gibblet.
Test her!' shouted the Blue Queen.
'Robustly,' said the Gibblet.
'Robustly,' said the Blue Queen.

'Why do you keep repeating what he says?' said Alice.
'How else would I know what to say?' said the Blue Queen.
'You could think for yourself,' said Alice.
'No, no, no!' screamed the Gibblet. 'That's why we have the tests.'
'What? To help people think for themselves?'
'No, the opposite, you little ninny,' screamed the Gibblet.
'I like opposites,' said Alice. 'I like thinking of things that don't have opposites, like a cupboard, or a coal scuttle.'
'You go on like that, you'll fail the test,' laughed the Gibblet.
'You go on like that, you'll fail the test,' laughed the Blue Queen.
'As far as I'm concerned you've both failed,' said Alice. She turned round and walked out.