|Lewis Carroll, self portrait|
There are two types of notes I have done my best to avoid, not because they are difficult to do or should not be done, but because they are so exceedingly easy to do that any clever reader can write them out for himself. I refer to allegorical and psychoanalytic exegesis. Like Homer, the Bible, and other great works of fantasy, the Alice books lend themselves readily to any type of symbolic interpretation--political, metaphysical, or Freudian. Some learned commentaries of this sort are hilarious. Shane Leslie, for instance, writing on "Lewis Carroll and the Oxford Movement" (in the London Mercury, July 1933), finds in Alice a secret history of the religious controversies of Victorian England. The jar of orange marmalade, for example, is a symbol of Protestantism (William of Orange; get it?). The battle of the White and Red Knights is the famous clash of Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce. The blue caterpillar is Benjamin Jowett, the White Queen is Cardinal John Henry Newman, the Red Queen is Cardinal Henry Manning, the Cheshire Cat is Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, and the Jabberwock "can only be a fearsome representation of the British view of the Papacy..."
Obviously the beggars the question, Is my current interpretive reading then even worth the time to write up and post or the bits and bites to store it?
Here's how I look at it: the "hilarious" commentaries mentioned above seem take no consideration (and I don't know how they could and yet be conscionably made at all) for the life and other writings/interests of Lewis Carroll. I've already written at length (likely too much so) about my own and personal justifications for taking the particular bent that I am on the books, but I think I think I also need to be clear that I am only doing so with the utmost effort to ensure that anything I put out there at least fits within the possibilities proffered by the man's character.