March 03, 2004

Snarky but nice. Moomin meets Lewis Carroll.
  • Oh yeah! Tove Jansson! Shit! I haven't thought about those Moomin books since I was like 9 years old! Them and Tolkien's books were my favorite at that time. Cool!
  • Carroll in Swedish, neat. Jabberwocky in German, or in French; Hofstadter on translating nonsense.
  • I believe Tenniel refused to illustrate the "Snark" because of the bad time he had with Carroll over the Alice books. Henry Holiday did the job instead, not so memorably. Peake and Steadman have had a go since. Thurber was once invited to do new illustrations for "Alice" and replied "No, tell you what: keep the Tenniel pictures and I'll write a new story."
  • It's be great to see what Thurber would've done, Plegmund. The Wonderful O is fantastic. Sadly, it seems to be a little forgotten and hard to find; I picked up a first edition for fifty cents in a used bookstore crap bin a few years ago. Since everyone gives the same reply when I mention it, I'll cut to the chase and make it for you: "What's that about? Snort, snort!" And no. It isn't.
  • Few moments in literature surpass the final redemption of Phelia Liver,
  • You are incontrovertibly correct about the "Wonderful O", babywannasofa. I have a battered paperback copy which also includes "The 13 Clocks", a brilliant story, too. I still think Thurber had a point, though, but as a matter of fact, the Tove Janssen illustrations for Alice on the same site are worth a look, and the ones for the Hobbit (as before) are remarkable - an especially strange (and scary)version of Gollum.
  • Wonderful link, Plegmund, thanks ever so much. I love the Moomin books, particularly Moominpappa at Sea (aka "Moominpappa Has A Mid-Life Crisis") and Moominland Midwinter (always fun to read at this time of year). But I didn't know about the illustrations for the Snark, or Alice, or the Hobbit. Much to explore, and all of it fascinating. And I have fond memories of The Wonderful O, and can still remember lots of it even though I haven't read it for about 25 years. The man whose novel Flamingo Stories has to be renamed Flaming Stries .. at the age of nine that seemed to me the funniest thing I had ever read. Once again I bless the memory of Kaye Webb, legendary editor of Puffin Books, who published both Tove Jansson and James Thurber and influenced the reading habits of a whole generation of (mostly middle-class) English children. Thanks to the magic of the Internet I now know that there is an indie-rock band inspired by the Moomin books. (Sample lyric: "there are butterflies inside of my head. I can feel them and they are making everything I see look fuzzy wuzzy!") According to this review, their debut CD "quickly moves through a number of musical genres, the only consistent element being the exceptionally poor sound quality".
  • My wife sends you [banana] babywannasofa: My wife's a big fan of kid lit generally, and O is one of her favourites, along with the Moomin books.