le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Hardly a new issue, but the abundance of quotes zooming around the internet that are not attributed, incorrectly attributed, inaccurately sourced or documented is immense, and infuriating. I hadn't seen this one before, though, and now I'm really annoyed.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! In every place I've seen this where a source is mentioned, it is attributed to Lewis Carroll.

Those lines seem to be in Tim Burton's rather dreadful 2010 adaptation of Alice, spoke by the Mad Hatter and Alice, respectively.

This particular image pairs the fake Carroll quote with one of John Tenniel's original illustrations for the 1865 publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I also saw the quote with Tenniel's illustration of Alice talking with the Cheshire Cat, while he is perched in a tree. THAT illustration comes at the end of Chapter 6 "Pig & Pepper," and is when Alice and Cheshire Cat have their discussion about madness.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't be here."

Getting the attribution correct matters. Carroll didn't write the "Have I gone mad" quote. It's from a bad movie made four years ago. I knew it was wrong the moment I saw it, because I have read and/or taught *Alice* 300 million times (not an exaggeration). I know every line in that book absurdly well. And "bonkers"? come ON.
It's quite easy to check the text, as well, if you don't trust me: the text is free on Project Gutenberg, and you can do a find/search for the words from the quote.

If you love the Tim Burton quote, fine! Just don't say it's from Lewis Carroll. If you want to quote the original Carroll text on the subject of madness, Alice's conversation with the Cat is perfect.

Give credit where it's due. Care about accuracy. Words matter, and so do the people who write or say them.

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