Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch
[ Issue 11 ]

Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch keep Emily Bronto occupied for hours

Permit Bikwil to reveal the delights of Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch

Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch

In Issue 11 Harlish Goop turns once more to Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem.   In this case, he explores a couple of translations. 

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A Word in Your Pink Shell-like — Harlish Goop


I have received a couple of communications touching on Bandersnatch, Bikwil's language of the mind. One thing readers want to see is some of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky in other languages. Glad to oblige. On the next page is the opening verse ("'Twas brillig", etc.) — first in a 1931 French version by F.L. Warrin, then one in German by R. Scott that dates back to 1872, the year after the original publication of Looking Glass.

Mind you, all this use of "nonsense with meaning" isn't completely esteemed everywhere. Anthony Burgess (he of Clockwork Orange renown and the great fan of OED editor James Murray) makes the following comment in his A Mouthful of Air:

We may not know what the verb "grobble" means, but we can be pretty sure that if I grobble, he grobbles, and that, some time in the past, several people grobbled. If "grobble" is a noun, then its plural is probably "grobbles". There is a satisfactory boniness about grammar that the flesh of vocabulary, or lexis, requires before it can become vertebrate and walk the earth. But it is probably unrealistic to stress its importance. It leads us to a world of dreams:

When I corkled the veriduct in morful wurtubs and, prexing the coroflock, chonted the purpool by crerlicoking the fark, [I] wottled the duneflow by fonking the raketoppled purnlow and then asserticled the prert (in both slonces) through a clariform rarp of werthearkers.

That is good grammar. But it is not anything else.

Can't agree myself. It's fun, and it stimulates the imagination. We need to be reminded of the world of dreams now and then. Bandersnatch makes for good Yuletide spirit, too, as I discovered the Christmas before last when a card from a Bikwilian included the following words:

May the bradlethwig sloove jongly round the slub, and quabber blonk! Simbly sublorginal . . .

With the Jabberwocky translations I have included, at no extra cost, a quote from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is from Chapter 6, and is another fine instance of that work’s language play to which I referred in Bikwil No. 3. From Adams’ point of view, of course, it is an example of Vogon poetry, “the third worst in the Universe”.

Nearby, too, incidentally, you will find a further paglet in the saga of Larick and the Aratronts. Bandersnatch lives!


Le Jaseroque

Il briligue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave,
Enmimés sont les gougebosqueux,
Et le momerade horsgrave.


Der Jammerwoch

Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth' ausgraben.


[As read to prisoners Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, while they sit strapped into their Poetry Appreciation chairs]

Oh freddled gruntbuggly thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
Groop I implore thee my foonting turlingdromes
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my 
blurglecrucheon, see if I don’t!

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