Mad for the Hatter

walliehatThe truth of the matter is, in addressing this confessional prompt—that is, the call to describe a time when you were furious out of your senses—Wallie, my Friend, and I were unwilling to think beyond acknowledging that we had perhaps known anger once, prior to evolvement.

I thought it best to address only a few points on the subject. As a tentative admirer of the written word in all its forms, and occasionally for the writers themselves, I can honestly say that what troubles me most are false facts. Two of my favorite authors, Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allan Poe, have been grievously misrepresented in English departments worldwide. Today I will concentrate on the former, in appreciation for the prompt, “Mad as a Hatter.”

Let us jump straight to the most popular error. It has often been posited that Lewis Carroll had an unnatural interest in little girls. There is no proof of this. In my edition of the Annotated Alice, as well as several biographies I have read, it is in fact a curious consistency that the biographers themselves feel they must apologize for how incredibly boring and free of scandal Carroll’s life truly was. The shy, bookish professor of mathematics gives biographers precious little to write about, and much of their accusations are as groundless, as preposterous (and indeed much more so) than anything shared at the Mad Tea Party.

It has also been suggested that Carroll was under the influence of drugs when writing Alice in Wonderland. A colleague of mine, for whom I have the profoundest respect, assures me this is so—a friend of hers wrote a paper on it and the matter is settled beyond dispute. I have learned that there are few matters “beyond dispute” that cannot be revised with a little individual research. As it happens, Carroll was not in the practice of using drugs. His habits were so unexciting, so regular, and so profoundly dull that perhaps there are a few mad hatters out there who which he were an addict to some stimulus or other!

What is it that makes so many worthy academics, students and professors alike, scorn Mr. Carroll for mere rumor? Is it because his creative subjects are so profoundly his own, so inimitable, singular, unique, that to imagine them conceived by any imagination other than one influenced by drugs is just too terrifying to consider? Perhaps Lewis Carroll himself, stuttering and painfully shy, was quite as bored with his own steady, quiet life as much as his own biographers. Is it so disturbing to acknowledge that anyone so quiet and unobtrusive, could have an imagination as vibrant, as active, as Carroll’s?

To sum up—misrepresentation infuriates me. I ask for proof. I demand facts. Not every silent observer is an axe-murderer on the rise. Or if it is so, then I daresay I am in serious trouble, and had better commit myself before the day is out.

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