London, South Kensington
30 November 2005
DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ('Lewis Carroll') -- 'The Mouse's Tale'. Original electrotype printing block, Oxford: University Press, c.1896. (145 x 95mm). Alloy-backed copper-plate electrotype block from hand-set types [probably by Horace Hart and John de la Mare], with countersunk screw holes, stamped 'University Press Oxford'. Modern half red morocco book-form case.
The original electrotype block commissioned by Carroll for the 1897 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- THE FINAL AND DEFINITIVE AUTHOR'S VERSION OF ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN CONCRETE POEMS IN ENGLISH. Carroll's famous 'Mouse's Tale' varied greatly in the printings of 1865, 1866, 1877 and 1897. In his own copy of the 1866 Alice alone (now in the Parrish Collection), Carroll marked 37 corrections. The present version, as it appeared in the last lifetime edition of Alice, must be considered the poem's final form -- a form intended to convey meaning as expressively as the words themselves. Carroll described it as 'very much better than it has ever been in previous editions of the book & it will be quite a feature in the new issue' (letter to Horace Hart, Comptroller of the University Press, dated 12 November 1896).
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