It is certainly no secret that I am a fan of Lewis Carroll. And so one of the fun things for a Carroll fan is to attend the occasional meeting of one of the literary societies focused on him. I’ve been to several hosted by the UK, US, and Canadian organizations, the most recent being the Lewis Carroll Society of North America‘s meeting in NYC this past Saturday.
Now the meetings can be quite varied, often reflecting the locale, the president’s preferences, and more. For instance, I’ve never been able to make it to one of the West Coast meetings (due to school schedules), but I always have salivated at the agenda as they often avail themselves of movie making and some of the wonderful collections that are there. Here in NYC we often meet at NYU’s Fales Library which has some terrific Lewis Carroll material, but this time we were at the NYIT thanks to one of our members who is the president of the institution.
I hadn’t been to a meeting in a few years and so I really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends at this one. While I had been to a couple of meetings before it was at the 1998 celebration at Christ Church in Oxford that I really bonded with a number of fellow Carroll enthusiasts.
The meeting opened with an interesting panel of the society’s founding members including Morton Cohen, Edward Guiliano,Michael Patrick Hearn, David Schaefer, and Justin Schiller. I found the contrast to the Oz Club to be especially interesting. (Justin started that organization when very young and Michael has been very involved with it too).
Craig Yoe‘s presentation on his new book Alice in ComicLand was great fun as is the book (and Craig himself). The selections performed from Bruce Lazarus’ Carrolling project were lovely and clever all at once. I also enjoyed very much Chris Morgan on Carroll’s games and puzzles. He alerted me to some great online resources, notably celebration of the mind, futility closet and martin-gardner.org.
Poet Jessica Young spoke about her book, Alice’s Sister and we Carroll fanatics were amused that she was under the misapprehension that Alice Liddell had a sister named Mary. We were very entertained by April Lynn James/Madison Hatta’s performance of excerpts from her “The Twinkle Bat Variations,” intrigued by Mike Schneider’s presentation of The Wordless Alice Project, and tickled by Tim Manley’s Alice in Tumblr-land.
All in all, a very good meeting and day.