“All about fishes”? The Riddle of Humpty Dumpty’s Song and Recursive Understanding in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking- Glass and What Alice Found There ANGELIKA ZIRKER t the conclusion of Alice’s adventures in the country behind the looking- A glass, she comments, “I had such a quantity of poetry said to me, all about fishes” (p. 243); she thus repeats an earlier utterance from chapter 9: “I’ve had such a quantity of poetry repeated to me today, . . . and it’s a very curious thing, I think— every poem was about fishes in some way. Do you know why they’re so fond of fishes, all about here?” (p. 235). The statement that “ every poem was about fishes” is not quite true: There are no “s fi hes” mentioned either in the White Knight’s Song or in the nursery rhymes. Nevertheless, Alice makes this statement, which leads to the impression that all poems she listened to in the country behind the mirror were “about fishes”; and, indeed, her statement immediately follows upon the White Queen’s riddle during the banquet in chapter 9, “a lovely riddle— all in poetry— all about fishes ” (p. 235; emphasis added): “First, the fish must be
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jul 6, 2018
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