A portable plunge-bath from Sylvie and Bruno (1889), page 24. Figure IV. Click on image to enlarge it.
From left to right above, the characters are as follows:
1. The Lord Chancellor, who appears in Sylvie and Bruno on page 1 of the opening scene of the story, carefully scrutinising a devious sham-demonstration against the Warden of Outland (Fairyland). The ubiquitous Narrator is also close by, though invisible to all except (briefly) the Chancellor.
2. Sylvie, the eponymous heroine of the tale, and young daughter of the Warden. She is first mentioned at page 5, before appearing, at page 8.
3. Bruno, likewise both eponymous and heroic, Sylvie’s younger brother and frequent source for covert autobiography of the author, Lewis Carroll-C. L. Dodgson. Bruno enters at pages 4-5, asking for Sylvie.
4. The Vice-Warden, who enters at page 7 with “a mean and crafty face”, and produces an early joke, based on Dodgson-Carroll’s insistent logic of word meanings: “Why, you’re a born orator, man!”, to which the Chancellor replies “Most orators are born, you know”, ibid, page 7. Full annotation of this and other points 1 to 3 above, and points 5-7 below and others, are given in the recent work Annotated, Vol. 1.1n1-27, 14-25.
5. The Vice-Warden’s wife, referred to as “my Lady” at the start of SB-1889, Chapter II, page 16, but who does not appear until page 23 [after the parallel Victorian England strand of the adult story has emerged as nascent sub-agenda, utilising here the phrase “my Lady” to introduce Dodgson-Carroll’s literary transition no.1, with Lady Muriel and the first seven and-a-half pages of her very different story - deferred in Annotated to Vol. 3].
6. Uggug, the Vice-Warden’s son, described as “a hideous fat boy…with the expression of a prize-pig”, opage cit., page 23, and very much the unredeemed anti-hero of the book [cf. SBC-1893, Chapter XXIV, ‘The Beggar’s Return’, and Fig. ‘Porcupine!’, page 386; Annotated, Vol. 2, Chapter 17, ‘The Beggar’s Return’, notes 3 & 11, pages 558-59 & 560-61].
7. The Professor, who had appeared in Chapter I and Fig. II and III increasingly eccentric of dress. Here above he is demonstrating his new invention.
The whole group makes “a party of seven”, as noted by the now invisible narrator. However, Dodgson’s mischievous younger illustrator, Harry Furniss (1854-1925) [Annotated, 1.xxxiv-xxxv, and Index], has inserted an eighth member of the party, at the extreme right as an anthropomorphic saloon-chair. Perhaps even one further such addition may be seen, a ghost-like figure, suggestively in the curtains behind Sylvie. Whether or not these are attempts to bring the illusive Narrator more into view — he nowhere is actually depicted throughout these lengthy stories — or whether merely quirks of an artistic and rebelliousness temperament, are moot points for further solution. Furniss’s other possible lapses, such as the very life-like and form-changing bird on the Vice-Warden’s helmet-device, are discussed at Annotated, 1.1n14 & n18; Chapter 3n5, and Index.
The scene illustrated above, from Sylvie & Bruno’s early Chapter II, soon thereafter evolves into one with fewer characters, but now at once more overtly comical and more covertly sinister in the malpractices of courtly diplomacy - Chapter VI, ‘A Cunning Conspiracy’
- Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno Saga — The Neglected Late-Life Fairytale
- Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll
- An Overview of the Fairy-story in the Sylvie and Bruno books
Last updated 19 September 2016