Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Why Lewis Carroll Never Travelled Without his Portmanteau

portmanteau 1Portmanteau words are when two terms are combined to make one: brunch, motels, glitterati, jazzercize, puggles, ligers, sitcoms, sporks, keytars, jeggings, mocktails, bromance – all of my favourite things! Why make a totally new word when you can just shove two together.

Lewis Carroll utterly loved doing this. He invented the word chortle by combining chuckle and snort.

Galumph = gallop + triumph

Frumious = fuming + furious

Frabjous = fair + joyous

He also originated this usage of portmanteau in Through the Looking Glass. In Lewis Carroll’s time, in English, a portmanteau was a type of luggage which consisted of two compartments, folding into one. He posited it as the perfect solution to that moment when you want to say two different words at once, and a combination flows out.

portmanteauHumpty Dumpty says, “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word…Well then, “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable” (there’s another portmanteau for you).”

From the Latin for portare – to carry and mantellum –a cloak, the word itself combines two aspects. Although it sounds French, in modern French it apparently means hat stand, which is no use to us whatsoever.

The Internet is filled with portmanteau names for things – blog, Wikipedia, email, Skype, Pinterest etc. It’s a good way to name a new phenomenon: combining two familiar terms to make something entirely new, but please don’t push it. I’m looking at you, Sharknado.

Do you have a favourite (or least favourite) portmanteau word? Comments please!

Have you found this interesting? Please like or share.

2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Find out more here.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I’d Like To Own

The magnificent bloggers over at The Broke and Bookish have once again challenged those of us who spend our spare hours typing about tomes to create a top ten list. This week the topic is week book-related goodies we’d like to have in our possession. Click on any picture below to see its source. P.S. My birthday is in two weeks’ time. Just saying.

A book village for my ceiling? Yes please.

A book village for my ceiling? Yes please.

I need evidence that this actually works before signing the cheque.

I think I need evidence that this actually works before signing the cheque.

Alice falling down one's décolletage into Wonderland.

Alice falling down one’s décolletage into Wonderland.

A secret door in a bookcase. Preferably one which only open when one particular book is tilted at 45 degrees.

A secret door in a bookcase. Preferably one which only opens when one particular book is tilted at 45 degrees.

Because your bookends should tell a story too.

Because your bookends should tell a story too.

A wardrobe which leads to Narnia.

A wardrobe which leads to Narnia.

Sneaking off with a hollow hip flask book: 'I'll be right with you, I just need to go and have a quick read in the other room. On a completely unrelated point, does anyone happen to have a glass and ice?'

Sneaking off with a hollow hip flask book: ‘I’ll be right with you, I just need to go and have a quick read in the other room. On a completely unrelated point, does anyone happen to have a glass and ice?’

I would like a wall papered with maps of fictional places.

I would like a wall papered with maps of fictional places. Though perhaps it should be a mix of real and fictional, to make visitors wonder whether The Land of OOO may in fact be one of the Outer Hebrides.

An independent bookshop to run cantankerously. See Black Books.

A book ladder on wheels for my imaginary many-storey bookstore.

A book ladder on wheels for my imaginary many-storey bookstore.

In conclusion, I would like a tall bookstore with a ladder to climb, where people will come to marvel at my amusing bookends, fictional map wallpaper and recycled book chandelier village. There must also be a secret bookcase door which leads to Narnia, wherein I shall drink from my hidden book flask whilst bathing in a tub of books.

Do you fancy any of that? What would be on your fantasy bookish shopping list?

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Unconventional Literary Halloween Costumes

Many classic Halloween costumes are inspired by books – Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula – but literature has so much more to offer! I have trawled the Internet and found some rather remarkable Halloween costumes for book lovers.

This guy is fifty shades of creepy. Yet still not creepier than the book he’s dressed as.

50

Tinted Sunglasses+Cigarette=Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S Thompson

Be the coolest person in the room – come as a dictionary!
dictionary-costume

Thinking about a Lord of the Rings costume? Not another Frodo/elf/dwarf, I hope. Go as Barad Dur!
Barad Dur

Click here for a range of books people have turned up as. This is my personal favourite.
twilight-book-costume

Dress up your toddler like Edgar Allan Poe. Their friends are going to be so envious (or oblivious)! The likeness is uncanny.

Poe

If you’re thinking of an Alice in Wonderland costume, forgo Alice and the Mad Hatter – go straight for Cheshire Cat and Tree.

Cheshire-Cat-in-a-Tree-Costume

Or if you do go for Alice, be trapped inside a house.
In the houseGo meta and go to a fancy dress party as Oscar Wilde at a fancy dress party. Here he is looking magnificent in traditional Greek clothing.
oscar-wilde-in-greek-national-dress

Tired of getting out that same Hogwarts uniform every year? Try being Buckbeak instead.
buckbeak2 Hedwig

I just love this girl’s face. She is very much in character.
Angry CruellaThis woman is Super Librarian. She is my hero.
Super LibrarianWhat do you think of these? Have you worn a book inspired costume? Leave me a comment below!
Please do like and share.

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A Tea Party at Hampton Court for RNIB

Mad HatterLast week I had a wonderful time at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. It contained the most beauty per square foot of anywhere I’ve ever been. Amongst the stunning flowers and verdant gardens, I saw some exquisite literary sculptures by Robert James Ltd.  The Robert James Stand was held in association with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Visitors were able to touch and feel each of the exhibits and use RNIB’s PenFriend – a pen that provides pre-recorded audio information about each of the exhibits. They wanted visitors to have a rich sensory experience regardless of their level of vision. Set up as the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the sculptures of the Mad Hatter and Alice were my favourites.The White Rabbit

This is the campaign they were supporting: The RNIB’s involvement with Robert James’ sculptures is part of the ‘Read for RNIB’ campaign. The RNIB believes that the almost two million people living in the UK with sight loss have a right to fully access the written word. The charity’s annual fundraising campaign, Read for RNIB Day in October aims to raise vital funds to help provide services such as braille, giant print and talking books for blind or partially sight people.

Everyone should have access to literature. To find out more about the campaign click here. Read for RNIB Day is on Friday 11th of October. Do check the website for events near you, or plan to hold your own!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlice in Wonderland

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