The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

CLASSIC DISPLACED WRITING: Lewis Carroll

Continuing with the Alice theme that has infected the site, here’s the latest edition of Classic Displaced Writing. Also, we’re experimenting and instead of the normal, written article, I’ve done this version as a video. Be sure to tell us what you think of the new format.


QUESTION: Have you ever thought to yourself, during your various experiments with international travel and living, “I must have been mad”?

Note: The film clips are from Alice in Wonderland, a 1903 silent film by Cecil M. Hepworth, starring May Clark in the title role of Alice.

STAY TUNED for Monday’s guest post by Carole Hallett Mobbs on “Alice in Japan.”

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9 responses to “CLASSIC DISPLACED WRITING: Lewis Carroll

  1. farfalle1 June 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    LOVE seeing the old movie clip – amazing to see something absolutely without ‘special effects’. In general I guess I prefer the written to the video, but it certainly makes for an entertaining change. thanks!

  2. Kym Hamer June 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Liked the extract from AIW and thought it was pertinent to the expat experience but didn’t like the video format at all. The audio was a little long-ish but thought it could have worked in conjunction with a written intro on Lewis Carroll, followed by the audio reading. And it ended rather suddenly, leaving me wondering what the point was??

    But all hail experimentation!

    • ML Awanohara June 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm

      @Kym
      Thanks for that detailed feedback. I see what you mean about the ending. Perhaps a provocative question and closing credits would have helped? There’s always a next time…

      • Anastasia June 4, 2011 at 3:46 am

        Yes, the final question of the post could have been asked of us — and appeared on the screen too.

        Awindram and TDN people, I enjoyed it! Liked your set up of the writer as ‘stultifyingly English’ because that in fact might have been the reason (other than drugs) for his wild imagination of other worlds. Also, hearing the Cheshire Cat passage recited over the silent film worked great. Hope you keep experimenting with the format!

        (And wonder if you’ve seen TED curator Chris Anderson’s TED talk from TEDGlobal2010 about the fact that webvideo is the future of global innovation?)

        One thing that could have been pulled out of the script (and left as intro text with hyperlinks): references to earlier posts you’ve done since we couldn’t visit them while watching the film and mentioning them over unrelated images is a jarring experience.

  3. ML Awanohara June 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I really enjoyed this video post! It made me realize that you don’t have to venture to foreign lands to understand what it means to be displaced — that’s if you’re blessed with a rich imagination. Lewis Carroll, upon seeing kids and dogs and cats playing near a rabbit hole, came up with an entire imaginary world beneath the earth’s surface, where nothing is as it seems… He was a classic armchair traveler.

    I know I’m biased but I enjoyed the clips from the silent film and especially the audio. I’ve been studying my Alice again in preparation for this month’s theme on The Displaced Nation, but I found it an entirely different, and much more memorable, experience to hear Awindram recite the passage about Alice asking the Cheshire Cat for directions, than to read it myself. He brought it to life for me.

  4. awindram June 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    The ending could have done with some sort of end title, I agree, if that is what you’re referring to on that point. It was my first attempt at fiddling around with editing software and I couldn’t quite figure that out and it was getting towards three in the morning and I was getting progressively drunker.

    • Kym Hamer June 5, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Anthony, given the lateness of the hour it sounds like Alice wasn’t the only one feeling displaced!

      Looking forward to the next one.

      • ML Awanohara June 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        @Kym
        Yes, it seems that Lewis Carroll isn’t the only writer who does his best work while under the influence. (Actually, I do Carroll a disservice. The rumors of his use of hallucinogenic drugs while composing the Alice books — why else would he have created a hookah-smoking Caterpillar who advises Alice to eat from the mushroom? — are wholly unfounded.)

    • ML Awanohara June 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      @Anthony
      Did you wake up saying, “Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!”

      Thanks, everyone, for your input. I think we’ve learned a couple of things:
      1) It would help if the accompanying text were a teaser, including links to helpful background information (including anything referenced in the video narrative itself).
      2) The ending should be more of a clincher: some kind of question, mentioned verbally but also reinforced by having it pass across the screen. Plus some sort of closing credits…

      Any other observations before Awindram heads back to the drawing board? Pls feel free!

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