The Wasp in a Wig

The Wasp in a Wig by Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by Ken Leeder after Tenniel. Includes preface, introduction and notes by Martin Gardner.

First edition, published by Macmillan 1977. Hardback with dustjacket.

ISBN: 0 333 23727 7

The ‘lost chapter’ from Looking Glass: probably fits just after the White Knight.

On June 1, 1870, Tenniel wrote to Carroll:

“My Dear Dodgson:
I think that when the jump occurs in the railway scene you might very well make Alice lay hold of the goat’s beard as being the object nearest to her hand – instead of the old lady’s hair. The jerk would actually throw them together.
Don’t think me brutal, but I am bound to say that the ‘wasp’ chapter does not interest me in the least, and I can’t see my way to a picture. If you want to shorten the book, I can’t help thinking – with all submission – that this is your opportunity.
In an agony of haste,
Yours sincerely,
J. Tenniel”

The advice was accepted and the wasp was cut, and not seen again until 1974 when Sotheby’s sold six ‘slips’, or galleys, with revisions in Dodgson’s own hand, and the note, also in his hand, asking the printer to remove the episode from the book.

Available on amazon: The Wasp in a Wig: A ‘Suppressed’ Episode of Through the Looking-Glass

Bought in Cecil Court.


5 Responses to “The Wasp in a Wig”

  1. February 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve never heard of this work by Lewis Carroll. It’s interesting because I’ve written a book about insects that is a slight homage to Carroll’s most famous work. I like this digital “shrine” you’ve created. Lots of nicely archived goodies to explore. Thanks for this, I’ll research this story some more.

  2. June 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    We’ve just posted an article discussing the Wasp –

    Is it real or a fake? Nearly 36 years since it was offered for sale in Sotheby’s – and it still has never been examined by experts. No one knows if the paper is the right age, or if the type face matches. And no one really knows where it came from…


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February 2010
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