Lewis Carroll Poems
Lewis Carroll was the pen name for the 19th century English writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898). While most famous for his story “Alice in Wonderland,” Carroll wrote numerous poems, including “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky,” which are pristine examples of literary nonsense.
Lewis Carroll began writing at a young age, sending many of his poems to the magazines Mischmasch, The Comic Times, and The Train during the 1850s. In 1856, his poem “Solitude” first appeared under the pen name for which he would become famous. Following the publication of Alice in Wonderland, Carroll’s next major work was his poem “Jabberwocky,” which appeared in the Alice in Wonderland sequel, Through the Looking Glass. “Jabberwocky” is a nonsense poem, meant to reflect the bizarre world into which Alice has traveled. Many of the words were invented by Carroll, including “brillig,” “chortled,” “frabjous,” and “galumphing.” Despite the numerous invented words, the poem still follows quatrain verse with iambic meter and an abab rhyme scheme.
“The Hunting of the Snark” first appeared in 1876 and was Carroll’s next major literary success. Borrowing some of the nonsense words from “Jabberwocky,” the poem tells the story of a crew of ten men, all of whose names begin with the letter B, in search of the Snark. Many critics have seen the poem as an allegory for the search for happiness, an opinion that Carroll supported later in life.