Officers in Wonderland

We have already seen Powell’s propensity to compare his characters to those from Lewis Carroll, as envisioned by Sir JohnTenniel (The Mad Hatter, The Frog Footman, The Red Queen.) He does this again as Jenkins describes his fellow officers:

 

Tweedledum (center) and Tweedledee (right) with Alice  John Tenniel illlustration for Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass, 1871 public domain via Wikimedia.org

Tweedledum (center) and Tweedledee (right) with Alice
Sir John Tenniel, 1871
illlustration for Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass
public domain via Wikimedia.org

“Almost all the officers looked alike to me at that early stage; Maelgwyn-Jones, the Adjutant, and Parry his assistant sitting beside him at the table as indistinguishable as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, …” [VB 13/8] Although these twins were introduced in nursery rhyme at least as early as 1805, their best known image is Tenniel’s illustration for Through the Looking Glass.

 

 

 

The Walrus and the Carpenter Sir John Tenniel, 1871 Illustration for Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland photo in public domain via Wikimedia.org

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Sir John Tenniel, 1871
Illustration for Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland
photo in public domain via Wikimedia.org

“Bithel was wearing the khaki side-cap that had been set on the sponge-bag the night before. … The cap was cut higher than normal (like Saint-Loup’s I thought), which gave Bithel a look like a sprite in pantomime; perhaps rather — taking into account his age, bulk, moustache — some comic puppet halfway between the Walrus and the Carpenter ” [ VB 36-7 /32] (Robert Saint-Loup is a friend of Marcel’s from In Search of Lost Time. We have not yet found an illustration of his cap.)

 

 

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