This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
"'T was brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe . . . "
No need to remove your glasses or to clean your contact lenses! These lines are written in English, or at least in Lewis Carroll's imaginative English.
Carroll threw caution to the wind in the mid-19th century when he created a new literary language. The text is filled with portmanteau words: words with "two meanings packed into one." For instance, "chortle" is an amalgam of "chuckle" and "snort." Take Caroll's portmanteaus, his otherwordly imagination and his deftness with language and you get "Jabberwocky."
Carroll's classic poem is brought to life through the vivid illustrations of Stéphane Jorisch. His skinny, whimsical depictions carry the reader from line to line as the poem lyrically courses its way through a village and its people, and on to the battle between a young man and a fey, ethereal beast -- the Jabberwock.
Jorisch's innovative imagery explores the effects of war on each generation, and the influence of media and propaganda on the collective psyche. He has created a sobering and provocative post-modern look at the fabled poem.
"And, as in uffish thought he stood, / The Jabberwock, / With eyes of flame, / Came whiffling through / The tulgey wood, / And burbled as it came! . . . "