Friday, July 16, 2021

The last phantom in Charles Dickens's "The Chimes" as an anticipation of Lewis Carroll's "Cheshire cat"

In my reading of Charles Dickens, I keep finding passages that echo later works by other writers (I've already written about other such anachronistic moments). In "The Chimes" (1844), Trotty Veck's vision in the church tower of "dwarf phantoms, spirits, [and] elfin creatures of the Bells" ends when the chimes suddenly stop; the last one to disappear anticipates Lewis Carroll's "Cheshire cat" in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865): "[H]e twirled and twirled, and floated by himself a long time; showing such perseverance, that at last he dwindled to a leg and even to a foot, before he finally retired; but he vanished in the end, and then the tower was silent." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 July 2021)
Richard Doyle, 1844 illustration for "The Chimes"

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