A Sextet of Jabberwocky

Our recent Facebook post of Benedict Cumberbatch reading Lewis Carroll’s classic “Jabberwocky” made me wonder what other fabulous renditions there might be out there. Here are a few I turned up. I will also keep track of how many versions pronounce “borogoves” incorrectly–it is a very common slip to insert and extra “r” to make “borogroves” (Cumberbatch made this mistake).

Neil Gaiman agreed to read something for his fans if they donated money to Worldbuilders, a charity he supports. Those who donated got to vote on what they wanted to hear and Jabberwocky won. Gaiman actually can recite it from memory (although he does fail the borogove test) and the recitation starts around 45 seconds into the video.

Back in 2010, Christopher Lee, who voiced the Jabberwock in the Tim Burton film, read the poem sonorously at a British Library event.

I really enjoy this musical version, composed by Sam Pottle, who is better known for composing the theme song to the Muppet Show.

Lewis Carroll puts in an appearance in the video game Assassins Creed Syndicate, set in 1868 London, but even he can’t pronounce “borogoves” correctly.

This is a demo of a sung version intended for the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland. It didn’t make it into the final movie, although the Cheshire Cat does quote from the poem.  The unfortunate “borogroves” put in an appearance.

Finally, my personal favorite: The Muppet Show. Just wait for the Jabberwock head–it’s worth it.

So those are my six, with a 50% “borogroves” rate. Which is your favorite?

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster at the Rosen-Blog.

One thought on “A Sextet of Jabberwocky

  1. If I have to choose one I'd say the Muppets also. They've clearly done their homework on the text & Tenniel illustrations, but as ever put their own thoughtfully zany stamp on it.

    As for Assassin's Creed, it's no wonder their "Carroll" can't pronounce "borogoves"–he's an impostor. Carroll/Dodgson never wore a beard. Or maybe the beard and mispronunciation are part of a disguise …

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