O Frabjous Day! Neil Gaiman Recites Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” from Memory

When the young Neil Gaiman was learning Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” by heart, he surely had no inkling that years later he’d be called upon to recite it for legions of adoring fans…particularly on the Internet, a phenomenon the budding author may well have imagined, if not technically implemented.

Worldbuilders, a fundraising portal that rewards donors not with tote bags or umbrellas, but rather with celebrity challenges of a non-ice bucket variety, scored big when Gaiman agreed to participate.

Earlier this year, a rumpled looking Gaiman read Dr. Seuss’s “rather wonderful” Green Eggs and Ham into his webcam.

This month, with donations to Heifer International exceeding $600,000, he found himself on the hook to read another piece of the donors’ choosing. Carroll’s nonsensical poem won out over Goodnight Moon, Fox in Socks, and Where the Wild Things Are

Like fellow author, Lynda Barry, Gaiman is not one to underestimate the value of memorization.

The videography may be casual, but his off-book performance in an undisclosed tulgey wood is the stuff of high drama.



Is that a memory lapse at the one minute mark? Another interpreter might have called for a retake, but Gaiman rides out a four second pause cooly, his eyes the only indicator that something may be amiss. Perhaps he’s just taking precautions, listening for telltale whiffling and burbling.

If you’re on the prowl to make some year end charitable donations, recreational mathemusician Vi Hart and author John Green are among those Worldbuilders has in the pipeline to perform stunts for successfully funded campaigns.

Jabberwocky is a poem that appears in Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, the 1871 sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). You can find both in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Related Content:

Neil Gaiman Reads The Graveyard Book, His Award-Winning Kids Fantasy Novel, Chapter by Chapter

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Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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