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Genres of Literature – Literary Nonsense

October 15, 2018
mandyevebarnett


nonsense

Literary nonsense (or nonsense literary) is a category of literature, which balances elements that make sense with some that do not by an excess of meaning, rather than the lack of it. The most well-known form is nonsense verse and is present in many forms of literature. The nonsensical nature of this genre defines its humor, rather than wit or the typical punchline of a joke.  

Certain formal elements of language and logic facilitate the meanings of the piece and are balanced by elements that negate meaning. These formal elements include semantics, syntax, phonetics, context, representation, and formal diction. For a text to be within the genre of literary nonsense, it must have an abundance of nonsense techniques woven into the fabric of the piece. This is created by the use of faulty cause and effect, portmanteau, neologism, reversals and inversions, imprecision (including gibberish), simultaneity, picture/text incongruity, arbitrariness, infinite repetition, negativity or mirroring, and misappropriation. Nonsense tautology, reduplication, and absurd precision.

The genre has been recognized since the nineteenth century derived from two broad artistic sources. Firstly, oral folk tradition, including games, rhymes and songs, such as nursery rhymes. For example, Hey Diddle Diddle and Mother Goose. Secondly, the intellectual absurdities of scholars, court poets and other intellectuals who created sophisticated nonsense forms of religious travesties, political satire and Latin parodies. They are separate from  the pure satire and parody by their exaggerated nonsensical effects.

Today the genre is a combination of both of these methods. A popular writer, Edward Lear used this genre in his limericks. Other nonsense literature examples are The Owl and the Pussycat, The Dong with a Luminous Nose, The Jumblies,  and The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Around the World. Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, can be considered a nonsense novel.

A favorite of mine is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky – it is a quintessential nonsense poem.

Jabberwocky-main

Do you have a favorite nonsense story or poem?

 

The Art of Gibberish…

October 13, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Gibberish – definition: meaningless or unintelligible talk or writing

I bow to a master, Lewis Carroll, who wrote the marvelous poem Jabbawocky. It is part of Alice Through the Looking Glass and is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. It is a playful, whimsical poem including such nonsense words as “galumphing” and “frabjous”. I always wanted to know what a Tumtum tree would look like.

Have you written a nonsense poem?

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

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