Music in Wonderland: The White Rabbit’s Proof (Part 3)

[Alice and the White Rabbit discuss the value of literary connections to classical music.  You can catch Part 2 here.]

I was a bit sleepy at this point from the tea, but as the Rabbit kept talking and as I liked to listen, I pinched my arm a few times and managed to stay awake.

Now my dear, do you think the Cow destroys the moon when he jumps over it in the music?[1]

I suppose he might…

But when you place a tablecloth on a table, like this one here, does there cease to be a table?

Why of course not!

 Does the table cease to be necessary?

I should say not! Without the table, the tablecloth would not be a tablecloth anymore, but just a cloth! (In reality, the tablecloth was just a cloth—rather a blanket that depicted a beautiful scene of the Mad Hatter watering his shoes on a Sunday.)

Quite right. Now, does that mean the tablecloth is not necessary if there is not a table?

Well, no. You see (I suggested, hesitantly so as not to offend) it is actually a tapestry and not a tablecloth at all.

Indeed, indeed! (The White Rabbit was getting excited now.) Then is the table not necessary if there is not a tablecloth?

Well, no. The table is still wonderful without a tablecloth. Rather, the tablecloth allows it to become something new and allows it to serve a somewhat different purpose.

Now you’re getting it![2]

 

[1] The White Rabbit asks Alice whether having literary associations with music demeans the value of the music.

[2] Throughout this conversation, the White Rabbit shows Alice that a tablecloth (or tapestry), representing literary fiction, does not demean the music and in fact gives it a different and worthwile value.

 

[Stay tuned for the final part…]

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