The Transconceive Project Blog

Looking Past Gender Roles in Classical Literature

Rhyming Mother Wilma

Now that Patty Pan is out and available, I’ve started working on my next transconceived edition, Alan’s Adventures in Wonderland based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This has been one of my favorite books ever since I was a child, and it continues to amaze and impress me every time I dip into it.

One of the interesting challenges is the amount of intricate word play, and in particular the original poetry. I want to do it justice, but it’s sometimes a little tricky.

For example, I’m working on transconceiving “You are Old Father William” into “You are Old Mother Wilma.” Here’s one of the stanzas I’m converting:

‘You are old,’ said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak 
Pray how did you manage to do it?’
‘In my youth,’ said his father, ‘I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.’

What I came up with was this:

‘You are old,’ said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the gander, with bones and with beak 
Pray how did you manage to do it?’
‘In my youth,’ said her mother, ‘I took to the law,
And argued each case with my man;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my span.’

I think it’s vital that the lines still scan rhythmically, and that the meaning remain true to the original. I’m curious if you think I’m getting the right mood with my changes.