You can't do a really successful imitation of another person's writing any more than you can copy that person's personal mannerisms. There's a little spark that's uncopy-able.

So I'm puzzled about "Wasp in a Wig". It is a so called suppressed chapter from one of the "Alice" books, discovered in galley proof some years ago. It tells how Alice meets a sad old wasp who sings a song for her. The wasp is unattractive, and dull, the song is average music hall stuff. It's sort of like Carroll, but not really. And because the quality is so much worse than the rest of the book, many people think it's not his work.

However the annotations are in his own hand, and, having once studied handwriting analysis, I sneakily took a magnifying glass and checked some of the tiny little pen marks which we all make and are distinctive and unique to us. The tiny marks in the handwriting are definitely Carroll's. So I think he did write this chapter and it got as far as galleys before he pulled it.

What intrigues me is that it feels and reads like a copy of his work. It entirely lacks charm and life. It is as if it were written by someone copying him. People often say Carroll had two distinct personalities and reading "Wasp in a Wig" makes me think this might indeed be so. Thank goodness his creative side managed to pull the chapter in time.