Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner: fiction/essay on titles of works

(Lightwood editor’s note): In chapter 8 of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice is visited by The Knight and the following ensues:

“You look sad,” the Knight said in an anxious tone: “let me sing you a song to comfort you.”
“Is it very long?” Alice asked, for she had heard a good deal of poetry that day.
“It’s long,” said the Knight, but it’s very, very beautiful…The name of the song is called, ‘Haddock’s Eyes.’”
“Oh, that’s’ the name of the song, is it?” Alice said, trying to feel interested.
“No, you don’t understand,” the Knight said, looking a little vexed. “That’s what the name is called. The name really is ‘The Aged Aged Man.’”
“Then I ought to have said, ‘That’s what the song is called?’” Alice corrected herself.
“No, you oughtn’t: that’s quite another thing” The song is called ‘Ways and Means’: but that’s only what it’s called, you know!”
“Well, what is the song, then?” said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.
“I was coming to that,” the Knight said. “The song really is “A-sitting on a Gate’: and the tune’s my own invention.”

(Editor’s note): I continue here with the footnote by Martin Gardner from his The Annotated Alice:

“To a student of logic and semantics all this is perfectly sensible. The song is “A-sitting on a Gate”: it is called “Ways and Means”: the name of the song is The Aged Aged Man”: and the name is called “Haddock’s Eyes.” Carroll is distinguishing here among things, the names of things, and the names of names of things. “Haddock’s Eyes,” the name of the name, belongs to what logicians now call a “metalanguage.”

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