Q is for the Queen of Hearts

Q

Okay, today’s installment is a stretch, but bear with me. While there isn’t a rhyming picture book devoted to this character, her genesis is firmly rooted in rhyme.

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According to Wikipedia, “The Queen of Hearts” poem was penned by an anonymous author and first appeared in 1782 in a magazine for adults along with three lesser-known stanzas. The queen’s stanzas proved popular while the other stanzas (“The King of Spades”, “The King of Clubs”, and “The Diamond King”) fell into obscurity.

The poem eventually became known as a nursery rhyme and was set to music by 1785. An excerpt:

The Queen of Hearts

She made some tarts,

All on a summers day;

The Knave of Hearts

He stole those tarts,

And took them clean away.

Lewis Carole adapted the Queen of Hearts for his book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and used the poem as evidence in the trial against the Knave of Hearts. That, along with Disney’s animated take on Carole’s work, ultimately planted the Queen of Hearts firmly into contemporary pop culture. Though far less a victim of pastry theft these days than tyrannical villain.

From Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951).

From Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951).

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