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Helquist's and Snicket's All-Seeing Eyes: Panopticism and the Archive in A Series of Unfortunate Events

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Helquist's and Snicket's All-Seeing Eyes: Panopticism and the Archive in A Series of Unfortunate Events
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2008

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Archives ( jstor )
Autobiographies ( jstor )
Biography ( jstor )
Carnivals ( jstor )
Eyes ( jstor )
Grottos ( jstor )
Hospitals ( jstor )
Novels ( jstor )
Self portraiture ( jstor )
Surveillance ( jstor )

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University of Florida
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HELQUIST'S AND SNICKET'S ALL-SEEING EYES: PANOPTICISM AND THE
ARCHIVE IN A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS















By

LAUREN TURNER


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006


































Copyright 2006

by

Lauren Turner















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This thesis could not have been completed without the help and support of many

people. Anything of note within it is the result of the patience and guidance of my

advisor, Eric Segal. My readers, Alex Alberro and Donald Ault, were also crucial in

establishing it as a solid work. I would also like to thank Melissa Hyde and Kenneth

Kidd for serving as intellectual inspirations and role models. My peers Natalie Haddad,

Leslie Anderson, Jason Frederick, Jaime Baird and Nicholas Frech each took on the

particularly onerous task of walking me through the thesis year. Robyn Reese, my

partner in existential crises, deserves special mention. Of course, none of my graduate

experience would have been possible without the love and support of all my family and

friends, especially my mother, father, Meredith, and Cara.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii

LIST OF FIGU RE S ...................... ...... ...................... ........... .........v

A B STR A C T ................................................................................ ..................... viii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ......................................................................... .... .. ........

2 RIO T IN TH E PAN OPTICON ............................................................ ............... 5

3 IN V ISIB L E M E N .................................................................. ............. .... 27

The A uthor V ersus the Illustrator...................................................... .... ........... 27
L acan s Sardine C an ................................................................ ........ ......... 37
E x C orporem E x L ibris....................................................................... ...................43

4 L O ST IN TH E A R C H IV E ................................................................. ....................75

APPENDIX A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS INSTALLMENTS IN
ORDER OF PUBLICATION DATES ................................................................106

B IB L IO G R A P H Y ............. ................................................................ ......... 107

BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH .............. ............................ ................... ............... 115
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure p

2-1 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.27............................................. 20

2-2 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.41.............................. ............... 21

2-3 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.133.................... ........................... 22

2-4 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, p.33 ....................................23

2-5 The Carnivorous Carnival, chapter illustration, pp.101 and 103 ........................24

2-6 The ./l ypey Slope, chapter illustration, p.205 .............. ..... .................25

2-7 The Penultimate Peril, cover illustration.............................. ............ 26

3-1 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, pp.16 and 17 ......................49

3-2 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, p.29 ....................................50

3-3 The Bad Beginning, biography page.............................. ...............51

3-4 The Reptile Room, biography page ..............................................52

3-5 The Wide Window, biography page ............................................ ............... 53

3-6 The Miserable Mill, biography page.................... .................... ...............54

3-7 The Austere Academy, biography page.............................. ................55

3-8 The Ersatz Elevator, biography page ....................................... ...............56

3-9 The Vile Village, biography page.................................... ......................... 57

3-10 The Hostile Hospital, biography page ....................................... ............... 58

3-11 The Carnivorous Carnival, biography page .................................. ............... 59

3-12 The .\1lipye Slope, biography page................... ............................................ 60

3-13 The Grim Grotto, biography page.................................... ........................ 61









3-14 The Penultimate Peril, biography page ...................................... ............... 62

3-15 The Grim Grotto, full page illustration, p.137 .................................................63

3-16 The Wide Window, chapter illustration, p.95 ............................... ............... .64

3-17 The Austere Academy, chapter illustration, p.83.................................... .............65

3-18 The .lippe' y Slope, chapter illustration, p.103 ........ ...................................... 66

3-19 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.125..........................................67

3-20 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.41...............................................68

3-21 The Bad Beginning, front endsheet .......................... ..... ................................69

3-22 The Reptile Room, front endsheet........................... ................... ............. 69

3-23 The Wide Window, front endsheet ........................................ ...... ............... 70

3-24 The Miserable Mill, front endsheet...................................... ............... 70

3-25 The Austere Academy, front endsheet..................... ......................... 71

3-26 The Ersatz Elevator, front endsheet.......................... ............. ............. 71

3-27 The Vile Village, front endsheet....................................... .......................... 72

3-28 The Hostile Hospital, front endsheet ........................................ ............... 72

3-29 The Carnivorous Carnival, front endsheet .................................... .................73

3-30 The lippypp, Slope, front endsheet....... ........ ..........................................73

3-31 The Grim Grotto, front endsheet....................................... ......................... 74

3-32 The Penultimate Peril, front endsheet ....................................... ............... 74

4-1 The Miserable Mill, chapter illustration, p.45....................... ...............93

4-2 The M miserable M ill, full page illustration, p.125 ................................................ 94

4-3 The Hostile Hospital, chapter illustration, p.21 ............................................. 95

4-4 The Vile Village, chapter illustration, 69 .................................... ............... 96

4-5 The Vile Village, chapter illustration, 135 .................................. ............... ..97

4-6 The Vile Village, frontispiece.......................................... ........................... 98









4-7 The Vile Village, full page illustration, 257 .................... ......................... 99

4-8 The Grim Grotto, full page illustration, 325................................... ............... 100

4-9 The Wide Window, chapter illustration, pp.54 and 55 ......................................101

4-10 The Grim Grotto, chapter illustration, pp.62 and 63.........................................102

4-11 The Austere Academy, full page illustration, p.223 .................. ............... 103

4-12 The Carnivorous Carnival, frontispiece ................................. ....................104

4-13 The Bad Beginning, cover illustration ...................................... ............... 105















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

HELQUIST'S AND SNICKET'S ALL-SEEING EYES: PANOPTICISM AND THE
ARCHIVE IN A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

By

Lauren Turner

May 2006

Chair: Eric Segal
Major Department: Art and Art History

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a juvenile fiction series-currently second only to

the Harry Potter series in sales-that chronicles the lives of three orphans as they move

from one guardian to another. The twelve published novels of the planned thirteen

installments each include eighteen to twenty images by illustrator Brett Helquist. This

thesis examines the interactions between the images by Helquist and the text by Lemony

Snicket, the nom de plume of author Daniel Handler. Beginning with a consideration

of the eye iconography established in Helquist's and Handler's collaboration, the images

and texts are read against Michel Foucault's reading of the Panopticon from his 1975

Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, a key text in theorizing surveillance

issues. The Snicket novels are seen to challenge some of panopticism's basic tenets,

proposing alternative ways of conceiving surveillance in relation to the physical body and

the archival tactics needed for managing data. The combined effect offers its readers a

mode through which institutional power may be weakened and destroyed.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

A diabolical, fortune-seeking count, a secret society, and an all-important sugar

bowl: these are the elements that belong in (at worst) an historical thriller or (at best) a

parody of a Merchant-Ivory film. Instead, these items are all contained in juvenile

fiction's most complex new series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

This series chronicles the lives of three orphans in a pseudo-Victorian, pre-digital setting.

While much attention in the realm of contemporary juvenile fiction has been given-and

is increasingly being given-by journalists and academics to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter

series, less consideration has been allocated to the literature produced in the boy wizard's

wake.1 Rowling's efforts have produced both imitative novels and works written in

reaction to the stronghold of her Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I propose that A Series of Unfortunate Events comes to terms with Harry Potter's

success by incorporating some of its predecessor's more attractive elements while

simultaneously establishing it as the rebellious sibling. I do not wish to construct this

thesis as a critical interpretation of A Series of Unfortunate Events through Harry Potter,

nor do I intend to mention the Harry Potter novels past this introduction. I do, however,

believe that it is important to make a brief note of it to fully comprehend the phenomenon

that is Snicket's world. A Series of Unfortunate Events is, like the Harry Potter novels, a


1 This oversight needs to be corrected, especially in light of claims by scholars like Jack Zipes that Harry
Potter leaves young readers with "functional literacy," and a yearning only for books similar to the Harry
Potter series. Jack Zipes, Sticks and Stones: the Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from
Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter (New York: Routledge, 2001), 188.









best-selling series that could be criticized as merely a textual franchise, an exercise in

consumerism labeled as literacy. Each new novel is heralded by pre-ordering campaigns,

and they have been the source of a movie adaptation and merchandising tie-ins.2 Like

books marketed to explain the mythological allusions in the Harry Potter novels, So You

Think You Know Lemony Snicket and The Truth Behind A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Eyeballs, Leeches, and Hypnotism Exploring Lemony Snicket's World have emerged to

test and catalog the extensive canonical literary references in A Series of Unfortunate

Events.3 Unlike Harry Potter, though, Snicket's series presents its allusions less as code-

breaking exercises than as markers of its own literary pretensions and status. A Series of

Unfortunate Events finds its protagonists with little control over their own lives and the

puppets of a cruel fate, a far cry from the savior-savant status of Harry Potter that enables

his many miraculous escapes within his own world. Put simplistically, A Series of

Unfortunate Events is the Dostoevsky to Harry Potter's Dickens. Both may be enjoyed

by the same pool of readers, but not as an effort to replicate exactly the reading

experience of one another. Snicket's works maintain their appeal and evade accusations

of off-putting highbrow sensibilities with his liberal use of silly and even ludicrous

aspects in his darkened, contemplative world.

While much is deserving of research in A Series of Unfortunate Events, this paper

hopes to bring to light and examine the exemplary fashion in which it utilizes the

2 For the film, see Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, dir. Brad Silberling, 1 hr. 48 min.,
Paramount Pictures, 2004. Books that accompanied the film and the series include Lemony Snicket's A
Series of Unfortunate Events: Behind the Scenes with Count O/,,j iNc\\ York: HarperCollins, 2004), and
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Puzzling Puzzles: Bothersome Games Which Will
Bother Some People (New York: HarperCollins, 2004).

3 Clive Gifford, So You Think You Know Lemony Snicket? (London: Hodder Children's Press, 2004). Lois
H Gresh, The Truth Behind a Series of Unfortunate Events: Eyeballs, Leeches, Hypnotism, and Orphans
Exploring Lemony Snicket's World (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2004).









repeated collaborative efforts of its author and illustrator. Although the American

editions of Harry Potter also offer a continuous matching of J.K. Rowling and illustrator

Mary GrandPre, their interactions of text and image lack the ambitious undertakings

found within A Series of Unfortunate Events.4 Brett Helquist uses his illustrations for

Daniel Handler, the pseudonymous Lemony Snicket, to heighten and enrich continued

themes of surveillance culture and archival techniques found embedded within the

novels. Helquist's and Handler's work is a rarity of illustrative collaborative efforts.

Traditionally, art historical concerns do not tend to acknowledge illustration as an area

worthy of extended study, especially the illustrations found in juvenile fiction. To

research a particularly accomplished illustrator within the genre is task enough, but

pairing him or her with an author over extended efforts is especially trying. Lewis

Carroll and John Tenniel worked in concert for both Alice 's Adventures in Wonderland

and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, but no further Alice books followed, and their

partnership ended there.5 L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow made it through a single

Oz installment, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, before parting ways.6 Roald Dahl's texts

are often matched with works by Quentin Blake, but none of them could qualify as a true

series. Maurice Sendak's and Dr. Seuss's illustrations receive considerable notice, but

the fame of each is the result of picture books which they authored themselves. Brett

Helquist and Daniel Handler have not simply paired up for repeated installments in an ad



4 For very limited information on GrandPre, see Deepti Hajela, "Artist makes Harry Grow," The News and
Observer, 9 March 2005, sec. E.

5 For more on Carroll's and Tenniel's correspondences, see Martin Gardner, "Notes," The AnnotatedAlice:
The Definitive Edition (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000).

6 For more on Baum and Denslow, see Michael Patrick Hearn, "Introduction," The Annotated Wizard of
Oz: Centennial Edition (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000).









hoc sequence of works utilizing the same protagonists. Instead, they have worked

together for thirteen books, a collection conceptualized from the start as a continuing

series.

Because, in their collaborations, Brett Helquist illustrates Handler's works after the

completion of the texts, it is tempting to attribute to Handler the lion's share of the

series's success and intellectual daring. In the following paper, I hope to present Helquist

not only as an illustrator whose images are worthy of particular attention, but also as a

crucial force in presenting the theoretical discussions at work within the series. I

examine his and Handler's inclusion of the organ of the eye within their iconography as

an engagement with and, ultimately, a rejection of some of the basic tenets in Foucault's

panopticism. I then consider the illustrative methods through which they negate the

permanence and indexicality of the physical body. By demonstrating its malleability and

the inability to rely on documentary processes to record the body, they separate it from its

role of identifying personality. I conclude by locating an anxiety about the institutional

archive, an unavoidable concern in the face of the premium that Helquist and Handler

place on subjective knowledge, understanding, and presentation. Therefore, I examine

some alternatives to the institutional archive that the books present, but they are tentative

solutions also fraught with complications.















CHAPTER 2
RIOT IN THE PANOPTICON

The Series of Unfortunate Events is an intended series of thirteen books for juvenile

to young adult readers.1 The first novel within the series, The Bad Beginning, makes it

clear that the series was conceived as a type of ongoing project with its first edition's

subtitle, Book the First.2 One may assume that the series will conclude with the

thirteenth book, as the most recently released twelfth novel is entitled The Penultimate

Peril.3 In addition to these eventual thirteen novels, there has been a supplementary text,

Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography.4 This study will focus primarily on

the actual book series entries with an additional examination of Lemony Snicket: the

Unauthorized Autobiography, but it should be noted that the film and merchandising tie-

ins are all noteworthy in that they maintain the idiosyncratic, postmodern ironic tone of

the series. The twelve novels available thus far have been released over a period of six

years, from 1999 to 2005. Many of them have reached best-seller status, spawning pre-

ordering campaigns, special bookstore displays, and fan websites. In fact, with 46



1 However, its success, and the very fact that this thesis is being written about it, could easily suggest that
many adults are reading the books also. Nonetheless, it is published by the children's imprint of
HarperCollins.

2 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). If the subtitle is not convincing
enough, it may help to know that Daniel Handler reported that he "wrote down the first chapter of The Bad
Beginning and summaries of the first three books and she [his editor] went into HarperCollins and I
received a contract to write four books." Anne Marie Tobin, "Series of Unfathomable Triumphs; With 46
Million Sold, Lemony Snicket Books Leave Principal Conspirers Giggling," The Record, 28 October 2005,
sec. D.

3 Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005).

4 Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002).









million copies sold and distribution to over forty countries, they have been heralded as a

"phenomenon within children's literature."

The series is presented as reports on the welfare of three orphaned siblings: Violet,

Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. The narrator of the texts is also the alleged author,

Lemony Snicket. The true author of the texts is Daniel Handler, a man that can only be

identified as Snicket's "representative" on HarperCollins's website and through later

newspaper stories and books written when the series attained widespread fame.6 As such,

Lemony Snicket is presented not merely as a pseudonym, but as a pseudopersona, a

concept which will be considered at length later in this study.

Snicket claims he is investigating the whereabouts and fates of the Baudelaire

children whose parents perished in an unexplained fire. The mysterious Count Olafis

assigned guardianship of the Baudelaires, but they are removed from his care when it

becomes known that he only seeks access to their inherited fortune. He and his

henchpeople continue to darken the Baudelaires' doors in various disguises as they are

shunted from one ineffectual, incompetent guardian to another, none of whom they recall

their parents ever actually knowing. As the series progresses, the Baudelaires begin to

suspect that the fire that killed their parents and destroyed their home was a case of arson,

especially as they continue to encounter other victims of such acts. Their confusion

increases when they learn of the existence of a secret organization known as the V.F.D.

which they discover stands for "Volunteer Fire Department." In the midst of their


5 For figures, see Tobin's article. "Phenomenon in children's literature" is found in Fiona Looney, "Profile:
Snicket's Tell-Tale Heart Exposed," The Sunday Tribune, 26 December 2004, 14.
6 There are countless news articles that can be referenced here. For the full selection, see the Bibliography.
The website may be found atA Series of Unfortunate Events,
(7 March 2006).









uprooted lives and woe-filled existence, they attempt to understand the V.F.D.'s

connection to these many fires and Count Olafs role in relation to the crimes. Their

investigation is complicated when they learn of their parents' past membership in the

V.F.D. and the organization's great schism. Throughout the series, Snicket interjects

allusions to his sorrowful history that includes his personal involvement in the V.F.D., a

deceased love, and the deterioration of his own family so that the reader perceives that

this figure has a vested interest in the Baudelaire's fate. By the twelfth novel, the

Baudelaires are juggling the tasks of escaping from Count Olaf s evil plans, proving his

guilt, finding a home, joining a faction of the V.F.D., and understanding their family

heritage and history.

It is Snicket's voice that is especially unique. Alternately confiding and didactic, it

plays upon its protagonists' unparalleled suffering. The tongue-in-cheek lightheartedness

that Snicket sometimes displays, serves to simultaneously parody such a style. On The

BadBeginning's back cover, the reader finds a letter from Snicket that reads:

Dear Reader:

I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely
unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even
though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with
misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the
beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster
lurks at their heels. One might say that they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive
villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold
porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping
you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you
prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,









Lemony Snicket

While Snicket lends a certain degree of ridiculousness to his tale in likening itchy clothes

and cold porridge to be on the same level of tragedy as a "disastrous fire," he nonetheless

honestly outlines the expectations of the story. Throughout these twelve novels, the

Baudelaires have yet to find safety and security within the adult world. In explaining that

the young reader who prefers happy tales should pursue another novel, Snicket implies

that one who reads these books prefers tales of misery, woe, and unpleasantness. It is a

sort of challenge to the young reader: she who consumes the text can claim an

unflinching ability and maturity to handle sad stories, or at least stories in which her peers

are struggling against adult law. Alternatively, she is calling Snicket's bluff, adhering to

the narrative to see if Snicket eventually breaks his promise and delivers happiness.

In The Bad Beginning, the reader is introduced to Count Olaf and his accoutrement

of the eye. Olaf has an eye tattooed on his left ankle, and his home contains decorations

which include the eye. Brett Helquist's illustrations follow this lead and bring attention

to the eyes in a variety of guises, be it the extreme focus on Olaf s own eyes, the lack of

eyes in a deceased fish, or the synecdoche of Olaf using just his tattooed ankle, to name a

few (Figures 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3, respectively).7 Of the two hundred eighteen illustrations

created thus far for the series, there are at least twenty-six illustrations that contain this

peculiar eye disembodied, alone, and in human form. At least an additional eighteen

show the eye in extreme close-ups or include objects unnaturally anthropomorphized

with eyes. These selections make for forty-two illustrations, over twenty percent of the




SFigure 2-1 may be found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 27. Figure 2-2 may be found on Snicket, The
Bad Beginning, 41. Figure 2-3 may be found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 133.









entire series's selection. These numbers also do not include illustrations that draw

attention to the eye by blocking it from view using eye patches, masks, or helmets.

While the rapid developments of technology of the past century may enable

societies in reaching new levels of surveillance, a respect for the power behind vision-

the basic practice and concept of surveillance-is age old. The evil eye and its enduring

hold in European folkloric habits should be proof enough of a long regard for the

aggressive power of the organ of vision.8 Vision, or the lack thereof, is also used as a

powerful impetus in literary narrative traditions. The ancient Greek myth of Oedipus

finds its hero blinding himself in his moment of absolute helplessness and desperation. It

takes a temporary curse of blindness to transform the persecuting Saul into the preaching

Paul in the Christian tradition. Of course, these two examples involve only episodic

mentions of the eye's potency; they do not address the effects inherent in a sustained

campaign of watching. Even the evil eye offers a consideration of only a malignant

glance.

Art and literature are not without their references to the omnipresent gaze, however.

Major literary works of the past century use the eye as a touchstone for moral judgment,

irresponsible power, and inescapable enemies. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

(1925) has its characters' actions monitored and, in sharing the role of the reader, judged

by the eyes of the billboard advertisement for optometrist Doctor T.J. Eckleburg.

Winston Smith of George Orwell's 1984 (1949) finds little opportunity for escape from

the visage of Big Brother, the public relations poster boy emblematic of the technology

that actually can track Winston's actions. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy

8 For general information on the evil eye in folklore studies, see Amica Lykiardopolous, "The Evil Eye:
Towards an Exhaustive Study," Folklore 92, no.2 (1981): 221-230.









(1954-55) offers a spin on Winston's persecutor in its figure of Sauron, the primary

antagonistic force that is often described in his present form as only an eye that was,

"rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, ... the

black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing."9

These literary examples linking the eye and surveillance are important to mention

in light of the fact that they precede Michel Foucault's hypothesis of surveillance and its

effects on society in his 1975 study Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison.10 In

examining the Enlightenment and Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, a plan for a modern

prison, Foucault understands the effectiveness of surveillance to lie in an uncertainty in

its operation. The Panopticon was a prison that was to be constructed with its cells facing

a central tower. The central tower's windows were to be set at angles so that the

prisoners would be unable to determine if they themselves were under scrutiny at any

point in time. This plan would eliminate the need for the chains and dark dungeons of the

past which attempted to translate power into physically repressive measures." If there is

always a possibility that one is the subject of a gaze, then one will modify his behavior

accordingly. Foucault writes:

He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes
responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play simultaneously
upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously
plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. By this very fact,
the external power may throw off its physical weight; it tends to the non-corporeal;
and, the more it approaches this limit, the more constant, profound, and permanent



9J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994), 355.

10 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York:
Vintage Books, 1995).

" Foucault, 200.









are its effects: it is a perpetual victory that avoids any physical confrontation and
which is always decided upon in advance.12

This thesis does not possess the breadth needed to do justice fully to the nuances of

Foucault's argument, nor does it necessarily endorse them all. It does need to be

mentioned, though, that in considering the gaze as an uncertain or invisible presence,

Foucault removes the potency of the physical organ of the eye in the surveillance

discussion. It could be argued that, because Helquist uses the eye to give surveillance a

physical presence and serve as its constant reminder in illustrative form, this

iconographical campaign fails to meet Foucault's model on its basic argument of

invisibility. I do not wish to confuse or equate the eye with the gaze. However, I do

believe that the continued illustrative inclusion of the eye serves as a symbolic reminder

of the surveillance cameras, permanent school records, and Internet cookies that the

young readers of the series encounter on a daily basis. While Foucault might object to an

acknowledgment of the presence of this form of disciplinary power, I do not know that he

would scoff at its use symbolically in illustrated literature. Of course, this argument is a

double-edged sword; the illustrations are depicting the world of the Baudelaires, which

would suggest that, on the level of the narrative, some of them are not functioning

symbolically; they are physically present in that world. However, the fear that they first

inspire in the Baudelaires, and the eye's initial ties to Count Olaf, the embodiment of

power and discipline in their lives in the first few books, smacks so much of Foucault's

theories that I believe they are meant, in the beginning, to suggest his surveillance

society.


12 Foucault, 202-203.









Where the novels begin to stray from Foucault's model actually occurs with the

introduction of various institutions that the Baudelaires encounter. At the heart of

Foucault's theory is the idea that the invisible mechanisms of power function so

efficiently because they flow together from institution to institution. For example,

immunization records may be required for schools, academic records may be required for

employment, and wage documentation is required for taxation. Foucault explains that

On the whole, therefore, one can speak of the formation of a disciplinary society in
this movement that stretches from the enclosed disciplines, a sort of social
'quarantine', to an indefinitely generalizable mechanism of 'panopticism'. Not
because the disciplinary modality of power has replaced all the others, but because
it has infiltrated the others, sometimes undermining them, but serving as an
intermediary between them, linking them together, extending them, and above all
making it possible to bring the effects of power to the most minute and
infinitesimal distribution of the power relations.13

Foucault uses this observation to end on the note, "Is it surprising that prisons resemble

factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?"14 The Baudelaires do

encounter a variety of institutions: school, a lumber mill, a hospital, a scout troop, to

name a few. However, each institution they enter is penetrated by some force of the

V.F.D. The V.F.D., in its infiltration of an array of institutions, serves as an embodiment

of panopticism and disciplinary society. It observes individuals across institutional

boundaries, it gathers and organizes data, and it attempts to impose its codes of conduct

within society. Despite its symbolic potential, though, one cannot ignore that the V.F.D.

has a physical presence in the world of the books. It is a secret society combined with a

volunteer fire department. Nonetheless, at the moment in the tenth book that the V.F.D.


13 Foucault, 216.
14 Foucault, 228.









is revealed to the Baudelaires as a volunteer fire department, the imparter of this

information admits that it still "seems to stand for many things."15

While the V.F.D. rules the Baudelaires' world as the net holding together the

factories, schools, barracks, and hospitals, its function as a secret society does impart to it

some potential to continue to function as Foucault's invisible net of disciplinary relations.

In the combination of a somewhat secret organization with the image of an eye, one must

consider the obvious parallel that this melding has to Freemasonry. Freemasonry is,

according to Clement M. Silvestro, Carol E. Gordon, and Barbara Franco in The Masonic

Tradition in the Decorative Arts:

An oath bound fraternal and benevolent association of men whose purpose is to
nurture sound moral and social virtues among its members and all of mankind.
Freemasons use the simple tools of the ancient stonemasons the square and
compass, trowel and plumb, among others as symbols in their teachings.
Morality plays, rich in allegory and symbolism, form an important part of their
ritual. Belief in a Supreme Being, the Brotherhood of Man, and compassion
towards others are primary requisites for admission to the Craft.16

Freemasonry can sometimes be tempting to dismiss. Its ties to ritual, its uncertain

practices, and even its connections to spiritualism can appear to remove it from the realm

of sound argumentation.17 However, its influence within history, especially in the

development of the United States, is without question, and the V.F.D. brings to mind

aspects of generalized knowledge of it. Freemasonry provides a link between the

historical world and the books' fictional V.F.D. in its veiled practices, its secret


15 Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 166.

16 Clement M. Silvestro, Carol E. Gordon, and Barbara Franco, The Masonic Tradition in the Decorative
Arts, (Utica, New York: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1980), 5.

1 For more on its ties to spiritualism particularly, see C.W. Leadbeater, Freemasonry and Its Ancient
Mystic Rites (New York: Gramercy Books, 1998). For general information on Freemasonry in American
history, see Silvestro, Gordon, and Franco.









membership, its symbolic appropriation of the eye, and its pervasive presence. I am not

suggesting that Handler and Helquist are making Freemasonry a direct referent of the

V.F.D. or using this series as commentary on its "Great Architect." I am simply

suggesting that this fraternal order makes an effective parallel to the V.F.D., not because

the V.F.D. has in its literary realm any dogmatic agenda, but because Freemasonry and

the V.F.D. share iconography and influence in a variety of institutions. The Freemasons

possessed the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye, and this symbol continues to function as a

reminder of the power they once held in its appearance on the American dollar bill and

the United States Great Seal.18 In fact, "Masonic ties and patriotism were so closely

entwined in the period following the Revolution that they virtually merge in popular

usage."19 Decoding the eye within A Series of Unfortunate Events will not offer new

clarity towards the Masonic All-Seeing Eye. Like the preponderance of allusions within

the novels, though, the eye within the series allows for a blurring between internal and

external histories. The mystique of Freemasonry, coupled with its incredible influence on

multiple social planes during the Enlightenment, illuminates an argument for seriously

attributing great potential power to a fictitious volunteer fire department. Because the

Panopticon, the model from which Foucault begins building his argument, is an

Enlightenment idea, it is noteworthy to connect it to other Enlightenment forces that

helped to build nation-states. I do not wish to belabor the potential similarity of the

V.F.D. to Freemasonry, but acknowledgement is necessary that there may be actual





18 For explanation concerning the All-Seeing Eye, see Silvestro, Gordon, and Franco, 22.

19 Silvestro, Gordon, and Franco, 16.









precedents of alleged institutions which function, whether intentionally or not, as a type

of invisible disciplinary net.

It is crucial to establish the V.F.D. as the central institution within the series

because of its association with the eye. While in the first half of the series, the two only

seem suppositionally paired. However, the ninth book, The Carnivorous Carnival,

reveals that the eye may also be used as an insignia, an insignia that is shown throughout

the supplementary book Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography that was

published in the same year (Fig. 2-4).20 Snicket relates in The Carnivorous Carnival:

At first glance, the painting on the fortune-teller's tent seemed to depict an eye, like
the decoration on Madame Lulu's caravan and the tattoo on Count Olaf s ankle.
The three children had seen similar eyes wherever they went, from a building in the
shape of an eye when they were working in the lumbermill, to an eye on Esme
Squalor's purse when they were hiding in a hospital, to a huge swarm of eyes that
surrounded them in their most frightening nightmares, and although the siblings
never quite knew what these eyes meant, they were so weary of gazing at them that
they would never pause to look at one again. But there are many things in life that
become different if you take a long look at them, and as the children paused in front
of the fortune-telling tent, the painting seemed to change before their very eyes,
until it did not seem like a painting at all, but an insignia.

An insignia is sort of a mark that usually stands for an organization or a business,
and the mark can be of any sort whatsoever. Sometimes an insignia can be a
simple shape, such as a wavy line to indicate an organization concerned with rivers
or oceans, or a square to indicate an organization concerned with geometry or sugar
cubes. Sometimes an insignia can be a small picture of something, such as a torch,
to indicate an organization that is flammable, or the three-eyed girl outside the
House of Freaks, indicating that people who were unusual in some way were on
display inside. And sometimes an insignia can be part of the name of the
organization, such as the first few letters, or its initials....

It [the painting on the tent] was not an image of an eye, as it appeared at first
glance, but an insignia, standing for an organization the children knew only as
V.F.D.21


20 Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins, 2002). Figure 2-4, just one
example of the insignia, may be found on Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography (New York:
HarperCollins, 2002), 33.


21 Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival, 119-121.









Preceding this excerpt is the beginning illustration of the chapter depicting the tent itself.

Instead of assuming the form of the organ, the eye is now shown as a graphic that spells

out V.F.D. The eye cum insignia is rendered so as to be easily disguised within the folds

of the tent, an important visual concession on Helquist's part since he must re-image

some of the eyes that had previously appeared when he repeats them in his later

illustrations (Figure 2-5).22 For instance, the eye becomes the insignia in later renderings

of its appearance on Count Olaf's ankle (Figure 2-6).23 While this elision does not negate

the surveying power of the eye, it does make plain that the surveying is a specific tactic

of the V.F.D.

Singling out a single institution is not the only method through which A Series of

Unfortunate Events differs from Foucault's panopticisim and the disciplinary regime for

which it stands. The key difference that it demonstrates is the reaction that the

Baudelaires hold towards the eye in the series's second half. At a point, they realize they

must take their lives into their own hands and break rules to pursue justice. They set out

on their own, and they make decisions according to their consciences and not societal

laws. They become pursuers; they become watchers; they even become arsonists

themselves on one occasion. They stake their claim on the Panopticon, as part of its

effectiveness is the ability of anyone to partake in its disciplinary potential. However,

they are no longer internalizing its mechanisms. They are not binding their decisions to a

fear of societal retribution. Granted, their decisions leave them outcasts in the world of

the books. They are framed for murder and pursued by the police. Their lives lack any


22 Figure 2-5 may be found on Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival, 101 and 103.

23 Figure 2-6 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 205.









form of stability. On the level of the reader, though, they are heroes. The books, in

placing the Baudelaires against the nefarious Count Olaf, naturally position them as

sympathetic characters. And if enough of the readers can accept the Baudelaires'

rejection of panopticism and the sacrifices involved therein, then it is possible that the

seeds of a revolution will be sown, or, at the very least, a heightened awareness and

wariness of surveillance society.

Because the novels revolve around a time when the V.F.D. is almost destroyed by

internal feuding between those who start fires and those who put them out, the

Baudelaires realize instead that they must gain the upper hand not by rejecting

surveillance entirely, just by rejecting panopticism. Although they no longer internalize

the expectations of the eyes watching them, they must go on a campaign of watching for

themselves, for purposes that will be outlined in the later "Lost in the Archive" chapter.

Nowhere is their need made more clear than in Helquist's cover illustration for The

Penultimate Peril (Fig. 2-7).24

The cover illustration is framed like all of his full-page illustrations. The frame is

rectangular with a rounded arched top. Like all the covers, but unlike his full-page

illustrations inside the book, the upper left and right corners show circles in which the

Baudelaire children and a burning house are pictured, respectively. The frame's borders

are filled with red and orange flames and thorny, curving lines. Two banners announce

that the book is part of A Series of Unfortunate Events and that this installment is Book

the Tii elfih by Lemony Snicket. The effect makes for an entranceway into the world of

the illustration-an invitation to join the narrative, but, as the flames and thorns would

24 Figure 2-7 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005),
cover.









suggest, not too inviting a greeting. The red and orange of the frame is echoed in the

orange of the spine and in the Baudelaires' uniforms in the illustration. While the frame

may serve to distinguish the illustration as part of a separate plane, the consistency of

coloring maintains an integrated effect between the cover image and the book itself.

In the image, the Baudelaires stand waiting at a hotel concierge desk surrounded by

eleven suspicious-looking passers-by. The people depicted, Baudelaires included, typify

Helquist's caricaturing approach to the human form. To accentuate the children's chubby

cheeks, their mouths and chins are almost non-existent. If a stranger, such as the one in

the lower left foreground, has a square chin, then Helquist depicts it so square as to seem

physically impossible. The Baudelaires dominate the image in terms of color. Their

exactly matching uniforms allow for their dynamic red and orange to be repeated three

times, whereas the surrounding guests are decked primarily in mute blues, browns, and

roses, and none have their wardrobes duplicated. The Baudelaires' skin tone suggests

that they are in the peak of health, while the other figures tend to have death-like gray

skin colors. Because they rule the softer, brighter palette colors, the viewer is drawn to

the Baudelaires first, despite their presence in the middle ground.

The true accomplishment of this cover illustration is the detached effect that

Helquist achieves. The image is bustling and almost overcrowded with figures.

However, none of them are interacting. They may be glancing suspiciously away from

themselves, but their lines of sight rarely seem to go anywhere specific. This is a

sustained campaign of watching, but nobody seems to understand what they are meant to

seek. The Baudelaires participate in this endeavor, but they escape such criticism

because Helquist illustrates them wearing sunglasses. There is no way to determine if









they are viewing the "correct" happenings. Of course, as the cover illustration, one

encounters this image before the plot is experienced and repeatedly throughout reading,

so there is no way of knowing upon the first examinations of this image what the

"correct" happenings can even be. Helquist places a reminder of the world that they

inhabit-and a commentary on the Baudelaires attentive state behind their sunglasses-in

the feather of a hat. The feather comes from a woman wearing a magenta hat on the right

of the illustration, but the feather terminates immediately in front of Sunny. Imprinted on

its end is another of those ubiquitous eyes. It is a further sign that the figures in the

image are not simply milling in the lobby; they are engaged in a contest of attaining

power through surveillance.

The end effect of the cover illustration and the Baudelaires' rejection of

panopticism is a weakening of the institution's disciplinary powers. However, with it

comes a fragmenting of society. The V.F.D., for all the inference that a reader may draw

from the plots, is as fraught with mystery as it is complexity. Often, its members are

unidentifiable unless they reveal themselves or are given away. Its goals are inscrutable,

especially as the organization is broken into factions at the time of the tales. As the

illustration illuminates, there is not a force uniting together unwitting members; at the

very least, if there is such a force, it must be sought and found. Participation within the

V.F.D. is dictated less by its institutional guidelines in its moment of weakness. There is

a new attention to the individual and the power that the individual must now exercise.

The following chapter will consider presentations of the individual and agency within A

Series of Unfortunate Events.












CHAPTER
Three











I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but
first impressions are often entirely wrong. You
can look at a painting for the first time, for ex-
ample, and not like it at all, but after looking at
it a little longer you may find it very pleasing.
The first time you try Gorgonzola cheese you
may find it too strong, but when you are older
you may want to eat nothing but Gorgonzola
cheese. Klaus, when Sunn\ was born, did not
like her at all, but by the time she was six weeks


Figure 2-1 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.27














CHAPTER
Four








The Baudelaire orphans copied the puttanesca
recipe from the cookbook onto a piece of scrap
paper, and Justice Strauss was
kind enough to escort them to
the market to buy the neces-
sary ingredients. Count Olaf
had not left them very
much money, but the chil-
dren were able to buy '
everything they needed.
From a street vendor,
they purchased olives
after tasting several ':.







Figure 2-2 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.41















CHAPTER

Twelve


As Violet and Klaus Baudelaire
stood, still in their nightgown
Sand pajamas, backstage at
Count Olaf's theater, they
were of two minds, a phrase
S which here means "they
felt two different ways at
the same time." On one
hand, they were of course
Filled with dread. From
the murmur of voices
they heard on the stage,
the two Baudelaire
orphans could tell


Figure 2-3 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.133


___







23











,hat follows is the transcript of the
meeting of the Building Committee of
on April 0 In attendance were J, L, M,
lP, P, 1, K, D, S, and I. Note: the
names of the attendees are given by the
first initial of their first name,
e:rcept for I, which is a pronoun. Some&
people in attendance had the same first'.
initial, which makes this transcript:
somewhat hard to follow, but no matter:
The Code of V.F.D. dictates that these
minutes are not to be read by anyone
who did not attend the meeting.

soun4 of gavel banging)











33


Figure 2-4 Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAAutobiography, p.33














C H A P TER
Five







Ift ou have evei experienced something that
feels strangely familiar, as if the exact same
thing has happened to you before, then you are
experiencing what the French call "d6ja vu."
Like most French exprcssions-"ennui," which
iK a fancy term for se ere boredom, or "la petite
mo rt" \ which describes a feeling that
my---- : part of you has died-"d&j5 vu"
Refers to something that is usually
nor \ery pleasant, and it was not
S pleasant for the Baudelaire
orphans to stand outside
Sthe freaks' caravan lis-
S8\ ',., tening to Count Olaf


Figure 2-5 The Carnivorous Carnival, chapter illustration, pp.101 and 103













CHAPTER
Ten





Violetand Quigley walked careful\ across the
frozen pool until they reached the bottom of
the waterfall. "Good luck!" Klaus called, from
the archway of the ruined library. He was pol-
ishing his glasses, as he often did before
embarking on serious research.




i o,
im tl' A .l-,



i T S i






Figure 2-6 The ,\//p'p'e' Slope, chapter illustration, p.205












Sio Unfortunat,






















BATw efh by LEMONY SNICKET



*THE PENULTIMATE PERIL*


Figure 2-7 The Penultimate Peril, cover illustration















CHAPTER 3
INVISIBLE MEN

The Author Versus the Illustrator

Earlier in this examination, a claim was made for Lemony Snicket being not a

pseudonym but a pseudopersona. Daniel Handler acknowledges in an interview the

problematic nature of referring to Lemony Snicket as a pseudonym. He explains, "I

should say that I'm not sure pseudonym is exactly right, because the character of Lemony

Snicket, this man who speaks directly to the reader and also who is tangentially involved

in the stories he's telling, is really more of a character."1 Adrian Room, in his A

Dictionary ofPseudonyms and Their Origins, states that the word pseudonym makes its

earliest appearance in The Oxford English Dictionary in 1846.2 He goes on to report that

the most recent definition of it is a "fictitious name, especially one assumed by an

author," adding that "fictitious" is defined elsewhere again as "assumed."3 It is

interesting to note that in a treatise concerned exclusively with pseudonyms, Room is

wary to denote the pseudo- of pseudonym as in any way false or fictitious, perhaps

because it implies a separation from the "original" author. Stating that it is simply an

assumed name on the part of an author suggests that the power and talent in the assumed



1 Daniel Handler, interview by David Bianculli and Terry Gross, Fresh Air, National Public Radio, 10
December 2004.

2 Adrian Room, A Dictionary ofPseudonyms and Their Origins, with Stories of Name (C I,,;.., (Jefferson,
North Carolina: 1989), 5. As interesting as it would to complete a study of why the word appears so late in
history, it is not the place of this paper to do so.

3 Room, 5.









name is still inherent in the "original" personality, for it is merely another facet of that

figure, usually employed for utilitarian purposes. Sometimes the purpose is to escape

gender prejudices, as in the case of the Bronte sisters' Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. 4 In

other instances, the name is used to ridicule or lend weight to an argument as with

Benjamin Franklin's journalist personas Silence Dogood and Busy-Body.5 In the case of

juvenile literature, pseudonyms are sometimes used because the books are, as Annie

Russell Marble writes, "the work of writers for adults, in serious vein, who have found

relaxation in these juveniles."6 While Marble may sugarcoat what would be better

described as a necessity when experimenting within a belittled genre, her recognition of

separate personalities within the genre is fair, as seen in the Oxford don/mathematician

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson turning to the name Lewis Carroll for his Alice books and

other nonsense-centered fiction.

It would be tempting to ascribe this rationale to Handler's adoption of Lemony

Snicket, as Handler has penned novels for adult readers.7 To do so would be to describe

Lemony Snicket as merely a nominal artifice. However, Lemony Snicket is the

centerpiece of the series' program. He is a character, a tragic hero, a "documenter" of the

innocent. Snicket is as much at the mercy of Handler as any other character within these

literary creations. Following the success of the series, Snicket has even became



4 These names refer, respectively, to Charlotte, Emily, and Ann Bronte. Room, 89.

5 Welford Dunaway Taylor, The Newsprint Mask: The Tradition of the Fictional Journalist in America
(Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1991), 7.
6 Anne Russell Marble, Pen Names and Personalities, (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1930), 162.

7 Daniel Handler, The Basic Eight (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 1999). Daniel Handler, Watch Your
Mouth: A Novel (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000). Daniel Handler, Adverbs: A Novel (New York:
Ecco, 2006).









synonymous with a writing style: the false cautionary voice designed to drag a reader into

fascination with Snicket's miserable, fragmented, but inherently false life.8 Snicket is

more than a character within the series, though. He blurs the line between author and

narrator. Handler further constructs the persona through the inscriptions to Snicket's lost

love Beatrice preceding each installment.9 There is also his investigative detritus in the

form of water-logged letters, torn napkins, and typed notes that ends each book while

piquing interest for the next. There are even photographs of silhouetted strangers

positioned next to each of Snicket's biographies, suggesting that there is an actual being

with an actual image that could be captured were Snicket not such a wily fugitive. He is

a persona in that there is documentation of the cultural artifacts that he has allegedly left

in his tracks. In fact, it would seem that Snicket is ultimately the apotheosis of a

"person" under twenty-first century surveillance society: an identity observed through

items usually considered mere evidence, and conveniently lacking an "actual" physical

presence. He is completely reducible to archived documents.

The presumption of Snicket as anything other than a tool of Handler is

problematized within the series's accessory book Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized

Autobiography. Within this text, Handler makes an appearance as himself in the guise of

Snicket's legal representative and the author of the text's "Introduction." At first glance,

this inclusion of Handler under his given name would appear to advance the illusion of


8 In Paul Feig's autobiography Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin, Feig begins the
particularly humiliating chapter "Please Do Not Read This Chapter"' by writing, "Seriously. Don't. I am
not trying to be cute or provocative by telling you this. I do not ask you to avoid this chapter because I'm
trying to be clever. I am not trying to be Lemony Snicket. I really don't want you to read this." Paul Feig,
Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005), 255.

9 "For Beatrice No one could extinguish my love, or your house." Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate
Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), dedication page.









Snicket as a separate personality. However, the writing style that Handler employs

within the introduction's first paragraphs so closely mimics Snicket's style that the

relationship between the two identities is made plain to the reader. For example, Handler

writes that "The origins of the UnauthorizedAutobiography are somewhat cryptic-a

word which here means 'enigmatic."'10 Within the texts of the actual series, Snicket

constantly defines words within their context as seen in the second paragraph of The Bad

Beginning when he writes, "Occasionally their parents gave them permission to take a

rickety trolley-the word 'rickety,' you probably know, here means 'unsteady' or 'likely

to collapse'-alone to the seashore..."" Handler also appears listed as the legal

representative on Lemony Snicket's website.12 Were Snicket's style not so recognizable

and idiosyncratic, perhaps the relationship between Handler and his pseudopersona

would not be so obvious. It is, though. Additionally, Snicket's evasion of the view of

institutional authorities-a facet deemed impossible by the eye iconography discussed

previously-allows his role as a disguise adopted by Handler to be easily discovered.

Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography begins with Handler's

"Introduction," thus establishing in the reader early in the text distrust in the artifacts that

are employed throughout the Autobiography to validate Snicket's identity and life story.

The documents presented are so dubious that this disbelief continues undeterred.

Facsimiles of sheet music are reprinted in the first chapter for an alleged popular ballad,




10 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), ix.

1 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 2.

12 A Series of Unfortunate Events, (7 March
2005).









"The Little Snicket Lad."13 Any person, child or adult, with the most rudimentary ability

to read music can tell that the lyrics have been indiscriminately matched-or, more aptly,

mismatched-to the notes (Fig. 3-1).14 In regard to the ballad presented, Snicket writes,

"But lyrics are not proof; photographs are.""15 However, he then goes on to add, "If I can

find it, I will paste a photograph on this paper at the age I was taken [kidnapped by the

V.F.D.]. (If I can't find it, I will paste a photograph of someone else of more or less the

same age.)"16 Not only does Snicket's hilarious narration cast the material evidence as

unreliable, but the photographs from other chapters-photographs that he is not given

credit for submitting-demonstrate that all such examples are untrustworthy. In a collage

of photographs that are purportedly contemporaneous to one another, the reader sees that

they should not be able to coexist (Fig. 3-2).17 The fashions within the photographs

indicate figures presumably from the 1920s, the 1940s, and the 1960s. These

inconsistencies place typically reliable documentary sources such as those found in The

UnauthorizedAutobiography-news articles, photographs, transcribed conversations-in

opposition to the notion of an objective truth. Such a belief in documentary as a distinct

genre from poetry or belles lettres is no revolutionary proposition. However,

documentary, despite academia's problematizing of its biases, is often considered as at






13 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, 9, 12-19.
14 Figure 3-1 may be found on Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography, 16-17.

15 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, 16.

16 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, 16.

17 Figure 3-2 can be found on Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography, 29.









least a consistent point of view, whether or not "real."18 The collection of Snicket's life's

documents is anything but consistent; it is haphazard, disjointed, and inadequate.

It is Brett Helquist's role in the series that enables a model of subjective truth to be

revealed. This provides an alternative to the newly revealed fallibility of documentation

and material evidence. In The Bad Beginning, his biographical blurb contrasts sharply

with the information provided for Lemony Snicket. Snicket's reads:

Lemony Snicket was born in a small town where the inhabitants were suspicious
and prone to riot. He now lives in the city. During his spare time he gathers
evidence and is considered something of an expert by leading authorities. These are
his first books for HarperCollins.19

Helquist's box, on the other hand, offers specifics instead of generalities, and its

straightforward presentation highlights the tongue-in-cheek nature of Snicket's

biography. It includes:

Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, grew up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in New York City. He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Brigham Young
University and has been illustrating ever since. His art has appeared in many
publications, including Cricket magazine and The New York Times.20

Incidentally, these facts may be confirmed outside the realm of the books on the basis of

published interviews with him.21 Helquist's role as straight man lessens as the series

moves forward. In fact, by the time that Lemony Snicket's construction hinges more on




18 William Stott advances a definition in Documentary Expression and Thirties America that "documentary
- whether in film, photograph, writing, broadcast, or art is a genre as distinct as tragedy, epic, or satire,
but a genre unlike these in that its content is, or is assumed to be, actually true." William Stott,
Documentary Expression and Thirties America, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), ix.

19 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 165.

20 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 165.

21 Marin Decker, "Utahn is Feeling Fortunate about 'Unfortunate Events'," DeseretMorning News, 17
December 2004.









documentary references, Helquist's biography does not emphasize traceable statements as

much as his first blurb. In The Carnivorous Carnival, his information claims:

Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, and grew up in Orem, Utah. He
studied hard to become an illustrator, but can't help wondering if he might have
chosen to become something safer, like a pirate. Despite the risks, he continues to
translate Lemony Snicket's odd findings into unusual pictures.22

The reader is still given basic information in the form of his birthplace and hometown,

but gone are the educational achievements, his current location, and listed titles for

finding his previous works. The Carnivorous Carnival was published the same year as

Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography. As Lemony Snicket, the established

pseudopersona, gains supposed specificity in his increased amount of traditionally

acceptable forms of documentation, Helquist sheds his presentation of any real data.

Helquist's adjoining self-portraits are additional commentary and guidance on this

thorny presentation of a documented identity (Figs. 3.3 3.14).23 Snicket's biographical

box with its blurry photograph is located immediately above Helquist's box with his

drawn self-portrait. Helquist's fashionings always match the books thematically but

sometimes only tangentially so. While the association may be plain when he depicts

himself as a measles patient for The Hostile Hospital, the association is not immediately

apparent when he portrays himself as Francisco Goya's Saturn Devouring His Children

in The Carnivorous Carnival.

It could be argued that Helquist's choice to match his self-portraits to aspects of the

books is merely an imitative tactic to incorporate himself into the narrative like Lemony

Snicket. This argument could certainly be supported when one considers the letter within

22 Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 289.

23 His self-portraits, figures 3.3 3.14, are numbered so that they follow their presentation within the series.









Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography labeled from Helquist Artist Services

that begins:

Dear Mr. Snicket,

I am very sorry to report that I arrived too late to make any sketches that might
clear your name or provide any information on the survivor or survivors you think
may exist.24

I feel that this inclusion is actually more indicative of Daniel Handler's great admiration

for Brett Helquist. On the series's official website, Helquist's information is included

prominently in the main menu under "The Ill-Fated Illustrator." In an "Introduction" to

an edited anthology marketed for the juvenile fiction audience, Handler, in the guise of

Snicket, again opts to have Helquist illustrate the work.25 However, even if my

speculation that Helquist has become enmeshed in the narrative via Handler's desire to

share credit with his illustrator is incorrect, Helquist's self-portraits nonetheless offer an

alternative to the model of Snicket's construction. Helquist never illustrates himself

within the story; he simply matches the presentation of himself to an aspect of the story.

For example, The Grim Grotto finds the Baudelaire orphans on a quest involving a

submarine and deep-sea diving. Helquist's self-portrait at the conclusion of The Grim

Grotto shows him as peg legged, Captain Ahab-type figure (Fig. 3-13). While

submarines and Moby Dick are both inextricably acquainted with the sea, it would be a

stretch to imagine them sharing a narrative. His self-portraits recall aspects of the texts,

but not the plots.


24 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 182.

25 Lemony Snicket, "Introduction," Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things ThatAren 't
as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creaturesfrom the
Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite
Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out, ed. Ted Thompson (San Francisco: McSweeney's Books, 2005).









Helquist never repeats the same self-portrait. It may be that he varies his image to

avoid boredom. Barring specificities of a contract, though, it is still worthwhile to

remember that each self-portrait does require separate work for him to complete.

Considering the average eighteen illustrations that he creates per book, using these self-

portraits to keep him excited and occupied seems excessive on a level of productivity.

One must remember that, over the years that he has been illustrating A Series of

Unfortunate Events, he has also illustrated two major juvenile fiction books and has

authored and illustrated his own picture book, among many other commissions.26 This

series has in no way been his sole endeavor or source of income. In this light, I believe

the array of personalities that he uses to depict himself is an effort to describe himself in

an assortment of subjective perceptions.

Artists have traditionally utilized self-portraits for a variety of reasons.27 Self-

portraits offered a chance to observe human physiognomy without hiring a model. This

genre of painting typically allowed freedom from patrons' demands, permitting an artist

to use an independently created self-portrait as a vehicle for thematic and technical

explorations that may have displeased a buyer. An artist could also include a self-portrait

within a larger work as a form of his signature. However, after the advent of

photography and the perception that it was superior to the human hand at capturing the






26 Blue Balliett, C ii .u..i Vermeer (New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2004). J.V. Hart, Captain Hook: the
Adventures of a Notorious Youth (New York: HarperCollins, 2005). Brett Helquist, Roger, the Jolly Pirate
(New York: HarperCollins, 2004).
27 For more on self-portraits, see Sean Kelly, and Edward Lucie-Smith, The Self-Portrait: a Modern View
(London: Sarema Press, 1987).









world, the self-portrait increasingly became the method through which an artist explored

her psyche or social identity.28

Helquist's self-portraits, each presumably completed at the time of the other book

illustrations, offer him a variety of guises and ages. The similarities are not immediately

apparent until close examination, and even then they contain only slight similarities. A

long nose and large ears become evident, but the portraits do not picture Helquist

consistently within the frame to aid these detections, as do the images of the Baudelaires

and Olaf in the Ex Libris plates, to be discussed later. In The Austere Academy, a young

boy wearing a dunce cap presents the viewer with his back as he sits in a corner (Fig. 3-

7).29 This image is of particular note because, unlike the traditional concern over the

human face being included in the self-portrait, there is no emphasis upon this feature of

the body. Instead, the figure is dwarfed by the chalkboard with the incorrect mathematics

problem on the left in the image. The only indication that this scene is the self-portrait of

a grown man is the biography box to the right of it that describes adult achievements.

I do not mean to suggest that Helquist is fragmenting his personality in a belief that

he really is a lumberjack, a tailor, and a hotel maid simultaneously (Figs. 3.6, 3.8, 3.14).30

Instead, I feel the variety of images suggests the array of selves that he could choose to

be. His self-portraits are the balm to the anxiety created by other illustrations within the


28 Erika Billeter writes, "A self-portrait is not a commissioned work. The patron is the artist himself.
Every self-portrait is a moment of truth, for the artist does not have to make concessions to anyone. If he
does depict a pleasantly idealized version of himself, then he does so intentionally... Every self-portrait is a
dialogue with the ego." Erika Billeter, ed., Self-Portrait in the Age ofPhotography: Photographers
Reler ting, Their Own Image, (Bern: Benteli AG, 1985), 8.

29 Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 225.

30 Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 197. Lemony Snicket, The
Ersatz Elevator (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 263. Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New
York: HarperCollins, 2005), 357.









series and the loss of the indexical physical image. Among these other images are

anthropomorphized material objects with eyes. Helquist and his works suggest at a basic

level that biological creatures with the capacity to see are no more perceptive than the

objects their eyes consider, as the next section shall demonstrate. As the books conclude

with his self-portraits, however, he demonstrates that it is self-perception that is a

uniquely human trait, and one through which the young readers may be empowered. This

revelation does not eradicate the concern over the loss of a physical presence and the

potential for documenting it. His self-portraits serve as an example that the manipulation

of the human body comes as the result of choice. Were he a tailor, he may indeed require

glasses from the strain caused on eyes staring at stitches. It is possible that, to be in the

position of a colonial captain undergoing mutiny, he would be found in a powdered wig

(Fig. 3-5).31 Albeit, these are superficial and ridiculous examples, but they still indicate

how the body's physicality is manipulated. It is manipulated by choices, though.

Underneath all of these images, there is a truth. Unfortunately for documentation, it is a

subjective truth.

Ultimately, an individual is more than a collection of cultural artifacts. In fact,

those artifacts only present one constructed view of a personality. The contrast of

Helquist's multiple and pliable visions of himself are a contributing factor to the failure of

Handler's Snicket-ruse being anything more than a stylistic choice.

Lacan's Sardine Can

At this juncture, it is evident that surveillance, independence of disciplinary

powers, and a heightened sense of subjective understanding are key factors within A


31 Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 217.









Series of Unfortunate Events. The examples of the eye in the series's iconography

considered thus far are predominantly concerned with disembodied eyes, their ties to the

V.F.D., and the capacity for ignoring and hijacking surveillance's power. These

instances of the eye's appearance fail to address the many times that it appears attached

to non-human subjects or anthropomorphized forms. It would seem that its function in

these instances make it little more than a symbol to inspire dread. However, these

occasions actually reveal it, at one level, to be symbolic of the utter foolishness of

connecting it with dread. Only human agency can invest it with any power. I hope to

used Jacques Lacan's writings not to provide a Lacanian reading of these appearances,

but to provide a starting point to some observation concerning its function.

In a lecture entitled "The Line and Light" on the fourth of March, 1964, Jacques

Lacan presented its attendants with an anecdote from his days as a young scholar.32 He

described a vacation during which he accompanied fishermen to sea on their boat. One

of them pointed to a floating sardine can in the water and asked Lacan, "You see that

can? Do you see it? Well, it doesn't see you!"33 Lacan then described to his students the

discomfiture the remark produced within him, explaining it as a commentary on the

different life paths that he and the fishermen trod. He could not fit into their "picture" of

life; he wrote, "The picture, certainly, is in my eye. But I am not in the picture."34

Through these thoughts he began to elaborate his philosophy of the screen as interruption

in the geometral relation between objects. The purpose of considering his remarks is not



32 Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts ofPsychoanalysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan
Sheridan (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1981), 91-104.

33 Lacan, 95.

34 Lacan, 96.









to elucidate his meaning of each of these terms. It is instead to grasp those illustrations

within Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events that do not strictly conform to

the initial iconography of the eye but that support and enhance illustrator Brett Helquist's

program nonetheless.

Lacan's anecdote would in a very literal sense seem to strangely fit Snicket's prose,

a prose that spans everything from quoting Richard Wright's Native Son to describing a

hotel organized according to a Dewey Decimal system. After ruminations on the

constructions of triptychs, a philosophical consideration of the ocular abilities of

inanimate objects would not be too much to ask of his young fans. Therefore, when the

second full-page illustration of The Grim Grotto depicts young Sunny Baudelaire

standing in an underwater cave next to a sardine can, it merits attention and offers a nice

reference point to Lacan's anecdote, regardless of Helquist's intention (Fig. 3-15).35 It

provides a reference to a framework through which one can make sense of Helquist's

smiling hamburgers, peering eggs, and scowling radios (Figs. 3.16, 3.17, 3.28).36 The

eyes are not the unorthodox aspects of these images. Eyes riddle the books. What

distinguishes these is their seeming separation from the conspiratorial V.F.D.

organization. Nonetheless, how does one come to terms with the jam on nondescript

toast outlining an eye (Fig. 3-18)?37

Lacan explained later in his "The Line and Light" lecture that the gaze could exist

independent of the eyes. He stated:

35 Figure 3-15 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 137.

36 Figure 3-16 is found on Snicket, The Wide Window, 95. Figure 3-17 is found on Snicket, The Austere
Academy, 83. Figure 3-28 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Hostile Hospital (New York: HarperCollins,
2001), front endsheet.

37 Figure 3-18 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 103.









Looking at pictures, even those most lacking in what is usually called the gaze, and
which is constituted by a pair of eyes, pictures in which any representation of the
human figure is absent, like a landscape by a Dutch or a Flemish painter, you will
see in the end, as in filigree, something so specific to each of the painters that you
will feel the presence of the gaze.38

In his qualification "in which any representation of the human figure is absent," Lacan

ties the pair of eyes to the body, leaving no true model for representations of the eyes as

separate from the body, as encountered in these illustrations in question in A Series of

Unfortunate Events. This omission begs the question: can the eyes exist independently of

the gaze? It is possible to consider the gaze without eyes, but it seems unlikely that the

eyes can do anything but coexist with the gaze. They are too heavily loaded with shared

associations. However, in an illustration depicting Count Olaf s art collection in The Bad

Beginning, Helquist takes his viewer through a history of art styles, all as demonstrated

via the eye (Figure 3-19).39 In it, there is the cubist eye, the Pop Art eye, and the

Pointillist eye. There is a portrait of a man whose head is nothing but an eye. There is

even a Persistence of Memory parody in which Salvador Dali's melted watches have

become eyes. Considering that the lecture "What is a Picture?"-which immediately

followed "The Line and Light"-included Lacan's defense of resorting to art criticism

and history to differentiate between the eye and the gaze, it is interesting Helquist utilizes

the same areas to deepen his iconographic program.

That this image appears in the first installment of the series, in which the majority

of the illustrations are concerned with overtly connecting Count Olaf to the eye, is

particularly significant. Granted, the text establishes these works as displayed in his



38 Lacan, 101.

39 Figure 3-19 is found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 123.









home's tower, so there is a precedent for including them and an association with Olaf. It

is these objects that even allow Snicket to claim, "It was a terrible place."40 However,

they lack the raw power of an earlier chapter illustration depicting a close-up of Olaf s

eyes, or another in which an anchovy's useless, dead eye heightens its helplessness (Fig.

3-20).41 The art collection illustration does not align the eye with power, except perhaps

by its association with connoisseurship. In positioning the eye against the stylistic

fashions of art making, Helquist shows the organ as adaptable and thus controllable.

Negotiating the power of the eye as organ attributes elasticity symbolically to the

power of the eye as gaze. When Lacan took the time to make his point that the gaze can

be seen in non-human forms, he silently assumed and argued that people naturally

connect it to the eyes. He tried to distinguish the two. A Series of Unfortunate Events

has no need; if these books can elide the eyes with the gaze easily to the benefit of their

themes, why enter this theoretical terrain? When Helquist manipulates the organ in

Figure 3-19, he opens the potential for the gaze throughout the rest of the series. While

in the first installments the Baudelaire orphans may be at the mercy of Count Olaf and his

henchpeople as represented through the eye, it loses its power of intimidation when they

discover its connection to the V.F.D., an organization that their beloved parents once

supported. The eye never loses its power completely; simply put, ownership of the power

of the eye is lost. By the twelfth installment, The Penultimate Peril, the reader finds both

good and bad supporters of the V.F.D. spying on one another.42 The Baudelaires are



40 Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 125.

41 Figure 3-20 is found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 41.

42 Snicket, The Penultimate Peril, 309, 314.









enlisted as concierges and flaneurs at the Hotel Denouement, purported site of the final

power struggle. Upon reaching this point in the series, a viewer may return to images

like Figure 3-19 and further comprehend their powerlessness. Count Olaf is prisoner to

the gaze as much as the Baudelaires, as his crimes have him pursued by the opposing

faction of the V.F.D. He also suffers for his lapses in being the seer. In The Penultimate

Peril, Olaf repeatedly proclaims, "I always wondered how you did that," when seeing the

Baudelaires turn to tricks that they used to escape from his actions in the past. Had he

truly been all-seeing, he could have intervened, but he was the product of his own gaze;

he saw what he desired, three helpless orphans, and as such took no precautions. It is

through Olaf s unconscious desire and transference-he is an orphan himself and

helpless without his followers-that the difference between the gaze and the eye's

powers of sight begins to be outlined within the series.

What significance do these interpretations have on Figure 3-18's toast? They show

the inability of either the eye or the gaze to function without a being attached. Images of

eyes may alternatively boost and destroy the characters' self-confidence in the series.

They may remind of Olaf s success and failure in tracking the children. They may

symbolize the hope and disappointment the Baudelaires hold towards their various

ignorant guardians. Attached to a piece of toast, though, they still only recall emotions.

The real damage comes when Olaf s physical presence murders their Uncle Monty or

when Aunt Josephine's cowardice leaves them vulnerable to outside forces. Ultimately,

these iconographic eyes are nothing without human consciousness and unconsciousness

behind them. Figure 3-18 reminds the reader that unprocessed vision and knowledge









matters as little as toasted bread.43 Its effects will be as fleeting. It also offers the

iconography's potential to users of all ages. An innocent five-year-old may apply jam in

the outline of an eye as easily as a diabolical villain. These illustrative examples still

encourage the Baudelaires' rejection of panopticism. They also suggest that simple

surveying is not enough to invest the Baudelaires with new-found power. Again, just

because the Baudelaires are no longer internalizing institutional powers does not mean

that they are safe. To truly match the efforts being placed against them, the Baudelaires

must be matching action to their sights, and inference to their findings.

Upon consideration of issues of the eye and the gaze, the illustrations with

seemingly inexplicable eyes serve a dual purpose. Their foreignness via their inanimate,

unthinking states highlights the need for information archiving and processing. They also

stand in contrast to anthropomorphized objects in other children's fiction wherein the

anthropomorphosis requires a corresponding animation of the object. Their simplicity,

and the potential suggested therein, forces these needs into the realm of the child reader, a

topic which will be considered in the "Lost in the Archive" chapter.

Ex Corporem Ex Libris

Agency is obviously a battle that the protagonists and antagonists within A Series of

Unfortunate Events must wage. Power does not come simply through surveillance. It

comes through subjectivity and a willingness to take risks. This requirement is made

visually apparent in the illustrated Ex Libris plate located on the front endsheets of each

installment.


43 For the purposes of this argument, there is a purposeful disregard of the toast, the smiling hamburger, and
the eggs in consideration with their potential for nourishment. It would be tempting to argue that they
achieve an effect of food fear, but the texts' multiple inclusions of Sunny's cooking abilities under duress
plainly support the necessity of eating under all circumstances, even if the food is looking at the eater.









Within each of the entries of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the reader is faced on

the front endsheets with a pre-printed facsimile of an Ex Libris plate. The Ex Libris plate

is more commonly found in the collections of readers who need to maintain order in

significant numbers of books, always sure that their property can be associated with its

initial collector as a sign of identity and property. The Ex Libris plate is often also

commissioned and produced by the collector; it is atypical to find a facsimile of one

already included upon a book's endsheets. It is often utilized in various forms by

university libraries, a vast cry from the traditional stereotypical crayon sprawl normally

located in the front pages of a "children's" book. Aside from their idiosyncratic

presence, these are not illustrations to be ignored within the Snicket series. Set against a

busy, decorative background of floral figures and voluted leaves on the endsheets, the

dark shadings and hatchings by Helquist emerge from the clean white background of the

Ex Libris box (Figs. 3.21 3.32).44

In each book, the Ex Libris plate is constructed identically to the previous novels.

In a circle at the top of the plate, the viewer finds the heads of the three Baudelaire

orphans, the youngest in the front and the eldest in the back: Sunny, often biting the

circle; Klaus, glancing sidelong at the viewer; and Violet, with her hair pulled back, but

her mouth and chin obstructed by Klaus's hair. Contained within an identically framed

circle at the bottom of the box is Count Olaf. Around each of these medallions is a

curving vine of thorns, the upper vine containing a banner which reads "Ex Libris."

Between the two hedges sits the line instructing, "Name." The implicit argument is that

this book will be unique with an identity attached to it. It is a particularly convenient

44 Like the self-portrait figures, all of the series's Ex Libris are listed as successive figures 3.21 3.32.
They proceed in the books' chronological order.









effect considering the series's best-selling status, a way of separating one's property from

the hordes of published tomes circulating.

However, considering the first novel was originally published with Helquist's

illustrations and there was no way to predict the success that it would garner, it is a

dubious argument to claim the pseudo-Ex Libris plate serves as a mere denotation of

property, especially under the consideration that success of children and young adult

books often rely on the good word of mouth of librarians. In such institutions, this plate

would only serve to remind readers of its communal status, excepting the uninhibited,

rebellious borrowers who may try to mark it as their own regardless.

The plate serves a narrative role, in addition to assisting the collection and

incorporation of books into a private collection. It serves as a visual benchmark to keep

the projected thirteen volume work organized by major issues. The books do have titles

that locate each story's action via alliterative titles: The Reptile Room, The Miserable

Mill, The Austere Academy, The Grim Grotto, and so on. These titles are convenient in

providing clues as to the scene of each novel. Equally important to the setting, if not

more so, is the disguise that Count Olaf adopts within each novel.45 The plates reflect

these costumes.

In The Bad Beginning, there is no disguise for Olaf to adopt, so the viewer sees him

as he is: an angular, severe, one-eyebrowed, horn-haired mature man forced into a

starched white collar under a black suit jacket (Fig. 3-21). This image may change, but

the strong lines and angles used to depict him never do. They provide an excellent


45 It is no insignificant detail that in the movie adaptation of the first three novels (The Bad Beginning, The
Reptile Room, and The Wide Window), the viewer catches Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) reading a magazine
with Lon Chaney, Hollywood's own master of disguise, on its cover. Lemony Snicket'sA Series of
Unfortunate Events, dir. Brad Silberling, 1 hr. 48 min., Paramount Pictures, 2004.









contrast to the curvilinear lines of the three Baudelaires. Not only does it utilize the

discomfort that rigidity can place upon a viewer, but the curves of the Baudelaires echo

the baby fat that they would easily possess over the course of the stories of their young

lives. Their visual innocence is a reminder to the assumedly child reader that they are,

despite their various forms of precocity, still potential peers.

The first variation occurs in the second installment, The Reptile Room. Olaf

appears as Stefano with a beard, a turtleneck, a bald pate, and a brow sans eyebrow (Fig.

3-22). While the lines and angles would be enough to give him away, he does retain

small details to preserve his original villainous countenance: his nose, his ears, and

especially, his darkened, sunken eyes. Helquist complicates the ability to identify Olafs

eyes in later installments, however, showing a wiliness that Olaf himself would

appreciate. Helquist gives him an eye patch as Captain Sham; he lightens the eyes in

Olafs solo drag appearance as Shirley the secretary (Figs. 3.23 and 3.24).46 He gives him

a monocle in The Ersatz Elevator and sunglasses in The Vile Village (Figs. 3.26 and

3.27). He removes Olaf altogether in The Hostile Hospital, placing in his stead an

anthropomorphized radio, the instrument through which Olaf yields his power in this

installment over the Baudelaires (Fig. 3-28).

By the ninth book, The Carnivorous Carnival, it would seem that there is little

hope of using the eyes to identify Count Olaf. The tradition has been set, however,

within the Ex Libris plates, thanks to the first and second books, to assume that it will be

him if the visage appears within that lower medallion. Just as the Baudelaires rely on his

antagonism from sheer habit, so too does the reader. Within The Carnivorous Carnival,

46 This image would beg an application of drag and masquerade discussions in a wider study, but
limitations will prevent its discussion here.









however, Olaf reappears in his original, sunken-eyed glory. He keeps this, his allegedly

true identity, in the Ex Libris plates of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth books also.

Olaf s reclaiming of his visage, or more specifically, Helquist's efforts to reflect

this return visually, comes at a cost to both him and the Baudelaires. While the

Baudelaires may find themselves able to identify, and thus pursue, Olaf more easily, it

comes at the cost of their own identities, reflecting, as does The Hostile Hospital's Ex

Libris radio, greater themes emerging within the books. Once they begin actively

pursuing Olaf, they, by all accounts of the Ex Libris plates, become him. In donning

disguises, the Baudelaires adopt his duplicitous tactics. They are willing-again, via

Helquist's transference-to stake their sense of selves for a greater plan. And so, in The

Carnivorous Carnival, they are no longer the Baudelaires but Chabo the Wolf Baby and a

pair of Siamese twins (Fig. 3-29). As Sunny is held hostage by Olaf in The .\/ipp'ly

Slope, her identity is returned to her in its Ex Libris plate, but since Violet and Klaus are

still in pursuit, Helquist's rules seem to dictate that they must continue to sacrifice their

visage, in this instance completely obscuring their faces by ski masks (Fig. 3-30). In The

Grim Grotto, the three are reunited in their pursuit and are depicted floating behind the

bars of giant diving helmets (Fig. 3-31).

It is the Ex Libris plates which suggest the most direct example of subjectivity in

the novels. The Baudelaires discover that they possess the inner strength to break from

society and pursue their antagonist. However, they become increasingly discomfited that

they are doing so at the expense of their notions of their personalities, especially when

they assist burning down the Hotel Denouement. This revelation changes them as

people, though, and it forces them into identities-or, at least, obscured identities-that









must necessitate difference from their original, baby-faced selves. Meanwhile, Count

Olaf becomes careless; he no longer invests the energy needed to uphold alternate

identity upon alternate identity. This choice leaves him vulnerable, but also allows him

the security of his beliefs about himself. Agency comes at a sacrifice of the indexical

form, but it also liberates. The children become as adept at fooling surrounding people

with their disguises as Count Olaf was. They even, on occasion, fool him, which is

something Olaf never managed to do to the Baudelaires. A Series of Unfortunate Events

presents to the readers a host of alternatives to socially-expected behaviors through the

use of subjective understandings, but it does so cautiously, illuminating the effects of

those decisions.


































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Figure 3-1 Lemony Snicket: the UnauthorizedAutobiography, pp.16 and 17


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Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, p.29


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Figure 3-2







51





LEMONY SNICKET
was born in a small town where
the inhabitants were suspicious
and prone to riot. He now lives
in the city. During his spare
time he gathers evidence and is
considered something of an
4 expert by leading authorities.
IThese are his first books for
HarperCollins.

Viithim on the l4i, at hp://www.h irpen:hllduns% .nm/linickedc
or E-mail to Isnicket@harpercollins.com
BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Gonado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in New York City. He earned a
bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Brigham Young Universirv
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in
many publications, including
Cricket magazine and The New
York Times.


Figure 3-3 The Bad Beginning, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET
was born in a small town where
the inhabitants were suspicious
and prone to riot. He now lives
in the city. During his spare
time he gathers evidence and is
considered something of an
-expert by leading authorities.
These are his first books for
HarperCollins.

Visit him on the ''i o* hiLp ',I .. 1hr1 Prtiich ldrcn; ,,rmil~ni, ke
or E-r:' ...;: ,. '*. l-rIl.k "erit h.ii pCrl.:,LLl'i L.n il
BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Gonado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in Nc% York City. He earned a
bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Bri2hlam Young University
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in
many publications, including
Cricket magazine and The New
York Times.


Figure 3-4 The Reptile Room, biography page












LEMONY SNICKET was
born before you were and is
SlkcelN to die before you as well.
A studied expert in rhetorical
analysis, Mr. Snicket has spent
the last several eras researching
the travails of the Baudel:iire
orphans. His finding., are being
.'B published serially by Harper-
Collins.

Visit him on the Web at www.lemonysnicket.com

BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in New York City. He earned a
bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Brigham Young University .
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in 1
many publications, including -s
Cricket rnmazinc and T ce "..-
York Tihmes.



Figure 3-5 The Wide Window, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET grew
up near the sea and currently
lives beneath it. To his horror
and dismay he has no wife or
children, only enemies, associ-
ates, and the occasional loyal
manservant. His trial has been
delaN ed, so he is free to continue
researching and writing the
tragic tales of the Baudelaire
orphans for HarperCollins.
Visit him on thI& W at www.harperchildrens.com/lsnicket/
orE-mailto Irijckcr@h.irpere,.ilrs .coim
BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in New York City. He earned a
bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Brigham Young University
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in
many publications, including .
Cricket magazine and The a'.V
York Times.


Figure 3-6 The Miserable Mill, biography page

























the Baudelaire
lHarperCollins.


LEMONY SNICKET first
received his education from
public schools and private
tutors, and then vice versa. He
has been hailed as a brillmnc
scholar, discredited as a brilliai r
fraud, and mistaken for a much
taller man on several occasions.
Mr. Snicket's researching skills
are currently and devoutly
concentrated on the plight of
orphans, published serially by


BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, ULah. and now lives
in New York City. He earned a
bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Brigham Young University
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in
many publications, including
Cricket magazine and The .\'Ns
York Times.


Figure 3-7 The Austere Academy, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET',
cI .CXeiitnled t"flrtl.. it' die', .ierc
a- lic, wouid ldet lbc hin, ..-,

iltrir Lc ilrFit kwur.. imd i-i 1 ilir lghr
!Ter[len.in I_ ri .irulii~r1 l el l li
dep t'ipr r n h,'(. been cha!l IL' hi,.'
h.iof lrle. rt le l r cr( i ir i -
fli h-uC [I cc Ipij) fIlrr Ii rc cE.i rch

B:LudeIla!ic orph:nir .
17 ," ,.'?,, ., :,. ir e ,l sp v.:i e' li ) y r ,i"k c'. i-


BRETT HELQUIST wa K
b,-irn ir. Ganrado. Niz iia. grwct
Uip in ( .)rnli, tjii. Lind i 'ictl If' i
in Ne.% Oc, Canr ( He Vcirled :.-
b.iclIclur degree in fine arrt
fr'lirn Bll h.ilin l.n i ng inni efr-,
Aild 'iT. h II ll. irrnuraL I rin, etenr
.ri.c'. Hlis arn h., .-ppeared in
manv pubbeiari,.ns, inc.lu'jrniE
(t.'t,.i niagazine .ind 1 e _r
) ,.,t 7,,.,;,;


Figure 3-8 The Ersatz Elevator, biography page












LEMONY SNICKET
is the author of quite a few
books, all dreadful, and has
been accused of many crimes,
all falsely. Until recently, he
was living someplace else.






Visit him on dte Web at www.lemonysnicket.com


BRETT HELQUIST was
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now lives
in New York City. He earned
a bachelor's degree in fine arts
from Bngham Young University
and has been illustrating ever
since. His art has appeared in
many publications, including
Crid:e magazine and The New
York Times.


Figure 3-9 The Vile Village, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET
is widely regarded as one of
the most difficult children's
authors to capture and
imprison. Recently, he had
to give up on his hobbies due
to laws regarding musical
performances in mountainous
terrain. Most things written
about him are not true, but
this is.
Visitim on de Welbat www.lemonysnicket.com

BRETT HELQUIST was .
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew
up in Orem, Utah, and now
lives in New York City, where
among other noble pursuits, he
translates Mr. Snicket's obscure /
findings into the images that
help readers understand the
horror of the Baudelaires'
plight


Figure 3-10 The Hostile Hospital, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET
piili- ;h I I,; 1 ist book in 1999
inI, It I; i Ii hia. .t good :niiht',
'lecp 'IaLc. I-)n.e the recipient

lie i, n[II' I c>s..rpec of several
indi.tirig'ihdItbIle prisons. 1E.arl
in ir, lit'-,, Nlr Snir.kLt learned
to rciiphli'lcr Firiiniultrc. a skill
rh i rirned "ii i to he F.ir more
i pIF,-ru rii- rh III1 jr,'.'o, i II I jI111 ld


Visit him on the Web at www.lemonysnicBct.com


BRETT HELOUIST
was born in G.,. i.. d-i..,!. ,
and grew up iii Orem, Utah.
He uiiJicil lirnl r i h.,cc': ln an
Illi' tijint, but can't help
S..rndcrin iflic ih i.it hive
chosen to b *,-i(e c .If-.Ir cl1iili.
I;fci. like a p;r ire Dei.pirc the
risks, li- >otiniiuiLIC t,. translate
Lemony Snicket's odd findings
into unusual pictures.


J






. -

;-t


Figure 3-11 The Carnivorous Carnival, biography page












Until recently, LEMONY
S' SNIC K ET was presumed
to be "presumed dead."
Instead, this "presumed"
presumption wasn't
disproved to not be incorrect.
SAs he continues with his
Investigation, interest in
the B udclaire case has
Increased. So has his horror.

Visir im of the Web a www~emonvsnicket.com

BRETT HELQUIST
was born in Ganado, Arizona,
grew up in Orem, Utrjh, and
now lives in Brooklyn, New
York. He earned a bachelor's
degree in fine arts from
Brihani Young University
and has been illustrating ever
since. His work deciphering
the evidence provided by /
Lemony Snicket into
pictures often leaves him so
distraught that he is awake late into the night.


Figure 3-12 The ,'yv//i' Slope, biography page












LEMONY SNICKET
has received several citations
for bravery in the face of evil
and several more for caution
when bravery might have
proven to be more trouble
than it was worth. He was
last seen by witnesses who
Proved to be unreliable
Sand/or of a particularly
o suspicious nature. In his
spare rime he hides all traces of his actions.


BRETT HELQUIST
was born in Ganado, Arizona,
grew up in Orem, Utah, and
now lives in Brooklyn, New
York. In order to depict the
tragic lives of the Baudelaire
orphans, he uses broken
pencils, dried-up paint, and
boxes and boxes of tissues.


Figure 3-13 The Grim Grotto, biography page













LEMONY SNICKET
has been cll -rn IIllili the lives
of the Baudelaire children with
only occasional breaks for food,
rest, and court-appointed sword-
fil';hr. His hobbies include ner-
vous Ipprclcen'i,-,, increasing
- dread, and wondering if his
r e IItI e crle i.-lii after all.



Visit him on the zeb ..' a ,-~ Icrii r.. I iil-".C Li..,m.

BRETT HELOUIST was .
born in Ganado, Arizona, grew /
up in Orem, Ur ih, and now lives *
in Brooklyn, New York. He
earned a bachelor's degree in
fine arts from Bngrii.nt Young ,': .
University and has been illus-
crating ever since. Sometimes, -
he finds his work so distressing\
that he sends himself flowers,
but it never helps.


Figure 3-14 The Penultimate Peril, biography page









































Figure 3-15 The Grim Grotto, full page illustration, p.137














CHAPTER
Seven

K / ...".' ." ...







"Hello, I'm Larry, your waiter," said Larry, the
Baudelaire orphans' waiter. He was a short,
skinny man in a goofy clown costume with a
name tag pinned to his chest that read LKRRY.
"W\lcome to the Anxious Clo\ n restaurant-
where everybody has a good time, whether they
like it or not. I can see we have a whole family
lunching together today, so allow me to recom-
mend the Extra Fun Special Family Appetizer.
It's a bunch of things fried up together and
served with a sauce."
"What a wonderful idea," Captain Sham said,


Figure 3-16 The Wide Window, chapter illustration, p.95














CHAPTER

SSix








Priffrock Preparatory School is now
closed. It has been closed for many
years, ever since Mrs. Bass \as ar-
restcd for bank robbery and if you
S, were to %1s it no\v, \ \o X\OLild
find it an empty and silent place.
S If -you walked on the lawn, ~ou
would d not see any children running
around, as there wcre the dNa the
Baudelaires arrived. If you walked b[\ the
building containing the classrooms, \oui
would noc hear the droning %oice of Mr.
Remoia telling a story, and if youi walked


Figure 3-17 The Austere Academy, chapter illustration, p.83
















CHAP TER
-Six



-



In the very carl~ hours of the morning, while the
two elder Baudelaires struggled to find their
footing as they climbed up the V\rtical Flame
Diversion-and I sincerely hope that you did
not read the description of that journey-the
youngest Baudelaire found herself struggling
with a different sort of footing altogether. Sunny
had not enjoyed the long, cold night on 1 Mount
Fraught. If you have ever slept in a covered
casserole dish on the highest peak of a moun-
tain range, then you know that it is an uncom-
fortable place to lay one's head, even if you find
a dishtowel inside it that can serve as a blanket.
All night long, the chilly mountain winds blew


Figure 3-18 The \l/ipq i'y Slope, chapter illustration, p.103


11 : 111111 ............ .....















C H A P T E R

Eleven








Hoow pleasant that you could join us," the
hook-handed man said in a sickly s\\cet voice.
\iolet immediately tried to scurry back do\ n
the rope, but Count Olaf's assistant \\as too
quick for her. In one mnoement he hoisted her
into the tower room and, with a flick of his
hook. sent her rescue device clanging to the
ground. No\w Violct \\as as trapped as other sister.
"I'm so glad you're here," the hook-handed man


Figure 3-19 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.125














CHAPTER
Four








The Baudelaire orphans copied the puttanesca
recipe from the cookbook onto a piece of scrap
paper, and Justice Strauss was
kind enough to escort them to
the market to buy the neces-
sary ingredients. Count Olaf
had not left them very
much money, but the chil-
dren were able to buy '
everything they needed.
From a street vendor,
they purchased olives
after tasting several ':.







Figure 3-20 The Bad Beginning, chapter illustration, p.41







69


















'1Ni








,..r-
-4 .-% M E ,


















Fiur 3-2 Th adBgnnnfrn ndh









.-.oe



y




FR-o
-,.,.., ,y 1.:. P *" '


Figure 3-22 The Reptile Room,~~BB~~B~~BB~ front endsheet
































Figure 3-23 The Wide Window, front endsheet


Figure 3-24 The Miserable Mill, front endsheet







71




























Figure 3-25 The Austere Academy, front endsheet
--.,


Figure 3-26 The Ersatz Elevator, front endsheet













I'N



AIN


Figure 3-27 The Vile Village, front endsheet


Figure 3-28 The Hostile Hospital, front endsheet
































Figure 3-29 The Carnivorous Carnival, front endsheet


Figure 3-30 The \/lp'i'ey Slope, front endsheet








74



a

74,












J ', ',










,r





Figure 3-31 The Grim Grotto, front endsheet
Lr W ?'',/. ^1,"**"<'' ;, .^ <^,, */"*"-=


Figure 3-32 The Penultimate Peril, front endsheet















CHAPTER 4
LOST IN THE ARCHIVE

A Series of Unfortunate Events incorporates within its text and illustrations an

emphasis on surveillance and mistrust in objective information. These two foci would

appear contradictory. While Foucault outlines surveillance as ultimately an exercise in

power structuring, the immediate purpose of any surveillance is to gather some form of

information.1 Conversely, the internalization of surveillance is the attempt to withhold

potentially damaging information from the presumed spectator. The basic tenet behind

these practices is that observation may lead to some form of data, and the manipulation of

the data leads to power. The need that arises from these behaviors is a process through

which one may record and store said data, leaving it retrievable for future needs of

recollection and comparison. On the institutional level, this necessity is traditionally

believed to be fulfilled via some form of the archive. I propose that A Series of

Unfortunate Events provides an alternative approach to constructing the archive that still

results in an anxiety produced by relying on collected data.










1 Foucault acknowledges this need in his consideration of the Panopticon's Enlightenment roots. He writes,
"And this unceasing observation had to be accumulated in a series of reports and registers; throughout the
eighteenth century, an immense police text increasingly covered society by means of a complex
documentary organization." Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan
Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 214.









Articulating the difference between an archive and a library is difficult. For the

purposes of this study, Michael Cook's distinction in The Management of Information

from Archives proves most useful.2 He writes:

Archival material can be evaluated as a source as against other sources available
within the same institution. What is distinctive about the archives is the
circumstances of their origin, not the quality of the information they carry (which
may be great or little, as with other media). The definition of archives can
therefore concentrate on their origin within the creating agency. Archives are
information-bearing media which have been generated from within the
organization; library and documentation materials are information-bearing media
that were originally acquired from outside the organization.3

The critical delineation between the two is the source of their materials' origins. A

library may be hyper-specialized according to subject, but its contents are still the

provenance of exterior forces. An archive may be housed under the institution of a

library, but, even as a sub-collection, it is an assortment of data produced from the inner

workings of an institution.

In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the reader finds the Baudelaire orphans

encountering both the library and the archive. The library is especially omnipresent

within the texts. As the children bounce from one guardian to another, they encounter an

assortment of libraries that reflect the interests of their caretakers: a judicial library, a

herpetological library, and even a grammatical library.4 However, the series progresses,

and the frequency and quality of the libraries decrease. By the fourth novel, The

Miserable Mill, the library to which the Baudelaires have access contains only three

2 Michael Cook, The Management of Information from Archives, 2nd ed. (Hampshire, England: Gower,
1999).

3 Cook, 10.

4 Respectively, Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). Lemony Snicket,
The Reptile Room (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York:
HarperCollins, 2000).









books, a detail made plain in the vertical half-page illustration to Chapter Four that depicts

a wall with eighteen shelves, seventeen of which are completely barren (Fig. 4-1).5 The

decreasing quality and size of nearby libraries affords an example of yet another

unfortunate event encountered by the orphans. In The Miserable Mill, the reader is told

that

Whether it was Uncle Monty's library of reptile books, or Aunt Josephine's library
of grammar books, or Justice Strauss's library of law books, or, best of all, their
parents' library of all kinds of books all burned up now, alas libraries always
made them feel a little bit better. Just knowing that they could read made the
Baudelaire orphans feel as if their wretched lives could be a little brighter.6

When the Baudelaires lose the raw material needed to undergo the pleasure of reading,

their world becomes that much darker, especially as the world within the series depends

upon the presence of libraries and the dispersal of knowledge that they enable. Daniel

Handler has said in interviews that he likes "the idea of a universe that was governed

entirely by books."7 An example of this may be found in The Grim Grotto when Klaus

Baudelaire discovers a code utilized by the V.F.D. called Verse Fluctuation Declaration.

It functions via the assumption that there are certain familiar texts to any well-read

person, and the manipulation of those texts allow for an educated reader to discover a

message in their inconsistencies. Klaus finds this code in analyzing "My Last Wife" by

Obert Browning, clearly a reference to Robert Browning's "My Last Dutchess."8 In this

instance, the V.F.D.'s reliance on a consistent access to texts sows the seeds of its


5Figure 4.1 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 45.

6 Snicket, The Miserable Mill, 58.

7 Daniel Handler, interview by David Bianculli and Terry Gross, Fresh Air, National Public Radio, 10
December 2004.

8 Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 157.









undoing. Books are ephemeral, as seen in the increasingly inadequate resources to which

the Baudelaires have access, and the destruction of books means the destruction of

knowledge.

Of the two hundred eighteen illustrations, eleven feature books or shelves of books.

Nearly doubling that sum, an additional twenty-one illustrations highlight ticket stubs,

newspapers, maps, photographs, programs, and advertisements. I suggest that the

illustrations reflect a shift over the series from faith in the library to hope in the archive. I

do not qualify these scraps as evidence of an archive because they make a loose

collection of papers. I qualify them as such because they are all presumably documents

that have been manufactured by the V.F.D. and its agents. They are records of the

novels' representative institution. As inheritors and potential inductees into the V.F.D.,

the Baudelaires recognize these documents as aids in deciphering the mysteries of their

lives. As outlined earlier, I do not suggest that these collected papers are presented as

documents of any objective reality. There is a need for such manner of data, nonetheless.

A conversation in The Grim Grotto articulates the necessity:

"I think you Baudelaires are forgetting that your exploits haven't exactly been a
secret. Nearly everyday there's been a story about you in one of the most popular
newspapers."

"The Daily Punctilio?" Violet asked. "I hope you haven't been believing the
dreadful lies they've been printing about us."

"Of course not," Fiona said. "But even the most ridiculous of stories can contain a
grain of truth. The Daily Punctilio said that you'd murdered a man in the Village
of Fowl Devotees, and then set fires at Heimlich Hospital and Caligari Carnival.
We knew, of course, that you hadn't committed these crimes, but we could tell that
you had been there."9


9 Snicket, The Grim Grotto, 52-53.









Information exists, no matter the biases used to present it. It only exists, though, to serve

individual interpretation and needs. It is this role that makes the archive ineffectual as a

tool of an institution.

Instead, the reader is treated to an alternative mode of information gathering and

retrieval in the form of the commonplace book. The purposes of a commonplace book

through time may vary widely, but the Baudelaires utilize it as a place in which to house

documents and observations concerning activities and persons that may bear an influence

on their lives. The Baudelaires begin their commonplace book in The >/qipply Slope

when they witness the success to which their friend Quigley Quagmire puts it to use.10 He

explains its function:

"Whenever I find something that seems important or interesting, I write it down.
That way, all my important information is in one place."

"I should start one," Klaus said. "My pockets are bulging with scraps of paper."11

The personal filter needed in assembling a commonplace book implies both a

predetermined hypothesis in the handler's research ventures and a specific function for

the book's existence. The commonplace book also calls for a personal theory of

interpretation in order for the bearer to derive meaning.

The appearance of the commonplace book within A Series of Unfortunate Events is

by no means the first or the most famous example of this information management tool in

literature. Sherlock Holmes, the detective protagonist created by Arthur Conan Doyle,

leans upon his series of commonplace books beginning as early as his first appearance in




10 Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003).

1 Snicket, The Slippery Slope, 141.









the short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia."12 While searching for information regarding

the case, his friend Dr. Watson reports that

For many years he [Holmes] had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs
concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on
which he could not at once furnish information. In this case, I found her biography
sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff commander who
had written a monograph upon the deep sea fishes.13

It borders on the ridiculous to imagine the process through which Holmes could construct

such a comprehensive set and still leave time for his private investigations and cocaine

abuse. The mechanics of his archiving are of no concern. Holmes warrants mention

because of his unique, albeit fictional, standing in Victorian society. James W. Maertens

explains in "Masculine Power and the Ideal Reasoner: Sherlock Holmes, Technician-

Hero," that

He [Holmes] is not an official policeman or an official scientist; his power does not
derive from the state, and its machinery; he stands aloof from the military and
imperial commerce. But this is, of course, an illusory myth, a hope against the
reality of institutional power, which was already in the Victorian period well
advanced. The technical rationalization Holmes makes us feel so excited about, is
the foundation of the modern mechanized state.14

Sherlock Holmes hovers outside the confines of Scotland Yard, but Maertens argues that

he does so only in body. His methodology belongs in spirit to the administration within

its walls. However, this analysis misses a crucial component to the dynamism of the

great detective's modus operandi: his analysis of the technical. In "They Were the Very


12 Arthur Conan Doyle, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, vol. 1, ed. Leslie S. Klinger (New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, 2005), 5-40. "A Scandal in Bohemia," printed in the July 1891 Strand
magazine, is actually Holmes's third published appearance. The previous two publications in which he
featured were the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign ofFour.

13 Doyle, vol.1, 17.

14 James W. Maertens, "Masculine Power and the Ideal Reasoner: Sherlock Holmes, Technician-Hero,"
Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero, Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall King, and Sally
Sugarman, eds., (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996), 296-321, esp. 320.










Models of the Modern Information Age," James R. Wright presents Victorian England as

a country flooded with information courtesy of the time-saving mechanisms created

during the Industrial Age.15 He writes:

The world's first consulting detective lived in the midst of an information
explosion. However, the common image of the information explosion is
counterproductive. It confuses the capacity to transmit data with the capacity to
create information. The two are distinctly different as Sherlock Holmes
recognized.16

Data is but a tool for creating information. While Holmes convinces the reader to believe

that deductive reasoning leads to an objective truth, he is spoon-feeding an illusion. He

sends the data through his subjective interpretation. He can anticipate the many paths

that the data can take, and he chooses the most appropriate one to form his information.

Holmes is important in a discussion of the archive, as his idiosyncratic method is a

product of and a response to the nineteenth-century institutional efforts to harness the

many new strands of data being produced, a phenomenon detailed in Allan Sekula's "The

Body in the Archive.""17 Sekula's article, by examining nineteenth-century photographic,


15 "Newspapers and periodicals required extensive mechanization in order to accelerate and cheapen
production to meet the demands of a growing literate public. David Bruce's typecasting machine appeared
in 1850, and the completely revolutionary rotary caster of Frederick Wicks was patented in 1881. Sixty
thousand characters could be cast an hour, and the type was not broken up but returned to the foundry,
melted and recast. The Linotype machine was invented in America, but by 1900 it set many London dailies
and 250 other English newspapers and periodicals. Printing machines made rapid strides as well. The first
rotary press had been devised in 1846, and by 1868 a rotary machine printed The Times (London). Metal
blocks replaced wood blocks in the 1880s for line drawings, and halftone blocks to reproduce photographs
were extensively used in the 1880s.

The railroad grids carried London papers and periodicals to the provinces and the Continent, and provincial
and continental periodicals were returned to the metropolis. Faster than a speeding locomotive was electric
telegraphy. The first telegraph line between Paddington and West Drayton had been established in 1839,
and by 1870 the network of telegraphic communication was quite extensive." James R. Wright, "They
Were the Very Models of the Moder Information Age," Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern
Hero, Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall King, and Sally Sugarman, eds., (Lanham, Maryland:
Scarecrow Press, 1996),16-24, esp.16-17.

16 Wright, 17.


17 Allan Sekula, "The Body and the Archive," October 39 (Winter, 1986): 3-64.










phrenologic, and physiognomic practices, lays bare many of the philosophies and

approaches that specifically went into recording the criminal body. It suggests that

The camera is integrated into a larger ensemble: a bureaucratic-clerical-statistical
system of "intelligence." This system can be described as a sophisticated form of
the archive. The central artifact of this system is not the camera but the filing
cabinet.18

For Sekula, the camera merely gave a certain speed and supposed accuracy to already

burgeoning empirical practices in organizing data. A problem that the archive's

practitioners consistently encountered was reconciling individual entries' data with the

archive's dictated need for general assumptions.19 This challenge was, I feel, the result of

the archive's requirement to cater to questions from and of multiple individuals in an

institution over an unspecified period of time. The archive must function like the

Panopticon in giving the appearance that it can be generated and accessed by anyone.

For Sekula's criminal body, this need means that "it was only on the basis of the tentative

construction of a larger, 'universal' archive, that zones of deviance and respectability

could be clearly demarcated."20 "The Body in the Archive" demonstrates the relative

failure of any institutional archive to succeed in defining the criminal body. The article

also hints at another challenge to the archive. Sekula relates, "During the Commune, all



18 Sekula, 16.

19 Sekula writes, "Photography promised more than a wealth of detail; it promised to reduce nature to its
geometrical essence. Presumably then, the archive could provide a standard physiognomic gauge of the
criminal could assign each criminal body a relative and quantitative position within a larger ensemble.

This archival promise was frustrated, however, both by the messy contingencies of the photograph and by
the sheer quantity of images. The photographic archive's components are not conventional lexical units,
but rather are subject to the circumstantial character of all that is photographable. ... Clearly, one way of
'taming' photography is by means of this transformation of the circumstantial and idiosyncratic into the
typical and emblematic. This is usually achieved by stylistic or interpretive fiat, or by a sampling of the
archive's offerings for a 'representative' instance." Sekula, 17-18.

20 Sekula, 14.









city records prior to 1859 had been burned; any Parisian over twenty-two years old was at

liberty to invent and reinvent an entirely bogus nativity."21 If an institution places faith in

the archive, then the loss of that archive would significantly weaken the institution.

Therefore, the positioning of the Baudelaires and their ancestor Holmes with their

collections of data in the commonplace book as miniature institutions reveals the

advantages of a personalized archive. The assumed 'universal' archive needed for a

specific, individual search is considerably smaller than that which serves an institution,

especially considering that the institution's strength typically lies in its members'

ignorance of its workings. To possess a fully pragmatic archive, the past, present, and

future data needs of the institution must be guessed. This impossible task reveals an

unaccounted hole in the undertaking of surveillance. Again, the Baudelaires' and

Holmes's efforts may still be viewed as archives due to their associations with

institutions. The Baudelaires seek a fraction of data regarding the V.F.D. Holmes, as a

consultant to the police, is an institutional agent in his own way.22 However, they seek

only a percentage of the potential data.

Of course, this system of information collecting and retrieval functions far better in

theory than in practice. Any archive will fail to achieve its utopian state. To assemble a

personal archive examining a particular question via the commonplace book is to

hypothesize the results. This feat may be possible for the seemingly omniscient Holmes,

but it proves a greater challenge for three juveniles already striving to fend for

themselves. Also, the very basis of the commonplace book negates its physical presence.

21 Sekula, 34.

22 It could also be argued that, as the mature, learned, Victorian gentleman of leisure, Holmes is a
composite representative and member of a variety of institutions.









A recognition and acknowledgement of a previous encounter with the data being sought

is undertaken when resorting to its pages. It is a memory aid, for it can house the

information garnered from documents rather than the documents themselves. The

personal archive is at odds with the mission statement of institutional archivists, which

Heather MacNeil defines as "their professional calling to identify, preserve, and make

available for use records of enduring value."23 The institutional archive is the larder of

information-getting for generations to come, whereas the commonplace book is the

empty Mason jar of a single preserve. Its records are not less valuable; it simply has no

requirement to house the data that informs the resulting informational conclusions, in part

because said data is worthless without the accompanying subjective filter. This disposal

of data creates an immediate paradox: if data is ultimately fated as a transient waste

product, then how does one distinguish and collect it before its demise? While the

Holmesian model is less fraught with troubles than the traditional institutional archive, it

is not without its own anxiety-producing dilemma.

It is this dilemma that Brett Helquist's illustrations bring to the fore in the later

novels of the series. The imagery of the eye becomes less omnipresent as the plots move

forward, especially once the eye is identified with the V.F.D. institution. Data-bearing

scraps, however, replace the eye in its dominance within the illustrations. Helquist's

success in articulating the ephemeral presence of data stems from his visual elision of it

with refuse. In the second of The Miserable Mill's three full page illustrations, the

viewer sees the three Baudelaire children standing before the looming eye-shaped office



23 Heather MacNeil, Without Consent: The Ethics of Disclosing Personal Information in Public Archives
(Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1992), 5.









of ophthalmologist Dr. Georgiana Orwell (Fig. 4-2).24 In the immediate foreground,

lying in the street gutter, are the scraps of a discarded newspaper. At this juncture in the

storyline, the press has not issued its misinformation concerning the Baudelaires, as it

later will, evidenced by The Hostile Hospital's Chapter Two illustration of a tightly

bundled set of papers that read, "Baudelaire Butchers," and are ready for delivery (Figure

4.3).25 The difference between these two images is the presentation of the paper. In The

Miserable Mill, it is trash, its time spent and its use met. In The Hostile Hospital, the

stack of papers is prepared for consumption, their purpose not yet determined. The

bundle also has the benefit of repetition. It is not just one paper, and scattered remnants

at that, but it is eleven complete newspapers. Behind the pile is the potential for multiple

minds molded. The lifespan of the data, in this instance the data being a daily newspaper,

is indeterminate. It may be a matter of hours before it is pulp in the gutter, its purchaser

gone after a brief skim of the headlines. Or it may be housed for decades as a lone copy

in the storerooms of the publisher. In either instance, its contents may be obtained only

under the circumstances that the seeker has the time and means to procure a preserved

copy and that a notion of the desired topic's data already has been reached. Sherlock

Holmes has the benefit of idle time and disparate interests that prevent him from reaching

this state of anxiety and sense of urgency. For ingenue archivists like the Baudelaires,

these caveats present a hurdle.

In addition to the relative assignation of worth, Helquist's illustrations supply

unease as to the odds of survival and discovery of necessary data. The Baudelaires must

24 Figure 4.2 may be found on Snicket, The Miserable Mill, 125.

25 Figure 4.3 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Hostile Hospital (New York: HarperCollins, 2001),
21.









ascertain the location of their kidnapped friends in The Vile Village. Their friends,

Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, are hidden in the central fountain of the Village of Fowl

Devotees, the town that collectively adopts the Baudelaires. Their friends utilize the

flight patterns of crows to send S.O.S. signals to potential rescuers. This mode of

communication is a risky venture, a concern echoed in Helquist's work. The

accompanying illustrations to Chapters Four and Eight depict a feather with a message

wrapped around it and a message recently dropped by a crow, respectively (Figs. 4.4 and

4.5).26 In the second image, only the crow's feet are included. It is against a non-existent

background. If one were to consider the image alone, there would be no indication of a

planned destination. The scrap would seem to be as carelessly discarded as the molting

feathers surrounding it. If anything, Helquist's work is drawing attention to the text's

literary conceit. For the Quagmires to employ untrained birds over four consecutive days

to deliver messages to friends who can manage to decode them is almost asking the

reader to suspend too much disbelief. On this occasion, Helquist's illustrations almost

dispute the text. They emphasize the fantasy behind the story while still presenting the

dangers that face the collection of data, for the purposes of intuiting information, at every

turn.

Another tactic through which Helquist's illustrations demonstrate the ephemeral

nature of data is his substitution of irrelevant items in the frame where data was

previously found. The Vile Village's first and third full-page illustrations place the three

children against an overpowering sky that fills almost the entire frame (Figs. 4.6 and



26 Figures 4.4 and 4.5 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Vile Village (New York: HarperCollins,
2001), 69, 135.









4.7).27 In the first example, the children are posed with their backs to the viewer, and

they are waiting on a plain with their suitcases. Surrounding them is a bench, the faint

outline of a settlement on the skyline, an enormous cloud, a sign that reads "V.F.D.," and

crows. There are also scraps of paper, some of which are presumably newspapers. Three

pages later, the reader learns of The Daily Punctilio's erroneous identification of Count

Olaf as Count Omar.28 For the Baudelaires, the papers are irrelevant because they know

more than the data presented in the newspaper. They need not challenge its presence as

litter, as they have already considered it and placed its report through their perceptive

filters.

In the later full page illustration, it is the same low horizon with another dominating

cloud. Violet and Sunny have barely changed positions, but Klaus dominates the

foreground, as he bends forward to catch torn scraps of paper, the notations from their

friend's own journal. Because their trusted friends never shared their findings with the

Baudelaires, this data is untried, its value to their own pursuit not yet ascertained. In the

lower left corner, there is a copy of The Daily Punctilio with an advertisement that

proclaims, "Last Chance $2." This text serves multiple purposes. It, like Helquist's other

final full page illustrations, trumpets a detail of the subsequent book, for the children

begin The Hostile Hospital patronizing the Last Chance General Store.29 It editorializes

the children's decision at the conclusion of this novel to give up on guardian care. It also

remarks upon the urgency of Klaus collecting those sheets. Once gone, that data will not

27 Figures 4.6 and 4.7 may be found on Snicket, The Vile Village, frontispiece, 257.

28 Snicket, The Vile Village, 3.

29 Snicket, The Hostile Hospital, 3. The inference that can be drawn from the embedded foreshadowing in
the final full page illustrations is that Helquist is never completely ignorant of Handler's plans for later
books and, perhaps, an overview of the entire series.









easily be recoverable. Again, the temporary presence of necessary data flaunts unknown

future needs for information.

The additional commentary on these illustrations comes in the final full page

illustration of The Grim Grotto (Fig. 4-8).30 This book ends as the Baudelaires leave

Briny Beach, the site of the original announcement that their home had burned to the

ground, to enter an unknown course of action with a strange woman. While the story

clearly indicates that this exit occurs in a separate location from the plains of The Vile

Village, Helquist also gives visual cues. There is the retaining wall at the edge of the

beach, the waves lapping in the foreground, and a distinct metropolis deep against the

horizon. The composition of the image, however, repeats the previous two discussed.

The sky dominates the image with large clouds occupying much of the picture plane. On

this occasion, though, the rubbish on the ground does not provide any sort of data for the

Baudelaires or the reader. Granted, there is a bellboy's hat that reads, "Hotel D," but the

text has already indicated that their destination is the Hotel Denouement. Helquist's

work is not offering any tantalizing glimpse into the future novel. Also in the foreground

are a starfish and a beach ball. As the reader leaves with the Baudelaires from their

eleventh of thirteen novels, it becomes apparent that, in the span of the narrative, both the

data and the search for information are nearing an end. When there is the most crucial

need for data to resolve the Baudelaires' lives and to decode Handler's conspiracies, none

is available. This image highlights a further limitation to archiving through an individual

agent. Not only is data fleeting, irrelevant or indistinguishable from useless items, but

often there is none offered at all.


30 Figure 4.8 may be found on Snicket, The Grim Grotto, 325.









Of course, in many ways this reading relies on the assumption of data encoded in a

tangible form which is a vast contrast to the contemporary streams of binary code sent

from one electronic device to another. Bank accounts are linked to email accounts, email

accounts to address books, address books to phone numbers, and phone numbers to

cellular phones with global positioning systems. This web needs but one malevolent

force-be it a con artist, an identity thief, or a reckless government agency-to exploit its

potential. Additionally, the ever-growing capacity of computer chips to store these files

allows for a speedier search for creating an informational narrative. This state of affairs

is a far cry from the simplistic paper collections stuffed in Klaus Baudelaire's pockets. I

suggest that it is this pre-digital presence that relieves the anxiety that A Series of

Unfortunate Events otherwise creates.

The narrative occurs in an unspecified time and place. One can assume that its

environs are fictional, unless there is an allusive society that has escaped the global radar

thus far. Handler is careful never to include in his texts mentions of digital age

technology. There is one reappearing character, Esme Squalor, who obsesses over

societal trends. If any character within the books was to possess a laptop, a security

system, or an iPod, it would be her. Instead, Handler creates his own fads in which she

may indulge, as when she informs the Baudelaires, "Regular light is in-as in as aqueous

martinis, pinstripes, and orphans."31 Olaf never hunts down the orphans by tracing their

phone calls or presenting them with a credit card whose activities can be easily tracked.

Instead, he relies on a network of sympathetic spies. Helquist's illustrations not only

include pre-digital technology, but they add an extra emphasis to it. On two separate


31 Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 35.









occasions, in the representations of a rotary telephone and a telegraph, Helquist depicts

the instrument on a verso page with a frayed cord passing into the facing reverse page

(Figs. 4.9 and 4.10).32 It is not often that he utilizes the two page format, and it is

especially interesting that he chooses to do so for these machines. The frayed cord hints

at the ease with which they may be disconnected and serves as a sharp contrast to

unanchored cellular phones and email access. Instead of manipulating his images to

assign A Series of Unfortunate Events a specific time period, Helquist uses the non-

specificity to expand his subject range. In the final full page illustration of The Austere

Academy, the Baudelaires' friends Duncan and Isadora are shown being pushed by Olaf s

followers into an antique model car waiting to aid in their abduction (Fig. 4-11).33 In The

Carnivorous Carnival's frontispiece, Olaf s car is shown as a significantly more recent

automobile sporting huge tailfins (Fig. 4-12).34 Helquist's shuffling of possible time

periods alleviates anxiety for the reader since it allows for enough difference to place the

narrative in a time other than contemporary life. If anything, the illustrations skew the

novels into a more distant past than the text necessarily presents them. While Helquist

may be following Handler's lead in presenting a pre-digital society, his costume choices

for the protagonists on the cover of The Bad Beginning place them in a distinct contrast to

contemporary fashions (Fig. 4-13).35 Klaus's well-kept suit with its bowtie, Violet's


32 Figures 4.9 and 4.10 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York: HarperCollins,
2000), 54-55. Snicket, The Grim Grotto, 62-63.

33 Figure 4.11 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy (New York: HarperCollins, 2000),
223.

34 Figure 4.12 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins,
2002), frontispiece.

35 Figure 4.13 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999),
cover.









colored dress and stockings, and Sunny's dressing gown stand against today's more

common casual t-shirts, unisex shorts, and infant onesies.

Not only does the universe created by Handler and Helquist prevent anxiety from

reaching readers, but also the production of the books offers a further remove. It is rare

to see the novels marketed in anything other than their hardcover forms.36 When a film

adaptation of the first three novels was released, the tie-in books were simply the

traditional release with an easily removable, glossy, wraparound cover featuring film

stills. The floral endsheets and the Ex Libris plates provide a reference to older books

and compel the owners to preserve them in a collection. These details reference a degree

of permanence, and the hardcover, heavy paper, and stitched signatures provide the

means of maintaining a lasting presence.

A separation from the reader's own surroundings and a connoisseurial production

value obviously do not qualify as actual solutions to the archival complexities raised by

the texts and illustrations. However, the fact that the collaborative efforts hold even a

potential to raise these issues is intellectually ambitious in itself. They teach the reading

audience the shortcomings of the institutional archive. They encourage a thoughtful

contemplation of data sources. While they do not offer a perfect alternative to the

processes criticized, they nonetheless offer a glimpse of hope into breaking out of

panopticism. Data is subjective and ephemeral. The body is recorded by accepted forms

of data, so it may be as changeable as its records. Perhaps the most radical suggestion

raised by this series is the potential destruction of the institution. The Penultimate Peril

draws to a close as the Baudelaires have assisted their nemesis in burning down the last


36 1 am referring specifically to American editions.









headquarters of the V.F.D., a hotel organized according to the Dewy Decimal system. In

summation, Lemony Snicket remarks in his narration:

Richard Wright, an American novelist of the realist school, asks a famous
unfathomable question in his best-known novel, Native Son. "Who knows when
some slight shock," he asks, "disturbing the delicate balance between social order
and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities toppling?" It is a
difficult question to read, almost as if it is in some sort of code, but after much
research I have been able to make some sense of its mysterious words. "Social
order," for instance, is a phrase which may refer to the systems people use to
organize their lives, such as the Dewey Decimal system, or the blind-folded
procedures of the High Court. And "thirsty aspiration" is a phrase which may refer
to things people want, such as the Baudelaire fortune, or the sugar bowl, or a safe
place that lonely and exhausted orphans can call home. So when Mr. Wright asks
his question, he might be wondering if a small event, such as a stone dropping into
a pond, can cause ripples in the systems of the world, and tremble the things that
people want, until all this rippling and trembling brings down something enormous,
such as a building.37

The Baudelaires found their building. The question that remains is whether their fans

may one day, too.


37 Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 351-352.




Full Text

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HELQUISTÂ’S AND SNICKETÂ’S ALL-S EEING EYES: PANOPTICISM AND THE ARCHIVE IN A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS By LAUREN TURNER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Lauren Turner

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis could not have been comple ted without the help and support of many people. Anything of note within it is the result of the patienc e and guidance of my advisor, Eric Segal. My readers, Alex Al berro and Donald Ault, were also crucial in establishing it as a solid work. I would al so like to thank Meli ssa Hyde and Kenneth Kidd for serving as intellectual inspirations and role models. My peers Natalie Haddad, Leslie Anderson, Jason Frederick, Jaime Ba ird and Nicholas Frech each took on the particularly onerous task of walking me through the thesis year. Robyn Reese, my partner in existen tial crises, deserves special mention. Of cour se, none of my graduate experience would have been possible without the love and support of all my family and friends, especially my mother father, Meredith, and Cara.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF FIGURES.............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................vi ii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 RIOT IN THE PANOPTICON.....................................................................................5 3 INVISIBLE MEN.......................................................................................................27 The Author Versus the Illustrator...............................................................................27 LacanÂ’s Sardine Can...................................................................................................37 Ex Corporem Ex Libris...............................................................................................43 4 LOST IN THE ARCHIVE..........................................................................................75 APPENDIX A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS INSTALLMENTS IN ORDER OF PUBLICATION DATES.....................................................................106 BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................................................................................107 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................115

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v LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.27........................................................20 2-2 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.41........................................................21 2-3 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.133......................................................22 2-4 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography p.33......................................23 2-5 The Carnivorous Carnival chapter illustration, pp.101 and 103..........................24 2-6 The Slippery Slope chapter illustration, p.205......................................................25 2-7 The Penultimate Peril cover illustration...............................................................26 3-1 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography pp.16 and 17........................49 3-2 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography p.29......................................50 3-3 The Bad Beginning biography page......................................................................51 3-4 The Reptile Room biography page........................................................................52 3-5 The Wide Window biography page.......................................................................53 3-6 The Miserable Mill biography page......................................................................54 3-7 The Austere Academy biography page..................................................................55 3-8 The Ersatz Elevator biography page.....................................................................56 3-9 The Vile Village biography page...........................................................................57 3-10 The Hostile Hospital biography page...................................................................58 3-11 The Carnivorous Carnival biography page..........................................................59 3-12 The Slippery Slope biography page.......................................................................60 3-13 The Grim Grotto biography page..........................................................................61

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vi 3-14 The Penultimate Peril biography page.................................................................62 3-15 The Grim Grotto full page illustration, p.137.......................................................63 3-16 The Wide Window chapter illustration, p.95.........................................................64 3-17 The Austere Academy chapter illustration, p.83....................................................65 3-18 The Slippery Slope chapter illustration, p.103......................................................66 3-19 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.125......................................................67 3-20 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.41........................................................68 3-21 The Bad Beginning front endsheet........................................................................69 3-22 The Reptile Room front endsheet..........................................................................69 3-23 The Wide Window front endsheet.........................................................................70 3-24 The Miserable Mill front endsheet........................................................................70 3-25 The Austere Academy front endsheet....................................................................71 3-26 The Ersatz Elevator front endsheet.......................................................................71 3-27 The Vile Village front endsheet.............................................................................72 3-28 The Hostile Hospital front endsheet.....................................................................72 3-29 The Carnivorous Carnival front endsheet............................................................73 3-30 The Slippery Slope front endsheet.........................................................................73 3-31 The Grim Grotto front endsheet............................................................................74 3-32 The Penultimate Peril front endsheet...................................................................74 4-1 The Miserable Mill chapter illustration, p.45........................................................93 4-2 The Miserable Mill full page illustration, p.125...................................................94 4-3 The Hostile Hospital chapter illustration, p.21.....................................................95 4-4 The Vile Village chapter illustration, 69...............................................................96 4-5 The Vile Village chapter illustration, 135.............................................................97 4-6 The Vile Village frontispiece.................................................................................98

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vii 4-7 The Vile Village full page illustration, 257...........................................................99 4-8 The Grim Grotto full page illustration, 325........................................................100 4-9 The Wide Window chapter illustration, pp.54 and 55.........................................101 4-10 The Grim Grotto chapter illustration, pp.62 and 63............................................102 4-11 The Austere Academy full page illustration, p.223.............................................103 4-12 The Carnivorous Carnival frontispiece..............................................................104 4-13 The Bad Beginning cover illustration.................................................................105

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viii Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts HELQUISTS AND SNICKETS ALL-S EEING EYES: PANOPTICISM AND THE ARCHIVE IN A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS By Lauren Turner May 2006 Chair: Eric Segal Major Department: Art and Art History A Series of Unfortunate Events is a juvenile fiction seriescurrently second only to the Harry Potter series in salesthat chronicl es the lives of three orphans as they move from one guardian to another. The twel ve published novels of the planned thirteen installments each include eighteen to twenty images by illustrator Brett Helquist. This thesis examines the interactions between th e images by Helquist and the text by Lemony Snicket, the nom de plume of author Daniel Handler. Begi nning with a consideration of the eye iconography established in Helquist 's and Handler's collaboration, the images and texts are read against Michel Foucau lt's reading of the Panopticon from his 1975 Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison a key text in theorizing surveillance issues. The Snicket novels are seen to chal lenge some of panopticism's basic tenets, proposing alternative ways of conceiving surv eillance in relation to the physical body and the archival tactics needed fo r managing data. The combined effect offers its readers a mode through which institutional powe r may be weakened and destroyed.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A diabolical, fortune-seeking count, a secr et society, and an all-important sugar bowl: these are the elements that belong in (at worst) an hi storical thriller or (at best) a parody of a Merchant-Ivory film. Instead, these items are all contained in juvenile fiction’s most complex new series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This series chronicles the lives of three or phans in a pseudo-Victor ian, pre-digital setting. While much attention in the realm of cont emporary juvenile fiction has been given—and is increasingly being given—by journalists and academics to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, less consideration has been allocated to the literature produced in the boy wizard’s wake.1 Rowling’s efforts have produced bot h imitative novels and works written in reaction to the stronghold of her Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I propose that A Series of Unfortunate Events comes to terms with Harry Potter’s success by incorporating some of its pred ecessor’s more attractive elements while simultaneously establishing it as the rebellious sibling. I do not wish to construct this thesis as a critical interpretation of A Series of Unfortunate Events through Harry Potter, nor do I intend to mention the Harry Potter novels past th is introduction. I do, however, believe that it is important to make a brie f note of it to fully comprehend the phenomenon that is Snicket’s world. A Series of Unfortunate Events is, like the Harry Potter novels, a 1 This oversight needs to be corrected, especially in li ght of claims by scholars like Jack Zipes that Harry Potter leaves young readers with “functional literacy,” and a yearning only for books similar to the Harry Potter series. Jack Zipes, Sticks and Stones: the Troublesome Su ccess of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter (New York: Routledge, 2001), 188.

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2 best-selling series that could be criticized as merely a textual franchise, an exercise in consumerism labeled as literacy. Each new novel is heralded by pre-ordering campaigns, and they have been the source of a m ovie adaptation and merchandising tie-ins.2 Like books marketed to explain the mythologica l allusions in the Harry Potter novels, So You Think You Know Lemony Snicket and The Truth Behind A Series of Unfortunate Events: Eyeballs, Leeches, and Hypnotism –Exp loring Lemony Snicket’s World have emerged to test and catalog the extensive canon ical literary references in A Series of Unfortunate Events .3 Unlike Harry Potter, though, Snicket’s seri es presents its allu sions less as codebreaking exercises than as markers of its own literary pretensions and status. A Series of Unfortunate Events finds its protagonists with little control over their own lives and the puppets of a cruel fate, a far cry from the savi or-savant status of Ha rry Potter that enables his many miraculous escapes within his own world. Put simplistically, A Series of Unfortunate Events is the Dostoevsky to Harry Potter’s Dickens. Both may be enjoyed by the same pool of readers, but not as an effort to replicate exactly the reading experience of one another. Snicket’s works maintain their appeal and evade accusations of off-putting highbrow sensibil ities with his liberal use of silly and even ludicrous aspects in his darkened, contemplative world. While much is deserving of research in A Series of Unfortunate Events this paper hopes to bring to light and examine the ex emplary fashion in which it utilizes the 2 For the film, see Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events dir. Brad Silberling, 1 hr. 48 min., Paramount Pictures, 2004. Books that accompanied the film and the series include Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: Behind the Scenes with Count Olaf (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events : The Puzzling Puzzles: Bothersome Games Which Will Bother Some People (New York: HarperCollins, 2004). 3 Clive Gifford, So You Think You Know Lemony Snicket? (London: Hodder Children’s Press, 2004). Lois H Gresh, The Truth Behind a Series of Unfortunate Events: Eyeballs, Leeches, Hypnotism, and Orphans – Exploring Lemony Snicket’s World (New York: St. Martin ’s Griffin, 2004).

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3 repeated collaborative efforts of its aut hor and illustrator. Although the American editions of Harry Potter also offer a conti nuous matching of J.K. Rowling and illustrator Mary GrandPre, their interactions of text and image lack the am bitious undertakings found within A Series of Unfortunate Events .4 Brett Helquist uses his illustrations for Daniel Handler, the pseudonymous Lemony Snic ket, to heighten and enrich continued themes of surveillance culture and arch ival techniques found embedded within the novels. Helquist’s and Handler’s work is a ra rity of illustrative collaborative efforts. Traditionally, art historical concerns do not tend to acknowle dge illustration as an area worthy of extended study, especially the illu strations found in juvenile fiction. To research a particularly accomplished illust rator within the genre is task enough, but pairing him or her with an author over exte nded efforts is especially trying. Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel worked in concert for both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass but no further Alice books followed, and their partnership ended there.5 L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow made it through a single Oz installment, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before parting ways.6 Roald Dahl’s texts are often matched with works by Quentin Blake, but none of them could qualify as a true series. Maurice Sendak’s and Dr. Seuss’s i llustrations receive considerable notice, but the fame of each is the result of picture books which they authored themselves. Brett Helquist and Daniel Handler have not simply paired up fo r repeated installments in an ad 4 For very limited information on GrandPre, see Deepti Hajela, “Artist makes Harry Grow,” The News and Observer 9 March 2005, sec. E. 5 For more on Carroll’s and Tenniel’s correspondences, see Martin Gardner, “Notes,” The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000). 6 For more on Baum and Denslow, see Michael Patrick Hearn, “Introduction,” The Annotated Wizard of Oz: Centennial Edition (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000).

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4 hoc sequence of works utilizing the same pr otagonists. Instead, they have worked together for thirteen books, a collection con ceptualized from the start as a continuing series. Because, in their collaborations, Brett Hel quist illustrates HandlerÂ’s works after the completion of the texts, it is tempting to at tribute to Handler the lionÂ’s share of the seriesÂ’s success and intellectual daring. In the following pape r, I hope to present Helquist not only as an illustrator whose images are wort hy of particular attention, but also as a crucial force in presenting the theoretical di scussions at work w ithin the series. I examine his and HandlerÂ’s inclusion of the organ of the eye with in their iconography as an engagement with and, ultimately, a rejection of some of the basic tenets in FoucaultÂ’s panopticism. I then consider the illustra tive methods through which they negate the permanence and indexicality of the physical body. By demonstrating its malleability and the inability to rely on documentary processes to record the body, they separate it from its role of identifying personality. I conclude by locating an anxiety about the institutional archive, an unavoidable concern in the face of the premium that Helquist and Handler place on subjective knowledge, understanding, and presentation. Therefore, I examine some alternatives to the ins titutional archive that the books pr esent, but they are tentative solutions also fraught with complications.

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5 CHAPTER 2 RIOT IN THE PANOPTICON The Series of Unfortunate Events is an intended series of thirteen books for juvenile to young adult readers.1 The first novel within the series, The Bad Beginning makes it clear that the series was con ceived as a type of ongoing proj ect with its first edition’s subtitle, Book the First .2 One may assume that the se ries will conclude with the thirteenth book, as the most recently released twelfth novel is entitled The Penultimate Peril .3 In addition to these even tual thirteen novels, there ha s been a supplementary text, Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography .4 This study will focus primarily on the actual book series entries wi th an additional examination of Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography but it should be noted that the film and merchandising tieins are all noteworthy in that they maintain the idiosyncratic, postm odern ironic tone of the series. The twelve novels available thus far have been releas ed over a period of six years, from 1999 to 2005. Many of them have reached best-seller status, spawning preordering campaigns, special bookstore displays and fan websites. In fact, with 46 1 However, its success, and the very fact that this th esis is being written about it, could easily suggest that many adults are reading the books also. Nonetheless, it is published by the children’s imprint of HarperCollins. 2 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). If the subtitle is not convincing enough, it may help to know that Daniel Handler reporte d that he “wrote down the first chapter of The Bad Beginning and summaries of the first three books an d she [his editor] went into HarperCollins and I received a contract to write four bo oks.” Anne Marie Tobin, “Series of Unfathomable Triumphs; With 46 Million Sold, Lemony Snicket Books Leave Principal Conspirers Giggling,” The Record 28 October 2005, sec. D. 3 Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005). 4 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002).

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6 million copies sold and distribution to over fort y countries, they have been heralded as a “phenomenon within ch ildren’s literature.”5 The series is presented as reports on the we lfare of three orphan ed siblings: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. The narrator of the texts is also the alleged author, Lemony Snicket. The true author of the texts is Daniel Handler, a man that can only be identified as Snicket’s “representative” on HarperCollins’s website and through later newspaper stories and books written when the series attained widespread fame.6 As such, Lemony Snicket is presented not merely as a pseudonym, but as a pseudopersona, a concept which will be considered at length later in this study. Snicket claims he is investigating the whereabouts and fates of the Baudelaire children whose parents perished in an unexplai ned fire. The myster ious Count Olaf is assigned guardianship of the Baudelaires, bu t they are removed from his care when it becomes known that he only seeks access to their inherited fo rtune. He and his henchpeople continue to darken the Baudelair es’ doors in various disguises as they are shunted from one ineffectual, incompetent guar dian to another, none of whom they recall their parents ever actually knowing. As the series progresses, the Baudelaires begin to suspect that the fire that killed their pare nts and destroyed their home was a case of arson, especially as they continue to encounter ot her victims of such acts. Their confusion increases when they learn of the existence of a secret organization known as the V.F.D. which they discover stands for “Volunteer Fi re Department.” In the midst of their 5 For figures, see Tobin’s article. “Phenomenon in ch ildren’s literature” is found in Fiona Looney, “Profile: Snicket’s Tell-Tale Heart Exposed,” The Sunday Tribune 26 December 2004, 14. 6 There are countless news articles that can be referenced here. For the full selection, see the Bibliography. The website may be found at A Series of Unfortunate Events < http://www.lemonysnicket.com/ index.cfm?border=classic > (7 March 2006).

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7 uprooted lives and woe-filled existence, they attempt to understand the V.F.D.Â’s connection to these many fires and Count OlafÂ’s role in relation to the crimes. Their investigation is complicated when they learn of their parentsÂ’ past membership in the V.F.D. and the organizationÂ’s great schism Throughout the series, Snicket interjects allusions to his sorrowful history that incl udes his personal involvement in the V.F.D., a deceased love, and the deterioration of his own family so that the reader perceives that this figure has a vested interest in the Ba udelaireÂ’s fate. By the twelfth novel, the Baudelaires are juggling the ta sks of escaping from Count Ol afÂ’s evil plans, proving his guilt, finding a home, joining a faction of the V.F.D., and understanding their family heritage and history. It is SnicketÂ’s voice that is especially unique. Alternat ely confiding and didactic, it plays upon its protagonistsÂ’ unparalleled sufferi ng. The tongue-in-ch eek lightheartedness that Snicket sometimes displays, serves to simultaneously parody such a style. On The Bad Beginning Â’s back cover, the reader finds a letter from Snicket that reads: Dear Reader: IÂ’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale a bout three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baude laire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, conti nuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say that they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, th e three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disa strous fire, a plot to st eal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast. It is my sad duty to write down these unpl easant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing. With all due respect,

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8 Lemony Snicket While Snicket lends a certain degree of ridicu lousness to his tale in likening itchy clothes and cold porridge to be on the same level of tragedy as a “disastrous fire,” he nonetheless honestly outlines the expect ations of the story. Thr oughout these twelve novels, the Baudelaires have yet to find safety and security within the adult worl d. In explaining that the young reader who prefers happy tales should pursue another novel, Snicket implies that one who reads these books pr efers tales of misery, woe, and unpleasantness. It is a sort of challenge to the young reader: sh e who consumes the text can claim an unflinching ability and maturity to handle sad stor ies, or at least stories in which her peers are struggling against adult law. Alternatively, she is calli ng Snicket’s bluff, adhering to the narrative to see if Snicket eventually breaks his promise and delivers happiness. In The Bad Beginning the reader is introduced to Count Olaf and his accoutrement of the eye. Olaf has an eye tattooed on his left ankle, and his home contains decorations which include the eye. Brett Helquist’s illust rations follow this lead and bring attention to the eyes in a variety of guises, be it th e extreme focus on Olaf’s own eyes, the lack of eyes in a deceased fish, or the synecdoche of Olaf using just his tattooed ankle, to name a few (Figures 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3, respectively).7 Of the two hundred eighteen illustrations created thus far for the series, there are at least twenty-six i llustrations that contain this peculiar eye disembodied, alone, and in human form. At least an additional eighteen show the eye in extreme close-ups or in clude objects unnaturally anthropomorphized with eyes. These selections make for fort y-two illustrations, over twenty percent of the 7 Figure 2-1 may be found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning 27. Figure 2-2 may be found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning 41. Figure 2-3 may be found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning 133.

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9 entire series’s select ion. These numbers also do not in clude illustrations that draw attention to the eye by blocking it from view using eye patches, masks, or helmets. While the rapid developments of technology of the past century may enable societies in reaching new levels of survei llance, a respect for the power behind vision— the basic practice and concept of surveillan ce—is age old. The ev il eye and its enduring hold in European folkloric habits should be proof enough of a long regard for the aggressive power of the organ of vision.8 Vision, or the lack ther eof, is also used as a powerful impetus in literary narrative traditions. The ancient Greek myth of Oedipus finds its hero blinding himself in his moment of absolute helplessness and desperation. It takes a temporary curse of b lindness to transform the persecu ting Saul into the preaching Paul in the Christian tradition. Of course, these two examples involve only episodic mentions of the eye’s potency; they do not address the effects inhe rent in a sustained campaign of watching. Even the evil eye o ffers a consideration of only a malignant glance. Art and literature are not without their refe rences to the omnipresent gaze, however. Major literary works of the past century use the eye as a touchstone for moral judgment, irresponsible power, and inescapable enemies. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) has its characters’ actions monitored and, in sharing the role of the reader, judged by the eyes of the billboard advertisement for optometrist Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. Winston Smith of George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) finds little opportunity for escape from the visage of Big Brother, the public relati ons poster boy emblematic of the technology that actually can track Winst on’s actions. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy 8 For general information on the evil eye in folklore studies, see Amica Lykiardopolous, “The Evil Eye: Towards an Exhaustive Study,” Folklore 92, no.2 (1981): 221-230.

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10 (1954-55) offers a spin on Winston’s pers ecutor in its figure of Sauron, the primary antagonistic force that is ofte n described in his present form as only an eye that was, “rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, ye llow as a cat’s, watchf ul and intent, … the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing.”9 These literary examples linking the eye a nd surveillance are important to mention in light of the fact that they precede Michel Foucault’s hypothesis of surveillance and its effects on society in his 1975 study Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison .10 In examining the Enlightenment and Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, a plan for a modern prison, Foucault understands the e ffectiveness of surv eillance to lie in an uncertainty in its operation. The Panopticon was a prison that was to be constructed with its cells facing a central tower. The central tower’s windows were to be set at angles so that the prisoners would be unable to determine if they themselves were under scrutiny at any point in time. This plan would eliminate th e need for the chains and dark dungeons of the past which attempted to translate power into physically repressive measures.11 If there is always a possibility that one is the subject of a gaze, then one will modify his behavior accordingly. Foucault writes: He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play simultaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. By this very fact, the external power may throw off its physic al weight; it tends to the non-corporeal; and, the more it approaches this limit, the more constant, profound, and permanent 9J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994), 355. 10 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995). 11 Foucault, 200.

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11 are its effects: it is a perp etual victory that avoids a ny physical confrontation and which is always decided upon in advance.12 This thesis does not possess the breadth need ed to do justice fully to the nuances of FoucaultÂ’s argument, nor does it necessarily endorse them all. It does need to be mentioned, though, that in considering the gaze as an uncertain or invisible presence, Foucault removes the potency of the physical organ of th e eye in the surveillance discussion. It could be argued that, because He lquist uses the eye to give surveillance a physical presence and serve as its constant reminder in illustrative form, this iconographical campaign fails to meet FoucaultÂ’s model on its basic argument of invisibility. I do not wish to confuse or e quate the eye with the gaze. However, I do believe that the continued illustrative inclusion of the eye serves as a symbolic reminder of the surveillance cameras, permanent school records, and Internet cookies that the young readers of the series encounter on a daily basis. While Foucault might object to an acknowledgment of the presence of this form of disciplinary power, I do not know that he would scoff at its use symbolically in illustrate d literature. Of course, this argument is a double-edged sword; the illustrations are depicting the world of the Baudelaires, which would suggest that, on the level of the narr ative, some of them are not functioning symbolically; they are physically present in th at world. However, the fear that they first inspire in the Baudelaires, a nd the eyeÂ’s initial ties to Count Olaf, the embodiment of power and discipline in their lives in the fi rst few books, smacks so much of FoucaultÂ’s theories that I believe they are meant, in the beginning, to suggest his surveillance society. 12 Foucault, 202-203.

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12 Where the novels begin to stray from F oucault’s model actually occurs with the introduction of various institutions that the Baudelaires encounter. At the heart of Foucault’s theory is the idea that the i nvisible mechanisms of power function so efficiently because they flow together from institution to institution. For example, immunization records may be required for schools, academic records may be required for employment, and wage documentation is requir ed for taxation. F oucault explains that On the whole, therefore, one can speak of the formation of a disciplinary society in this movement that stretches from the enclosed disciplines, a sort of social ‘quarantine’, to an indefinitely genera lizable mechanism of ‘panopticism’. Not because the disciplinary modality of power has replaced all the others, but because it has infiltrated the others, sometimes undermining them, but serving as an intermediary between them, linking them together, extending them, and above all making it possible to bring the effect s of power to the most minute and infinitesimal distribution of the power relations.13 Foucault uses this observation to end on the not e, “Is it surprising th at prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospi tals, which all resemble prisons?”14 The Baudelaires do encounter a variety of institutions: school, a lumber mill, a hospital, a scout troop, to name a few. However, each institution they enter is penetrated by some force of the V.F.D. The V.F.D., in its infiltration of an array of institutions, serves as an embodiment of panopticism and disciplinary society. It observes individuals across institutional boundaries, it gathers and organizes data, and it attempts to impose its codes of conduct within society. Despite its symbolic poten tial, though, one cannot i gnore that the V.F.D. has a physical presence in the wo rld of the books. It is a secr et society combined with a volunteer fire department. Nonetheless, at the moment in the tenth book that the V.F.D. 13 Foucault, 216. 14 Foucault, 228.

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13 is revealed to the Baudelaires as a volunt eer fire department, the imparter of this information admits that it still “seems to stand for many things.”15 While the V.F.D. rules the Baudelaires’ world as the net holding together the factories, schools, barracks, and hospitals, its function as a secret society does impart to it some potential to continue to f unction as Foucault’s invisible net of disciplinary relations. In the combination of a somewhat secret orga nization with the image of an eye, one must consider the obvious parallel that this me lding has to Freemasonry. Freemasonry is, according to Clement M. Silvestro, Carol E. Gordon, and Barbara Franco in The Masonic Tradition in the Decorative Arts : An oath bound fraternal and benevolent a ssociation of men whose purpose is to nurture sound moral and social virtues among its members and all of mankind. Freemasons use the simple tools of the ancient stonemasons – the square and compass, trowel and plumb, among others – as symbols in their teachings. Morality plays, rich in allegory and sym bolism, form an impo rtant part of their ritual. Belief in a Supreme Being, the Brotherhood of Man, and compassion towards others are primary requis ites for admission to the Craft.16 Freemasonry can sometimes be tempting to dism iss. Its ties to ritual, its uncertain practices, and even its connections to spiritua lism can appear to remove it from the realm of sound argumentation.17 However, its influence with in history, especially in the development of the United States, is wit hout question, and the V.F.D. brings to mind aspects of generalized knowledge of it. Freemasonry provides a link between the historical world and the books’ fictional V. F.D. in its veiled practices, its secret 15 Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 166. 16 Clement M. Silvestro, Carol E. Gordon, and Barbara Franco, The Masonic Tradition in the Decorative Arts (Utica, New York: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1980), 5. 17 For more on its ties to spiritualism particularly, see C.W. Leadbeater, Freemasonry and Its Ancient Mystic Rites (New York: Gramercy Books, 1998). For gene ral information on Freemasonry in American history, see Silvestro, Gordon, and Franco.

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14 membership, its symbolic appropriation of the eye, and its pervasive presence. I am not suggesting that Handler and He lquist are making Freemasonry a direct referent of the V.F.D. or using this series as commentary on its “Great Archite ct.” I am simply suggesting that this fraternal order makes an effective parallel to th e V.F.D., not because the V.F.D. has in its literary realm any dogmatic agenda, but be cause Freemasonry and the V.F.D. share iconography and influence in a variety of institutions. The Freemasons possessed the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye, a nd this symbol continues to function as a reminder of the power they once held in its appearance on the American dollar bill and the United States Great Seal.18 In fact, “Masonic ties a nd patriotism were so closely entwined in the period following the Revolu tion that they virtually merge in popular usage.”19 Decoding the eye within A Series of Unfortunate Events will not offer new clarity towards the Masonic All-Seeing Eye. Like the preponderance of allusions within the novels, though, the eye within the series a llows for a blurring be tween internal and external histories. The mys tique of Freemasonry, coupled with its incredible influence on multiple social planes during the Enlightenment, illuminates an argument for seriously attributing great potential power to a fictit ious volunteer fire department. Because the Panopticon, the model from which Foucault begins building his argument, is an Enlightenment idea, it is noteworthy to conn ect it to other Enlight enment forces that helped to build nation-states. I do not wish to belabor the potential similarity of the V.F.D. to Freemasonry, but acknowledgement is necessary that there may be actual 18 For explanation concerning the All-Seeing Eye, see Silvestro, Go rdon, and Franco, 22. 19 Silvestro, Gordon, and Franco, 16.

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15 precedents of alleged institutions which functi on, whether intentionally or not, as a type of invisible disciplinary net. It is crucial to establish the V.F.D. as the central institution within the series because of its association with the eye. While in the first ha lf of the series, the two only seem suppositionally paired. However, the ninth book, The Carnivorous Carnival reveals that the eye may also be used as an insignia, an insignia that is shown throughout the supplementary book Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography that was published in the same year (Fig. 2-4).20 Snicket relates in The Carnivorous Carnival : At first glance, the painting on the fortune-te llerÂ’s tent seemed to depict an eye, like the decoration on Madame LuluÂ’s caravan and the tattoo on Count OlafÂ’s ankle. The three children had seen similar eyes wh erever they went, from a building in the shape of an eye when they were working in the lumbermill, to an eye on Esme SqualorÂ’s purse when they were hiding in a hospital, to a huge swarm of eyes that surrounded them in their most frighteni ng nightmares, and although the siblings never quite knew what these eyes meant, they were so weary of gazing at them that they would never pause to l ook at one again. But there ar e many things in life that become different if you take a long look at them, and as the children paused in front of the fortune-telling tent, the painting seem ed to change before their very eyes, until it did not seem like a painting at all, but an insignia. An insignia is sort of a mark that usually stands for an organi zation or a business, and the mark can be of any sort whatso ever. Sometimes an insignia can be a simple shape, such as a wavy line to indica te an organization c oncerned with rivers or oceans, or a square to indicate an or ganization concerned with geometry or sugar cubes. Sometimes an insignia can be a sm all picture of something, such as a torch, to indicate an organization th at is flammable, or the th ree-eyed girl outside the House of Freaks, indicating that people who were unusual in some way were on display inside. And sometimes an insi gnia can be part of the name of the organization, such as the first few letters, or its initialsÂ…. It [the painting on the tent] was not an im age of an eye, as it appeared at first glance, but an insignia, standing for an organization the children knew only as V.F.D.21 20 Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins, 2002). Figure 2-4, just one example of the insignia, may be found on Lemony Snicket: the Un authorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 33. 21 Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival 119-121.

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16 Preceding this excerpt is the beginning illustratio n of the chapter depicting the tent itself. Instead of assuming the form of the organ, the eye is now shown as a graphic that spells out V.F.D. The eye cum insignia is rendered so as to be easi ly disguised within the folds of the tent, an important visual concession on HelquistÂ’s part since he must re-image some of the eyes that had previously app eared when he repeats them in his later illustrations (Figure 2-5).22 For instance, the eye becomes the insignia in later renderings of its appearance on Count Ol afÂ’s ankle (Figure 2-6).23 While this elision does not negate the surveying power of the eye, it does make plain that the su rveying is a specific tactic of the V.F.D. Singling out a single institution is not the only method through which A Series of Unfortunate Events differs from FoucaultÂ’s panopticis im and the disciplinary regime for which it stands. The key difference that it demonstrates is the reaction that the Baudelaires hold towards the eye in the seriesÂ’s second half. At a poi nt, they realize they must take their lives into thei r own hands and break rules to pursue justice. They set out on their own, and they make decisions accordi ng to their consciences and not societal laws. They become pursuers; they become watchers; they even become arsonists themselves on one occasion. They stake th eir claim on the Panopticon, as part of its effectiveness is the ability of anyone to partake in its disc iplinary potential. However, they are no longer intern alizing its mechanisms. They ar e not binding their decisions to a fear of societal retribution. Granted, their decisions leave them outcasts in the world of the books. They are framed for murder and pur sued by the police. Their lives lack any 22 Figure 2-5 may be found on Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival 101 and 103. 23 Figure 2-6 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 205.

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17 form of stability. On the level of the r eader, though, they are heroes. The books, in placing the Baudelaires against the nefarious Count Olaf, naturally position them as sympathetic characters. And if enough of the readers can accept the Baudelaires’ rejection of panopticism and the sacrifices i nvolved therein, then it is possible that the seeds of a revolution will be sown, or, at the very least, a heightened awareness and wariness of surveillance society. Because the novels revolve around a time when the V.F.D. is almost destroyed by internal feuding between t hose who start fires and those who put them out, the Baudelaires realize instead that they mu st gain the upper hand not by rejecting surveillance entirely, just by rejecting panopticism. Alt hough they no longer internalize the expectations of the eyes watching them they must go on a campaign of watching for themselves, for purposes that will be outlined in the later “Lost in the Archive” chapter. Nowhere is their need made more clear th an in Helquist’s cover illustration for The Penultimate Peril (Fig. 2-7).24 The cover illustration is framed like all of his full-page illustrations. The frame is rectangular with a rounded ar ched top. Like all the covers, but unlike his full-page illustrations inside the book, the upper left a nd right corners show circles in which the Baudelaire children and a burning house are pi ctured, respectively. The frame’s borders are filled with red and orange flames a nd thorny, curving lines. Two banners announce that the book is part of A Series of Unfortunate Events and that this installment is Book the Twelfth by Lemony Snicket The effect makes for an en tranceway into the world of the illustration—an invitation to join the narr ative, but, as the flames and thorns would 24 Figure 2-7 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), cover.

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18 suggest, not too inviting a gree ting. The red and orange of the frame is echoed in the orange of the spine and in the BaudelairesÂ’ uniforms in the illustration. While the frame may serve to distinguish the i llustration as part of a separate plane, the consistency of coloring maintains an integrated effect be tween the cover image and the book itself. In the image, the Baudelaires stand waiti ng at a hotel concierge desk surrounded by eleven suspicious-looking passers-by. The people depicted, Baudela ires included, typify HelquistÂ’s caricaturing approach to the human form. To accentuate the childrenÂ’s chubby cheeks, their mouths and chins are almost non-ex istent. If a stranger, such as the one in the lower left foreground, has a square chin, then Helquist depicts it so square as to seem physically impossible. The Baudelaires domin ate the image in terms of color. Their exactly matching uniforms allow for their dynami c red and orange to be repeated three times, whereas the surrounding guests are decked primarily in mute blues, browns, and roses, and none have their wardrobes duplic ated. The Baudelaires Â’ skin tone suggests that they are in the peak of health, while th e other figures tend to have death-like gray skin colors. Because they rule the softer, br ighter palette colors, the viewer is drawn to the Baudelaires first, despite th eir presence in the middle ground. The true accomplishment of this cover illustration is the detached effect that Helquist achieves. The image is bustling and almost overcrowded with figures. However, none of them are interacting. They may be glancing suspiciously away from themselves, but their lines of sight rarely seem to go anywhere specific. This is a sustained campaign of watching, but nobody seem s to understand what they are meant to seek. The Baudelaires participate in this endeavor, but they escape such criticism because Helquist illustrates them wearing s unglasses. There is no way to determine if

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19 they are viewing the “correct” happenings. Of course, as the cover illustration, one encounters this image before the plot is e xperienced and repeatedly throughout reading, so there is no way of knowing upon the firs t examinations of this image what the “correct” happenings can even be Helquist places a remind er of the world that they inhabit—and a commentary on the Baudelaires attentive state behind their sunglasses—in the feather of a hat. The feather comes fr om a woman wearing a magenta hat on the right of the illustration, but the feather terminates immediately in front of Sunny. Imprinted on its end is another of those ubiqui tous eyes. It is a further sign that the figures in the image are not simply milling in the lobby; th ey are engaged in a contest of attaining power through surveillance. The end effect of the cover illustra tion and the Baudelair es’ rejection of panopticism is a weakening of the institution’ s disciplinary powers. However, with it comes a fragmenting of society. The V.F.D., fo r all the inference that a reader may draw from the plots, is as fraught with mystery as it is complexity. Often, its members are unidentifiable unless they reveal themselves or are given away. Its goals are inscrutable, especially as the organization is broken into factions at the time of the tales. As the illustration illuminates, there is not a force uniting together unwitting members; at the very least, if there is such a force, it must be sought and found. Participation within the V.F.D. is dictated less by its institutional gui delines in its moment of weakness. There is a new attention to the individual and the power that the individual must now exercise. The following chapter will consider presentatio ns of the individual and agency within A Series of Unfortunate Events

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20 Figure 2-1 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.27

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21 Figure 2-2 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.41

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22 Figure 2-3 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.133

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23 Figure 2-4 Lemony Snicket: the U nauthorized Autobiography p.33

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24 Figure 2-5 The Carnivorous Carnival chapter illustration, pp.101 and 103

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25 Figure 2-6 The Slippery Slope chapter illustration, p.205

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26 Figure 2-7 The Penultimate Peril cover illustration

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27 CHAPTER 3 INVISIBLE MEN The Author Versus the Illustrator Earlier in this examination, a claim wa s made for Lemony Snicket being not a pseudonym but a pseudopersona. Daniel Ha ndler acknowledges in an interview the problematic nature of referring to Lemony Sn icket as a pseudonym. He explains, “I should say that I’m not sure pseudonym is ex actly right, because th e character of Lemony Snicket, this man who speaks di rectly to the reader and also who is tangentially involved in the stories he’s telling, is really more of a character.”1 Adrian Room, in his A Dictionary of Pseudonyms and Their Origins states that the word pseudonym makes its earliest appearance in The Oxford English Dictionary in 1846.2 He goes on to report that the most recent definition of it is a “fictitious name, especially one assumed by an author,” adding that “fictitious” is defined elsewhere again as “assumed.”3 It is interesting to note that in a treatise con cerned exclusively with pseudonyms, Room is wary to denote the pseudoof pseudonym as in any way false or fictitious, perhaps because it implies a separation from the “origina l” author. Stating that it is simply an assumed name on the part of an author suggest s that the power and ta lent in the assumed 1 Daniel Handler, interview by David Bianculli and Terry Gross, Fresh Air National Public Radio, 10 December 2004. 2 Adrian Room, A Dictionary of Pseudonyms and Their Origins, with Stories of Name Changes (Jefferson, North Carolina: 1989), 5. As interesting as it would to complete a study of why the word appears so late in history, it is not the place of this paper to do so. 3 Room, 5.

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28 name is still inherent in the “original” persona lity, for it is merely another facet of that figure, usually employed for utilitarian purpos es. Sometimes the purpose is to escape gender prejudices, as in the case of the Br ont sisters’ Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. 4 In other instances, the name is used to ridicu le or lend weight to an argument as with Benjamin Franklin’s journalist pe rsonas Silence Dogood and Busy-Body.5 In the case of juvenile literature, pseudonyms are sometim es used because the books are, as Annie Russell Marble writes, “the work of writers for adults, in serious vein, who have found relaxation in these juveniles.”6 While Marble may sugarcoat what would be better described as a necessity when experimenting within a belittled genr e, her recognition of separate personalities within th e genre is fair, as seen in the Oxford don/mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson turning to the name Lewis Carroll for his Alice books and other nonsense-centered fiction. It would be tempting to ascribe this ra tionale to Handler’s adoption of Lemony Snicket, as Handler has penned novels for adult readers.7 To do so would be to describe Lemony Snicket as merely a nominal artifice. However, Lemony Snicket is the centerpiece of the series’ program. He is a ch aracter, a tragic hero, a “documenter” of the innocent. Snicket is as much at the mercy of Handler as any other character within these literary creations. Following the success of the series, Snicket has even became 4 These names refer, respectively, to Charlotte, Emily, and Ann Bront. Room, 89. 5 Welford Dunaway Taylor, The Newsprint Mask: The Tradition of the Fictional Journalist in America (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State Un iversity Press, 1991), 7. 6 Anne Russell Marble, Pen Names and Personalities (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1930), 162. 7 Daniel Handler, The Basic Eight (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 1999). Daniel Handler, Watch Your Mouth: A Novel (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000). Daniel Handler, Adverbs: A Novel (New York: Ecco, 2006).

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29 synonymous with a writing style: the false cauti onary voice designed to drag a reader into fascination with Snicket’s miserable, fragmented, but inherently false life.8 Snicket is more than a character within the series, though. He blurs the line between author and narrator. Handler further constructs the pers ona through the inscripti ons to Snicket’s lost love Beatrice preceding each installment.9 There is also his investigative detritus in the form of water-logged letters, torn napkins, and typed notes that ends each book while piquing interest for the next. There are even photographs of silhouetted strangers positioned next to each of Snicket’s biographies, suggesting that there is an actual being with an actual image that could be captured we re Snicket not such a wily fugitive. He is a persona in that there is documentation of the cultural artifacts that he has allegedly left in his tracks. In fact, it would seem that Snicket is ultimately the apotheosis of a “person” under twenty-first century surveillance society: an identity observed through items usually considered mere evidence, and conveniently lacking an “actual” physical presence. He is completely reducible to archived documents. The presumption of Snicket as anythi ng other than a tool of Handler is problematized within the series’s accessory book Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography Within this text, Handler makes an appearance as himself in the guise of Snicket’s legal representative and the author of the text’s “Introducti on.” At first glance, this inclusion of Handler unde r his given name would appear to advance the illusion of 8 In Paul Feig’s autobiography Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin Feig begins the particularly humiliating chapter “ Please Do Not Read This Chapter” by wr iting, “Seriously. Don’t. I am not trying to be cute or provocative by telling you this. I do not ask you to avoid this chapter because I’m trying to be clever. I am not trying to be Lemony Snicket. I really don’t want you to read this.” Paul Feig, Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005), 255. 9 “For Beatrice – No one could extinguish my love, or your house.” Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), dedication page.

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30 Snicket as a separate personality. Howeve r, the writing style that Handler employs within the introduction’ s first paragraphs so closely mi mics Snicket’s style that the relationship between the two iden tities is made plain to the reader. For example, Handler writes that “The origins of the Unauthorized Autobiography are somewhat cryptic—a word which here means ‘enigmatic.’”10 Within the texts of the actual series, Snicket constantly defines words within their cont ext as seen in the second paragraph of The Bad Beginning when he writes, “Occasionally their pa rents gave them permission to take a rickety trolley—the word ‘rick ety,’ you probably know, here m eans ‘unsteady’ or ‘likely to collapse’—alone to the seashore…”11 Handler also appears listed as the legal representative on Lemony Snicket’s website.12 Were Snicket’s styl e not so recognizable and idiosyncratic, perhaps the relationshi p between Handler and his pseudopersona would not be so obvious. It is, though. Add itionally, Snicket’s evasion of the view of institutional authorities—a facet deemed impossible by the eye iconography discussed previously—allows his role as a disguise a dopted by Handler to be easily discovered. Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography begins with Handler’s “Introduction,” thus esta blishing in the reader early in the te xt distrust in the artifacts that are employed throughout the Autobiography to validate Snicket’s identity and life story. The documents presented are so dubious th at this disbelief co ntinues undeterred. Facsimiles of sheet music are reprinted in th e first chapter for an alleged popular ballad, 10 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), ix. 11 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 2. 12 A Series of Unfortunate Events < http://www.lemonysnicket.com/index.cfm?border=classic > (7 March 2005).

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31 “The Little Snicket Lad.”13 Any person, child or adult, w ith the most rudimentary ability to read music can tell that the lyrics have been indiscriminately matched—or, more aptly, mismatched—to the notes (Fig. 3-1).14 In regard to the ballad presented, Snicket writes, “But lyrics are not proof; photographs are.”15 However, he then goes on to add, “If I can find it, I will paste a photograph on this pa per at the age I was taken [kidnapped by the V.F.D.]. (If I can’t find it, I will paste a phot ograph of someone else of more or less the same age.)”16 Not only does Snicket’s hilarious na rration cast the material evidence as unreliable, but the photographs from other chapters—photographs that he is not given credit for submitting—demonstrate that all such examples are untrustworthy. In a collage of photographs that are purportedl y contemporaneous to one anot her, the reader sees that they should not be able to coexist (Fig. 3-2).17 The fashions within the photographs indicate figures presumably from th e 1920s, the 1940s, and the 1960s. These inconsistencies place typically reliable documentary sources such as those found in The Unauthorized Autobiography —news articles, photographs, transcribed conversations—in opposition to the notion of an objective truth. Such a belief in documentary as a distinct genre from poetry or belles lettres is no revolutionary pr oposition. However, documentary, despite academia’s problematizing of its biases, is ofte n considered as at 13 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography 9, 12-19. 14 Figure 3-1 may be found on Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, 16-17. 15 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography 16. 16 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography 16. 17 Figure 3-2 can be found on Lemony Snicket: the Unau thorized Autobiography 29.

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32 least a consistent point of view, whether or not “real.”18 The collection of Snicket’s life’s documents is anything but consistent; it is haphazard, disjointed, and inadequate. It is Brett Helquist’s role in the series th at enables a model of subjective truth to be revealed. This provides an alternative to th e newly revealed fallibility of documentation and material evidence. In The Bad Beginning his biographical blur b contrasts sharply with the information provided for Le mony Snicket. Snicket’s reads: Lemony Snicket was born in a small town where the inhabitants were suspicious and prone to riot. He now lives in th e city. During his spare time he gathers evidence and is considered something of an expert by leading authorities. These are his first books for HarperCollins.19 Helquist’s box, on the other hand, offers sp ecifics instead of generalities, and its straightforward presentation highlights the tong ue-in-cheek nature of Snicket’s biography. It includes: Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, grew up in Orem, Utah, and now lives in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Brigham Young University and has been illustrating ever since. His art has appeared in many publications, including Cricket magazine and The New York Times .20 Incidentally, these facts may be confirmed out side the realm of the books on the basis of published interviews with him.21 Helquist’s role as strai ght man lessens as the series moves forward. In fact, by the time that Lemony Snicket’s construction hinges more on 18 William Stott advances a definition in Documentary Expression and Thirties America that “documentary – whether in film, photograph, writing, br oadcast, or art – is a genre as dis tinct as tragedy, epic, or satire, but a genre unlike these in that its content is, or is assumed to be, actually true.” William Stott, Documentary Expression and Thirties America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), ix. 19 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning 165. 20 Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning 165. 21 Marin Decker, “Utahn is Feeling Fo rtunate about ‘Unfortunate Events’,” Deseret Morning News 17 December 2004.

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33 documentary references, Helquist’s biography does not emphasize traceable statements as much as his first blurb. In The Carnivorous Carnival his information claims: Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Ariz ona, and grew up in Orem, Utah. He studied hard to become an illustrator, but can’t help wondering if he might have chosen to become something safer, like a pi rate. Despite the risks, he continues to translate Lemony Snicket’s odd find ings into unusual pictures.22 The reader is still given basi c information in the form of his birthplace and hometown, but gone are the educational achievements, his current lo cation, and listed titles for finding his previous works. The Carnivorous Carnival was published the same year as Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography As Lemony Snicket, the established pseudopersona, gains supposed specificity in his increased amount of traditionally acceptable forms of documentation, Helquist sh eds his presentation of any real data. Helquist’s adjoining self-portraits are additional commentary and guidance on this thorny presentation of a documented identity (Figs. 3.3 – 3.14).23 Snicket's biographical box with its blurry pho tograph is located immediately above Helquist’s box with his drawn self-portrait. Helqui st’s fashionings always matc h the books thematically but sometimes only tangentially so. While the a ssociation may be plain when he depicts himself as a measles patient for The Hostile Hospital the association is not immediately apparent when he portrays hi mself as Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Children in The Carnivorous Carnival It could be argued that Helqui st’s choice to match his self-portraits to aspects of the books is merely an imitative tactic to inco rporate himself into the narrative like Lemony Snicket. This argument could certainly be s upported when one considers the letter within 22 Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 289. 23 His self-portraits, figures 3.3 – 3.14, are numbered so that they follow their presentation within the series.

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34 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography labeled from Helquist Artist Services that begins: Dear Mr. Snicket, I am very sorry to report th at I arrived too late to ma ke any sketches that might clear your name or provide any informati on on the survivor or survivors you think may exist.24 I feel that this inclusion is actually more indicative of Daniel Ha ndler’s great admiration for Brett Helquist. On the series’s official website, Helquist’s information is included prominently in the main menu under “The Ill-Fa ted Illustrator.” In an “Introduction” to an edited anthology marketed for the juvenile fiction audience, Handl er, in the guise of Snicket, again opts to have He lquist illustrate the work.25 However, even if my speculation that Helquist has become enmeshed in the narrative via Handler’s desire to share credit with his illustrato r is incorrect, Helquist’s self -portraits nonetheless offer an alternative to the model of Snicket’s constr uction. Helquist never illustrates himself within the story; he simply matches the presenta tion of himself to an aspect of the story. For example, The Grim Grotto finds the Baudelaire orph ans on a quest involving a submarine and deep-sea diving. Helquist’s self-portrait at the conclusion of The Grim Grotto shows him as peg legged, Captain Ah ab-type figure (Fig. 3-13). While submarines and Moby Dick are both inextricably acquainte d with the sea, it would be a stretch to imagine them sharing a narrative. His self-portraits recall aspects of the texts, but not the plots. 24 Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 182. 25 Lemony Snicket, “Introduction,” Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out ed. Ted Thompson (San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2005).

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35 Helquist never repeats the same self-portrait. It may be that he varies his image to avoid boredom. Barring specifi cities of a contract, though, it is still worthwhile to remember that each self-portrait does requi re separate work for him to complete. Considering the average eighteen illustrations that he creates pe r book, using these selfportraits to keep him excited and occupied seems excessive on a level of productivity. One must remember that, over the ye ars that he has been illustrating A Series of Unfortunate Events he has also illustrated two ma jor juvenile fiction books and has authored and illustrated his own pi cture book, among many other commissions.26 This series has in no way been his sole endeavor or source of income. In this light, I believe the array of personalities that he uses to depict himself is an effort to describe himself in an assortment of subjective perceptions. Artists have traditionally utilized self-portraits for a variety of reasons.27 Selfportraits offered a chance to observe human physiognomy wit hout hiring a model. This genre of painting typically allowed freedom from patronsÂ’ demands, permitting an artist to use an independently created self-portra it as a vehicle for thematic and technical explorations that may have displeased a buyer. An artist could also include a self-portrait within a larger work as a form of his signature. Howe ver, after the advent of photography and the perception th at it was superior to the human hand at capturing the 26 Blue Balliett, Chasing Vermeer (New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2004). J.V. Hart, Captain Hook: the Adventures of a Notorious Youth (New York: HarperCollins, 2005). Brett Helquist, Roger, the Jolly Pirate (New York: HarperCollins, 2004). 27 For more on self-portraits, see S ean Kelly, and Edward Lucie-Smith, The Self-Portrait: a Modern View (London: Sarema Press, 1987).

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36 world, the self-portrait increasingly became th e method through which an artist explored her psyche or social identity.28 Helquist’s self-portraits, each presumably completed at the time of the other book illustrations, offer him a variety of guises and ages. The similarities are not immediately apparent until close examination, and even then they contain only slig ht similarities. A long nose and large ears become evident, but the portraits do not picture Helquist consistently within the frame to aid these de tections, as do the imag es of the Baudelaires and Olaf in the Ex Libris plates to be discussed later. In The Austere Academy a young boy wearing a dunce cap presents the viewer with his back as he sits in a corner (Fig. 37).29 This image is of particular note because, unlike the traditional concern over the human face being included in the self-portra it, there is no emphasis upon this feature of the body. Instead, the figure is dwarfed by the chalkboard with the in correct mathematics problem on the left in the image. The only indi cation that this scene is the self-portrait of a grown man is the biography box to the right of it that describes adult achievements. I do not mean to suggest that Helquist is fragmenting his personality in a belief that he really is a lumberjack, a tailor, and a hotel maid simultaneously (Figs. 3.6, 3.8, 3.14).30 Instead, I feel the variety of images suggests the array of selves th at he could choose to be. His self-portraits are the balm to the a nxiety created by other i llustrations within the 28 Erika Billeter writes, “A self-por trait is not a commissioned work. Th e patron is the artist himself. Every self-portrait is a moment of truth, for the artist does not have to make concessions to anyone. If he does depict a pleasantly idealized version of himself, th en he does so intentionally… Every self-portrait is a dialogue with the ego.” Erika Billeter, ed., Self-Portrait in the Age of Photography: Photographers Reflecting Their Own Image (Bern: Benteli AG, 1985), 8. 29 Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 225. 30 Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill (New York: HarperCollins, 2000 ), 197. Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 263. Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 357.

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37 series and the loss of the indexical physic al image. Among these other images are anthropomorphized material objects with eyes. Helquist and his work s suggest at a basic level that biological creatures with the capac ity to see are no more perceptive than the objects their eyes consider, as the next section shall demonstr ate. As the books conclude with his self-portraits, however, he demons trates that it is self-perception that is a uniquely human trait, and one through whic h the young readers may be empowered. This revelation does not eradicate the concern ove r the loss of a physic al presence and the potential for documenting it. His self-portraits serve as an example that the manipulation of the human body comes as the result of choice. Were he a tailor, he may indeed require glasses from the strain caused on eyes staring at stitches. It is possible that, to be in the position of a colonial captain undergoing mu tiny, he would be found in a powdered wig (Fig. 3-5).31 Albeit, these are superficial and ridicu lous examples, but they still indicate how the bodyÂ’s physicality is manipulated. It is manipulated by choices, though. Underneath all of these images, there is a tr uth. Unfortunately for documentation, it is a subjective truth. Ultimately, an individual is more than a collection of cultural artifacts. In fact, those artifacts only present one constructed view of a personality. The contrast of Helquist's multiple and pliable visions of himsel f are a contributing factor to the failure of HandlerÂ’s Snicket-ruse being anythi ng more than a stylistic choice. LacanÂ’s Sardine Can At this juncture, it is evident that su rveillance, independence of disciplinary powers, and a heightened sense of subject ive understanding are key factors within A 31 Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 217.

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38 Series of Unfortunate Events The examples of the eye in the series’s iconography considered thus far are predominantly concer ned with disembodied eyes, their ties to the V.F.D., and the capacity for ignoring and hijacking surveillan ce’s power. These instances of the eye’s appearance fail to ad dress the many times that it appears attached to non-human subjects or anthropomorphized form s. It would seem that its function in these instances make it little more than a symbol to inspire dread. However, these occasions actually reveal it, at one level, to be symbolic of the utter foolishness of connecting it with dread. Only human agency can invest it with any power. I hope to used Jacques Lacan’s writings not to provide a Lacanian reading of these appearances, but to provide a starting point to some observation concerning its function. In a lecture entitled “The Line and Li ght” on the fourth of March, 1964, Jacques Lacan presented its attendants with an anecdote from his days as a young scholar.32 He described a vacation during which he accompan ied fishermen to sea on their boat. One of them pointed to a floating sardine can in the water and asked Lacan, “You see that can? Do you see it? Well, it doesn’t see you!”33 Lacan then described to his students the discomfiture the remark produced within him, explaining it as a commentary on the different life paths that he and the fishermen tr od. He could not fit in to their “picture” of life; he wrote, “The picture, certainly, is in my eye. But I am not in the picture.”34 Through these thoughts he began to elaborate his philosophy of the screen as interruption in the geometral relation betw een objects. The purpose of c onsidering his remarks is not 32 Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1981), 91-104. 33 Lacan, 95. 34 Lacan, 96.

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39 to elucidate his meaning of each of these terms. It is instead to grasp those illustrations within Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events that do not strictly conform to the initial iconography of the eye but that support and enhance illustrator Brett Helquist’s program nonetheless. Lacan’s anecdote would in a very literal sense seem to strangely fit Snicket’s prose, a prose that spans everything fr om quoting Richard Wright’s Native Son to describing a hotel organized according to a Dewey Decimal system. After ruminations on the constructions of triptychs, a philosophical consideration of the ocular abilities of inanimate objects would not be too much to ask of his young fans. Therefore, when the second full-page illustration of The Grim Grotto depicts young Sunny Baudelaire standing in an underwater cave next to a sard ine can, it merits atten tion and offers a nice reference point to Lacan’s anecdote, regard less of Helquist’s intention (Fig. 3-15).35 It provides a reference to a framework through which one can make sense of Helquist’s smiling hamburgers, peering eggs, a nd scowling radios (Figs. 3.16, 3.17, 3.28).36 The eyes are not the unorthodox aspects of these images. Eyes riddle the books. What distinguishes these is their seeming se paration from the conspiratorial V.F.D. organization. Nonetheless, how does one come to terms with the jam on nondescript toast outlining an eye (Fig. 3-18)?37 Lacan explained later in his “The Line a nd Light” lecture that the gaze could exist independent of the eyes. He stated: 35 Figure 3-15 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 137. 36 Figure 3-16 is found on Snicket, The Wide Window, 95. Figure 3-17 is found on Snicket, The Austere Academy 83. Figure 3-28 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Hostile Hospital (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), front endsheet. 37 Figure 3-18 is found on Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 103.

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40 Looking at pictures, even those most lacking in what is usually called the gaze, and which is constituted by a pair of eyes, pictures in which any representation of the human figure is absent, like a landscape by a Dutch or a Flemish painter, you will see in the end, as in filigree, something so specific to each of the painters that you will feel the pres ence of the gaze.38 In his qualification “in which any representa tion of the human figure is absent,” Lacan ties the pair of eyes to the body, leaving no true model for representations of the eyes as separate from the body, as encountered in these illustrations in question in A Series of Unfortunate Events This omission begs the question: can the eyes exist independently of the gaze? It is possible to consider the g aze without eyes, but it seems unlikely that the eyes can do anything but coexist with the gaze. They are too heavily loaded with shared associations. However, in an illustrati on depicting Count Olaf ’s art collection in The Bad Beginning Helquist takes his viewer through a history of art st yles, all as demonstrated via the eye (Figure 3-19).39 In it, there is the cubist eye, the Pop Art eye, and the Pointillist eye. There is a por trait of a man whose head is no thing but an eye. There is even a Persistence of Memory parody in which Salvador Dali’s melted watches have become eyes. Considering that the lect ure “What is a Picture?”—which immediately followed “The Line and Light”—included Lacan’s defense of resorti ng to art criticism and history to differentiate between the eye and the gaze, it is interesting Helquist utilizes the same areas to deepen his iconographic program. That this image appears in the first instal lment of the series, in which the majority of the illustrations are concerned with overtly connecting Count Olaf to the eye, is particularly significant. Gran ted, the text establishes thes e works as displayed in his 38 Lacan, 101. 39 Figure 3-19 is found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning 123.

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41 home’s tower, so there is a precedent for incl uding them and an associ ation with Olaf. It is these objects that even allow Snicket to claim, “It was a terrible place.”40 However, they lack the raw power of an earlier chapte r illustration depicting a close-up of Olaf’s eyes, or another in which an anchovy’s usele ss, dead eye heightens its helplessness (Fig. 3-20).41 The art collection illustration does not align the eye with power, except perhaps by its association with connoisseurship. In positioning the eye against the stylistic fashions of art making, Helquist shows the organ as adaptable a nd thus controllable. Negotiating the power of the eye as organ at tributes elasticity symbolically to the power of the eye as gaze. When Lacan took th e time to make his poi nt that the gaze can be seen in non-human forms, he silently assumed and argued that people naturally connect it to the eyes. He tr ied to distinguish the two. A Series of Unfortunate Events has no need; if these books can elide the eyes with the gaze easily to the benefit of their themes, why enter this theoretical terrain? When Helquist manipulates the organ in Figure 3-19, he opens the potential for the ga ze throughout the rest of the series. While in the first installments the Baudelaire orphans may be at the mercy of Count Olaf and his henchpeople as represented through the eye, it loses its power of intimidation when they discover its connection to the V.F.D., an or ganization that their beloved parents once supported. The eye never loses its power comp letely; simply put, ownership of the power of the eye is lost. By the twelfth installment, The Penultimate Peril the reader finds both good and bad supporters of the V.F.D. spying on one another.42 The Baudelaires are 40 Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 125. 41 Figure 3-20 is found on Snicket, The Bad Beginning, 41. 42 Snicket, The Penultimate Peril 309, 314.

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42 enlisted as concierges and flaneurs at the Hotel Denoueme nt, purported site of the final power struggle. Upon reaching this point in the series, a viewer may return to images like Figure 3-19 and further comprehend their po werlessness. Count Olaf is prisoner to the gaze as much as the Baudelaires, as his crimes have him pursued by the opposing faction of the V.F.D. He also suffers for his lapses in being the seer. In The Penultimate Peril Olaf repeatedly proclaims, “I always wondered how you did that,” when seeing the Baudelaires turn to tricks that they used to escape from his actions in the past. Had he truly been all-seeing, he coul d have intervened, but he wa s the product of his own gaze; he saw what he desired, three helpless orpha ns, and as such took no precautions. It is through Olaf’s unconscious desire and tran sference—he is an orphan himself and helpless without his followers—that the difference between the gaze and the eye’s powers of sight begins to be outlined within the series. What significance do these interpretations have on Figure 3-18’s toast? They show the inability of either the eye or the gaze to function without a being attached. Images of eyes may alternatively boost and destroy the characters’ self-confidence in the series. They may remind of Olaf’s success and failu re in tracking the children. They may symbolize the hope and disappointment the Baudelaires hold to wards their various ignorant guardians. Attached to a piece of toast, though, they still only recall emotions. The real damage comes when Olaf’s physic al presence murders their Uncle Monty or when Aunt Josephine’s cowardice leaves them vulnerable to outside forces. Ultimately, these iconographic eyes are nothing without human consciousness and unconsciousness behind them. Figure 3-18 reminds the r eader that unprocessed vision and knowledge

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43 matters as little as toasted bread.43 Its effects will be as fleeting. It also offers the iconography’s potential to users of all ages. An innocent five-year-old may apply jam in the outline of an eye as easily as a diabolic al villain. These illu strative examples still encourage the Baudelaires’ rejection of panop ticism. They also suggest that simple surveying is not enough to invest the Baude laires with new-found power. Again, just because the Baudelaires are no longer intern alizing institutional powers does not mean that they are safe. To truly match the effo rts being placed against them, the Baudelaires must be matching action to their sigh ts, and inference to their findings. Upon consideration of issues of the ey e and the gaze, the illustrations with seemingly inexplicable eyes serve a dual purpos e. Their foreignness via their inanimate, unthinking states highlights the need for information archivin g and processing. They also stand in contrast to anthr opomorphized objects in other children’s fiction wherein the anthropomorphosis requires a corresponding anim ation of the object. Their simplicity, and the potential suggested therein, forces these needs into the realm of the child reader, a topic which will be considered in the “Lost in the Archive” chapter. Ex Corporem Ex Libris Agency is obviously a battle that th e protagonists and antagonists within A Series of Unfortunate Events must wage. Power does not come simply through surveillance. It comes through subjectivity and a willingness to take risks. This requirement is made visually apparent in the illust rated Ex Libris plate located on the front endsheets of each installment. 43 For the purposes of this argument, there is a purposeful disregard of the toast, the smiling hamburger, and the eggs in consideration with their potential for nour ishment. It would be tempting to argue that they achieve an effect of food fear, but the texts’ mul tiple inclusions of Sunny’s cooking abilities under duress plainly support the necessity of eating under all circum stances, even if the food is looking at the eater.

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44 Within each of the entries of A Series of Unfortunate Events the reader is faced on the front endsheets with a pre-printed facsimile of an Ex Libris plate. The Ex Libris plate is more commonly found in the collections of readers who need to maintain order in significant numbers of books, always sure that their property can be associated with its initial collector as a sign of identity and prope rty. The Ex Libris plate is often also commissioned and produced by the collector; it is atypical to fi nd a facsimile of one already included upon a book’s endsheets. It is often utilized in various forms by university libraries, a vast cry from the tr aditional stereotypical crayon sprawl normally located in the front pages of a “children’s” book. Asid e from their idiosyncratic presences, these are not illustrations to be igno red within the Snicket series. Set against a busy, decorative background of floral figures and voluted leaves on the endsheets, the dark shadings and hatchings by Helquist em erge from the clean white background of the Ex Libris box (Figs. 3.21 – 3.32).44 In each book, the Ex Libris plate is constr ucted identically to the previous novels. In a circle at the top of the plate, the vi ewer finds the heads of the three Baudelaire orphans, the youngest in the front and the el dest in the back: Sunny, often biting the circle; Klaus, glancing sidelong at the viewer; and Violet, w ith her hair pulled back, but her mouth and chin obstructed by Klaus's hair. Contained within an identically framed circle at the bottom of the box is Count Ol af. Around each of these medallions is a curving vine of thorns, the upper vine cont aining a banner which reads "Ex Libris." Between the two hedges sits the line instruc ting, "Name." The implicit argument is that this book will be unique with an identity attached to it. It is a particularly convenient 44 Like the self-portrait figures, all of the series’s Ex Libris are listed as successive figures 3.21 – 3.32. They proceed in the books ’ chronological order.

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45 effect considering the seriesÂ’s best-selling st atus, a way of separating oneÂ’s property from the hordes of published tomes circulating. However, considering the first novel was originally published with HelquistÂ’s illustrations and there was no way to predict the success that it would garner, it is a dubious argument to claim the pseudo-Ex Libr is plate serves as a mere denotation of property, especially under th e consideration that succe ss of children and young adult books often rely on the good word of mouth of lib rarians. In such institutions, this plate would only serve to remind readers of its communal status, ex cepting the uninhibited, rebellious borrowers who may try to mark it as their own regardless. The plate serves a narrative role, in addition to as sisting the collection and incorporation of books into a pr ivate collection. It serves as a visual benchmark to keep the projected thirteen volume work organize d by major issues. The books do have titles that locate each storyÂ’s ac tion via alliterative titles: The Reptile Room The Miserable Mill The Austere Academy The Grim Grotto and so on. These titles are convenient in providing clues as to the scene of each novel. Equally important to the setting, if not more so, is the disguise that Count Olaf adopts within each novel.45 The plates reflect these costumes. In The Bad Beginning there is no disguise for Olaf to adopt, so the viewer sees him as he is: an angular, severe, one-eyebrowed, horn-haired mature man forced into a starched white collar under a black suit jacket (Fig. 3-21). This image may change, but the strong lines and angles used to depict him never do. They provide an excellent 45 It is no insignificant detail that in the movie adaptation of the first three novels ( The Bad Beginning The Reptile Room and The Wide Window ), the viewer catches Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) reading a magazine with Lon Chaney, HollywoodÂ’s own master of disguise, on its cover. Lemony SnicketÂ’s A Series of Unfortunate Events dir. Brad Silberling, 1 hr. 48 min., Paramount Pictures, 2004.

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46 contrast to the curvilinear lines of the th ree Baudelaires. Not only does it utilize the discomfort that rigidity can place upon a view er, but the curves of the Baudelaires echo the baby fat that they would easily possess over the course of the stories of their young lives. Their visual innocence is a reminder to the assumedly child reader that they are, despite their various forms of precocity, still potential peers. The first variation occurs in the second installment, The Reptile Room Olaf appears as Stefano with a beard, a turtleneck, a bald pate, and a brow sans eyebrow (Fig. 3-22). While the lines and angles would be enough to give him away, he does retain small details to preserve hi s original villainous countenan ce: his nose, his ears, and especially, his darkened, sunken eyes. Helquist complicates the ability to identify OlafÂ’s eyes in later installments, however, show ing a wiliness that Olaf himself would appreciate. Helquist gives him an eye patc h as Captain Sham; he lightens the eyes in Olaf's solo drag appearance as Shir ley the secretary (Figs. 3.23 and 3.24).46 He gives him a monocle in The Ersatz Elevator and sunglasses in The Vile Village (Figs. 3.26 and 3.27). He removes Ol af altogether in The Hostile Hospital placing in his stead an anthropomorphized radio, the instrument thr ough which Olaf yields his power in this installment over the Ba udelaires (Fig. 3-28). By the ninth book, The Carnivorous Carnival it would seem that there is little hope of using the eyes to identify Count Ol af. The tradition ha s been set, however, within the Ex Libris plates, thanks to the fi rst and second books, to assume that it will be him if the visage appears within that lower medallion. Just as the Baudelaires rely on his antagonism from sheer habit, so too does the reader. Within The Carnivorous Carnival 46 This image would beg an application of drag and masquerade discussions in a wider study, but limitations will prevent its discussion here.

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47 however, Olaf reappears in his original, sunken-eyed glory. He keeps this, his allegedly true identity, in the Ex Libris plates of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth books also. Olaf’s reclaiming of his visage, or more sp ecifically, Helquist’s efforts to reflect this return visually, comes at a cost to both him and the Baudelaires. While the Baudelaires may find themselves able to iden tify, and thus pursue, Olaf more easily, it comes at the cost of their ow n identities, reflecting, as does The Hostile Hospital 's Ex Libris radio, greater them es emerging within the books. Once they begin actively pursuing Olaf, they, by all accounts of the Ex Libris plates, become him. In donning disguises, the Baudelaires adopt his duplicit ous tactics. They are willing—again, via Helquist's transference—to stake their sense of selves for a greater plan. And so, in The Carnivorous Carnival they are no longer the Baudelaire s but Chabo the Wolf Baby and a pair of Siamese twins (Fig. 3-29). As Sunny is held hostage by Olaf in The Slippery Slope her identity is returned to her in its Ex Libris plate, but sin ce Violet and Klaus are still in pursuit, Helquist’s rules seem to dict ate that they must con tinue to sacrifice their visage, in this instance completely obscuri ng their faces by ski masks (Fig. 3-30). In The Grim Grotto the three are reunited in their pursuit and are depicted floating behind the bars of giant diving helmets (Fig. 3-31). It is the Ex Libris plates which suggest the most direct example of subjectivity in the novels. The Baudelaires discover that th ey possess the inner strength to break from society and pursue their antagoni st. However, they become increasingly discomfited that they are doing so at the expens e of their notions of their pe rsonalities, especially when they assist burning down the Hotel Denouement. This revelation changes them as people, though, and it forces th em into identities—or, at l east, obscured identities—that

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48 must necessitate difference from their original, baby-faced selves. Meanwhile, Count Olaf becomes careless; he no longer inve sts the energy needed to uphold alternate identity upon alternate identity. This choice leaves him vulnerable, but also allows him the security of his beliefs about himself. Agency comes at a sacrifice of the indexical form, but it also liberates. The children b ecome as adept at fooling surrounding people with their disguises as Count Olaf was. They even, on occasion, fool him, which is something Olaf never managed to do to the Baudelaires. A Series of Unfortunate Events presents to the readers a host of alternativ es to socially-expecte d behaviors through the use of subjective understandings, but it does so cautiously, illuminating the effects of those decisions.

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49 Figure 3-1 Lemony Snicket: the U nauthorized Autobiography pp.16 and 17

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50 Figure 3-2 Lemony Snicket: the U nauthorized Autobiography p.29

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51 Figure 3-3 The Bad Beginning biography page

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52 Figure 3-4 The Reptile Room biography page

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53 Figure 3-5 The Wide Window biography page

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54 Figure 3-6 The Miserable Mill biography page

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55 Figure 3-7 The Austere Academy biography page

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56 Figure 3-8 The Ersatz Elevator biography page

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57 Figure 3-9 The Vile Village biography page

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58 Figure 3-10 The Hostile Hospital biography page

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59 Figure 3-11 The Carnivorous Carnival biography page

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60 Figure 3-12 The Slippery Slope biography page

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61 Figure 3-13 The Grim Grotto biography page

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62 Figure 3-14 The Penultimate Peril biography page

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63 Figure 3-15 The Grim Grotto full page illustration, p.137

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64 Figure 3-16 The Wide Window chapter illustration, p.95

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65 Figure 3-17 The Austere Academy chapter illustration, p.83

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66 Figure 3-18 The Slippery Slope chapter illustration, p.103

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67 Figure 3-19 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.125

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68 Figure 3-20 The Bad Beginning chapter illustration, p.41

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69 Figure 3-21 The Bad Beginning front endsheet Figure 3-22 The Reptile Room front endsheet

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70 Figure 3-23 The Wide Window front endsheet Figure 3-24 The Miserable Mill front endsheet

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71 Figure 3-25 The Austere Academy front endsheet Figure 3-26 The Ersatz Elevator front endsheet

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72 Figure 3-27 The Vile Village front endsheet Figure 3-28 The Hostile Hospital front endsheet

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73 Figure 3-29 The Carnivorous Carnival front endsheet Figure 3-30 The Slippery Slope front endsheet

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74 Figure 3-31 The Grim Grotto front endsheet Figure 3-32 The Penultimate Peril front endsheet

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75 CHAPTER 4 LOST IN THE ARCHIVE A Series of Unfortunate Events incorporates within its text and illustrations an emphasis on surveillance and mistrust in obj ective information. These two foci would appear contradictory. While Foucault outlines surveillance as ultimately an exercise in power structuring, the immediate purpose of any surveillance is to ga ther some form of information.1 Conversely, the internalization of surveillance is the attempt to withhold potentially damaging information from the pr esumed spectator. The basic tenet behind these practices is that observat ion may lead to some form of data, and the manipulation of the data leads to power. The need that aris es from these behaviors is a process through which one may record and store said data, leaving it retrievable for future needs of recollection and comparison. On the instituti onal level, this necessity is traditionally believed to be fulfilled via some form of the archive. I propose that A Series of Unfortunate Events provides an alternative approach to constructing the archive that still results in an anxiety produced by relying on collected data. 1 Foucault acknowledges this need in his consideration of the Panopticon’s Enlightenment roots. He writes, “And this unceasing observation had to be accumulated in a series of reports and registers; throughout the eighteenth century, an immense police text incr easingly covered society by means of a complex documentary organization.” Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 214.

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76 Articulating the difference between an arch ive and a library is difficult. For the purposes of this study, Mich ael CookÂ’s distinction in The Management of Information from Archives proves most useful.2 He writes: Archival material can be evaluated as a source as against other sources available within the same institution. What is distinctive about the archives is the circumstances of their origin, not the quali ty of the information they carry (which may be great or little, as with other media). The definition of archives can therefore concentrate on th eir origin within the crea ting agency. Archives are information-bearing media which have been generated from within the organization; library and documentation ma terials are information-bearing media that were originally acquired from outside the organization.3 The critical delineation between the two is the source of their materialsÂ’ origins. A library may be hyper-specialized according to subject, but its contents are still the provenance of exterior forces. An archiv e may be housed under the institution of a library, but, even as a sub-coll ection, it is an assortment of data produced from the inner workings of an institution. In A Series of Unfortunate Events the reader finds the Baudelaire orphans encountering both the library a nd the archive. Th e library is especially omnipresent within the texts. As the ch ildren bounce from one guardian to another, they encounter an assortment of libraries that reflect the intere sts of their caretakers: a judicial library, a herpetological library, and ev en a grammatical library.4 However, the series progresses, and the frequency and quality of the libra ries decrease. By the fourth novel, The Miserable Mill the library to which the Baudelair es have access contains only three 2 Michael Cook, The Management of Information from Archives 2nd ed. (Hampshire, England: Gower, 1999). 3 Cook, 10. 4 Respectively, Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). Lemony Snicket, The Reptile Room (New York: HarperCollins, 1999). Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York: HarperCollins, 2000).

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77 books, a detail made plain in the vertical half-pag e illustration to Chap ter Four that depicts a wall with eighteen shelves, seventeen of which are completely barren (Fig. 4-1).5 The decreasing quality and size of nearby libra ries affords an example of yet another unfortunate event encountered by the orphans. In The Miserable Mill the reader is told that Whether it was Uncle Monty’s library of re ptile books, or Aunt Josephine’s library of grammar books, or Justice Strauss’s libra ry of law books, or, be st of all, their parents’ library of all kinds of books – a ll burned up now, alas – libraries always made them feel a little bit better. Just knowing that they could read made the Baudelaire orphans feel as if their wret ched lives could be a little brighter.6 When the Baudelaires lose the raw material needed to undergo the pleasure of reading, their world becomes that much darker, especial ly as the world within the series depends upon the presence of libraries and the dispersa l of knowledge that they enable. Daniel Handler has said in interviews that he lik es “the idea of a universe that was governed entirely by books.”7 An example of this may be found in The Grim Grotto when Klaus Baudelaire discovers a code utilized by the V. F.D. called Verse Fluctuation Declaration. It functions via the assumption that there are certain familiar texts to any well-read person, and the manipulation of those texts al low for an educated reader to discover a message in their inconsistencies. Klaus finds this code in analyzing “My Last Wife” by Obert Browning, clearly a reference to Robert Browning’s “My Last Dutchess.”8 In this instance, the V.F.D.’s reliance on a consiste nt access to texts sows the seeds of its 5Figure 4.1 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 45. 6 Snicket, The Miserable Mill 58. 7 Daniel Handler, interview by David Bianculli and Terry Gross, Fresh Air National Public Radio, 10 December 2004. 8 Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 157.

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78 undoing. Books are ephemeral, as seen in the increasingly inadequate resources to which the Baudelaires have access, and the dest ruction of books means the destruction of knowledge. Of the two hundred eighteen illustrations, eleven featur e books or shelves of books. Nearly doubling that sum, an additional twenty-one illustrations highlight ticket stubs, newspapers, maps, photographs, programs, a nd advertisements. I suggest that the illustrations reflect a shift over the series from fa ith in the library to hope in the archive. I do not qualify these scraps as evidence of an archive because they make a loose collection of papers. I qualify them as such because they are all presumably documents that have been manufactured by the V.F.D. and its agents. They are records of the novels’ representative institution. As inheritors and potential inductees into the V.F.D., the Baudelaires recognize these documents as aids in deciphering the mysteries of their lives. As outlined earlier, I do not suggest that these collected papers are presented as documents of any objective reality. There is a need for such manner of data, nonetheless. A conversation in The Grim Grotto articulates the necessity: “I think you Baudelaires are forgetting that your exploits haven’t exactly been a secret. Nearly everyday there’s been a story about you in one of the most popular newspapers.” “ The Daily Punctilio ?” Violet asked. “I hope yo u haven’t been believing the dreadful lies they’ve been printing about us.” “Of course not,” Fiona said. “But even th e most ridiculous of stories can contain a grain of truth. The Daily Punctilio said that you’d murdered a man in the Village of Fowl Devotees, and then set fires at Heimlich Hospital and Caligari Carnival. We knew, of course, that you hadn’t committe d these crimes, but we could tell that you had been there.”9 9 Snicket, The Grim Grotto 52-53.

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79 Information exists, no matter the biases used to present it. It only exists, though, to serve individual interpretation and need s. It is this role that makes the archive ineffectual as a tool of an institution. Instead, the reader is treated to an alte rnative mode of information gathering and retrieval in the form of the commonp lace book. The purposes of a commonplace book through time may vary widely, but the Baudelaires utilize it as a place in which to house documents and observations concerning activitie s and persons that may bear an influence on their lives. The Baudelaires begin their commonplace book in The Slippery Slope when they witness the success to which th eir friend Quigley Quagmire puts it to use.10 He explains its function: “Whenever I find something that seems impor tant or interesting, I write it down. That way, all my important information is in one place.” “I should start one,” Klaus said. “My poc kets are bulging with scraps of paper.”11 The personal filter needed in assembling a commonplace book implies both a predetermined hypothesis in the handler’s res earch ventures and a specific function for the book’s existence. The commonplace book also calls for a personal theory of interpretation in order for the bearer to derive meaning. The appearance of the commonplace book within A Series of Unfortunate Events is by no means the first or the most famous exampl e of this information management tool in literature. Sherlock Holmes, the detective protagonist created by Arthur Conan Doyle, leans upon his series of commonplace books beginni ng as early as his first appearance in 10 Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (New York: HarperCollins, 2003). 11 Snicket, The Slippery Slope 141.

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80 the short story, “A Scandal in Bohemia.”12 While searching for information regarding the case, his friend Dr. Watson reports that For many years he [Holmes] had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish inform ation. In this case, I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff commander who had written a monograph upon the deep sea fishes.13 It borders on the ridiculous to imagine the process through which Holmes could construct such a comprehensive set and still leave time for his private inves tigations and cocaine abuse. The mechanics of his archiving ar e of no concern. Holmes warrants mention because of his unique, albeit fictional, standi ng in Victorian society. James W. Maertens explains in “Masculine Power and the Idea l Reasoner: Sherlock Holmes, TechnicianHero,” that He [Holmes] is not an official policeman or an official scientist; his power does not derive from the state, and its machinery; he stands aloof from the military and imperial commerce. But this is, of cour se, an illusory myth, a hope against the reality of institutional power, which was already in the Victorian period well advanced. The technical rationalization Holm es makes us feel so excited about, is the foundation of the modern mechanized state.14 Sherlock Holmes hovers outside the confines of Scotland Yard, but Maertens argues that he does so only in body. His methodology belong s in spirit to the administration within its walls. However, this analysis misses a crucial component to the dynamism of the great detective’s modus operandi: his analysis of the technical. In “They Were the Very 12 Arthur Conan Doyle, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes vol. 1, ed. Leslie S. Klinger (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005), 5-40. “A Scandal in Bohemia,” printed in the July 1891 Strand magazine, is actually Holmes’s third published appear ance. The previous two publications in which he featured were the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four 13 Doyle, vol.1, 17. 14 James W. Maertens, “Masculine Power and the Ideal Reasoner: Sherlock Holmes, Technician-Hero,” Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero, Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall King, and Sally Sugarman, eds., (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996), 296-321, esp. 320.

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81 Models of the Modern Information Age,” Jame s R. Wright presents Victorian England as a country flooded with information courtesy of the time-saving mechanisms created during the Industrial Age.15 He writes: The world’s first consulting detective liv ed in the midst of an information explosion. However, the common imag e of the information explosion is counterproductive. It confus es the capacity to transmit data with the capacity to create information. The two are distinctly different as Sherlock Holmes recognized.16 Data is but a tool for creating information. While Holmes convinces the reader to believe that deductive reasoning leads to an objectiv e truth, he is spoon-feeding an illusion. He sends the data through his subj ective interpretatio n. He can anticipate the many paths that the data can take, and he chooses the most appropriate one to form his information. Holmes is important in a discussion of the archive, as his idiosyncratic method is a product of and a response to th e nineteenth-century institutional effort s to harness the many new strands of data being produced, a phenomenon detailed in Allan Sekula’s “The Body in the Archive.”17 Sekula’s article, by examining nineteenth-century photographic, 15 “Newspapers and periodicals required extensive mechanization in order to accelerate and cheapen production to meet the dema nds of a growing literate public. Davi d Bruce’s typecasting machine appeared in 1850, and the completely revolutionary rotary caster of Frederick Wicks was patented in 1881. Sixty thousand characters could be cast an hour, and the type was not broken up but returned to the foundry, melted and recast. The Linotype machine was invented in America, but by 1900 it set many London dailies and 250 other English newspapers and periodicals. Printing machines made rapid strides as well. The first rotary press had been devised in 1846, and by 1868 a rotary machine printed The Times (London). Metal blocks replaced wood blocks in the 1880s for line drawings, and halftone blocks to reproduce photographs were extensively used in the 1880s. The railroad grids carried London papers and periodicals to the provinces and the Continent, and provincial and continental periodicals were returned to the metr opolis. Faster than a speeding locomotive was electric telegraphy. The first telegraph line between Paddington and West Drayton had been established in 1839, and by 1870 the network of telegraphic communication was quite extensive.” James R. Wright, “They Were the Very Models of the Modern Information Age,” Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero, Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall King, and Sally Sugarman, eds., (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996),16-24, esp.16-17. 16 Wright, 17. 17 Allan Sekula, “The Body and the Archive,” October 39 (Winter, 1986): 3-64.

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82 phrenologic, and physiognomic practices, lays bare many of the philosophies and approaches that specifically went into recording the criminal body. It suggests that The camera is integrated into a larger en semble: a bureaucratic-clerical-statistical system of “intelligence.” This system can be described as a sophisticated form of the archive. The central ar tifact of this system is not the camera but the filing cabinet.18 For Sekula, the camera merely gave a certain speed and supposed accuracy to already burgeoning empirical practices in organizi ng data. A problem that the archive’s practitioners consistently encountered was r econciling individual entr ies’ data with the archive’s dictated need for general assumptions.19 This challenge was, I feel, the result of the archive’s requirement to cater to questi ons from and of multiple individuals in an institution over an unspecified period of time. The archive must function like the Panopticon in giving the appearance that it can be generated and accessed by anyone. For Sekula’s criminal body, this need means that “it was only on the basis of the tentative construction of a larger, ‘universal’ archive, that zones of devi ance and respectability could be clearly demarcated.”20 “The Body in the Archiv e” demonstrates the relative failure of any institutional archive to succeed in defining the criminal body. The article also hints at another challenge to the archiv e. Sekula relates, “D uring the Commune, all 18 Sekula, 16. 19 Sekula writes, “Photography promised more than a w ealth of detail; it promised to reduce nature to its geometrical essence. Presumably then, the archive could provide a standard physiognomic gauge of the criminal could assign each criminal body a relative and quantitative po sition within a larger ensemble. This archival promise was frustrated, however, both by the messy contingencies of the photograph and by the sheer quantity of images. The photographic archive’s components are not conventional lexical units, but rather are subject to the circum stantial character of all that is p hotographable. … Clearly, one way of ‘taming’ photography is by means of this transforma tion of the circumstantial and idiosyncratic into the typical and emblematic. This is usually achieved by st ylistic or interpretive fiat, or by a sampling of the archive’s offerings for a ‘representa tive’ instance.” Sekula, 17-18. 20 Sekula, 14.

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83 city records prior to 1859 had been burned; any Parisian over twenty-two years old was at liberty to invent and reinve nt an entirely bogus nativity.”21 If an institution places faith in the archive, then the loss of that archiv e would significantly weaken the institution. Therefore, the positioning of the Baudelair es and their ancestor Holmes with their collections of data in the commonplace book as miniature institutions reveals the advantages of a personalized archive. The assumed ‘universal’ archive needed for a specific, individual search is considerably sm aller than that which serves an institution, especially considering that the institution’ s strength typically lies in its members’ ignorance of its workings. To possess a fully pragmatic archive, the past, present, and future data needs of the institution must be guessed. This impossible task reveals an unaccounted hole in the undert aking of surveillance. Again, the Baudelaires’ and Holmes’s efforts may still be viewed as ar chives due to their associations with institutions. The Baudelaires seek a fraction of data regarding the V.F.D. Holmes, as a consultant to the police, is an institutional agent in his own way.22 However, they seek only a percentage of the potential data. Of course, this system of information colle cting and retrieval func tions far better in theory than in practice. Any archive will fail to achieve its ut opian state. To assemble a personal archive examining a particular question via the commonplace book is to hypothesize the results. This feat may be possible for the seemingly omniscient Holmes, but it proves a greater challenge for thr ee juveniles already striving to fend for themselves. Also, the very basis of the co mmonplace book negates its physical presence. 21 Sekula, 34. 22 It could also be argued that, as the mature, learned, Victorian gentleman of leisure, Holmes is a composite representative and member of a variety of institutions.

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84 A recognition and acknowledgement of a previo us encounter with the data being sought is undertaken when resorting to its pages. It is a memory aid, for it can house the information garnered from documents rath er than the documents themselves. The personal archive is at odds with the mission statement of institutional archivists, which Heather MacNeil defines as “t heir professional calling to identify, preserve, and make available for use records of enduring value.”23 The institutional archive is the larder of information-getting for generations to come, whereas the commonplace book is the empty Mason jar of a single preserve. Its r ecords are not less valuable; it simply has no requirement to house the data that informs th e resulting informational conclusions, in part because said data is worthless without the a ccompanying subjective filter. This disposal of data creates an immediate paradox: if da ta is ultimately fated as a transient waste product, then how does one distinguish and co llect it before its demise? While the Holmesian model is less fraught with troubles than the traditional institutional archive, it is not without its own anxiety-producing dilemma. It is this dilemma that Brett Helquist’s illustrations bring to the fore in the later novels of the series. The imagery of the ey e becomes less omnipresen t as the plots move forward, especially once the ey e is identified with the V.F. D. institution. Data-bearing scraps, however, replace the eye in its domin ance within the illustrations. Helquist’s success in articulating the ephemeral presence of data stems from his visual elision of it with refuse. In the second of The Miserable Mill ’s three full page illustrations, the viewer sees the three Baudelair e children standing before the looming eye-shaped office 23 Heather MacNeil, Without Consent: The Ethics of Disclosing Personal Information in Public Archives (Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecr ow Press, Inc., 1992), 5.

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85 of ophthalmologist Dr. Geor giana Orwell (Fig. 4-2).24 In the immediate foreground, lying in the street gutter, are th e scraps of a discarded newspape r. At this juncture in the storyline, the press has not issued its misinformation conc erning the Baudelaires, as it later will, evidenced by The Hostile Hospital ’s Chapter Two illustration of a tightly bundled set of papers th at read, “Baudelaire Butchers,” and are ready for delivery (Figure 4.3).25 The difference between these two images is the presentation of the paper. In The Miserable Mill it is trash, its time spent and its use met. In The Hostile Hospital the stack of papers is prepared for consump tion, their purpose not yet determined. The bundle also has the benefit of re petition. It is not just one paper, and scattered remnants at that, but it is eleven complete newspapers Behind the pile is the potential for multiple minds molded. The lifespan of the data, in th is instance the data being a daily newspaper, is indeterminate. It may be a matter of hours be fore it is pulp in th e gutter, its purchaser gone after a brief skim of the headlines. Or it may be housed for decades as a lone copy in the storerooms of the publisher. In either instance, its contents may be obtained only under the circumstances that the seeker has the time and means to procure a preserved copy and that a notion of the desired topic’s data already has been reached. Sherlock Holmes has the benefit of idle time and dispar ate interests that prevent him from reaching this state of anxiety and sens e of urgency. For ingnue ar chivists like the Baudelaires, these caveats present a hurdle. In addition to the relative assignation of worth, Helquist’s illustrations supply unease as to the odds of survival and discovery of necessary data. The Baudelaires must 24 Figure 4.2 may be found on Snicket, The Miserable Mill 125. 25 Figure 4.3 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Hostile Hospital (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 21.

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86 ascertain the location of th eir kidnapped friends in The Vile Village Their friends, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, are hidden in th e central fountain of the Village of Fowl Devotees, the town that collec tively adopts the Baudelaires. Their friends utilize the flight patterns of crows to send S.O.S. signa ls to potential rescue rs. This mode of communication is a risky venture, a con cern echoed in HelquistÂ’s work. The accompanying illustrations to Chapters Four a nd Eight depict a feather with a message wrapped around it and a message recently dr opped by a crow, respectively (Figs. 4.4 and 4.5).26 In the second image, only the crowÂ’s feet are included. It is against a non-existent background. If one were to consider the im age alone, there would be no indication of a planned destination. The scrap would seem to be as carelessly discarded as the molting feathers surrounding it. If anyt hing, HelquistÂ’s work is draw ing attention to the textÂ’s literary conceit. For the Quagmires to empl oy untrained birds over four consecutive days to deliver messages to friends who can mana ge to decode them is almost asking the reader to suspend too much disbelief. On this occasion, HelquistÂ’s illustrations almost dispute the text. They emphasize the fantas y behind the story while still presenting the dangers that face the collection of data, for th e purposes of intuiting information, at every turn. Another tactic through which HelquistÂ’s illustrations demonstrate the ephemeral nature of data is his substitution of irre levant items in the frame where data was previously found. The Vile Village Â’s first and third full-page illustrations place the three children against an overpoweri ng sky that fills almost the entire frame (Figs. 4.6 and 26 Figures 4.4 and 4.5 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Vile Village (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 69, 135.

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87 4.7).27 In the first example, the children are posed with their backs to the viewer, and they are waiting on a plain with their suitc ases. Surrounding them is a bench, the faint outline of a settlement on the skyline, an enormous cloud, a sign that reads “V.F.D.,” and crows. There are also scraps of paper, some of which are presumab ly newspapers. Three pages later, the reader learns of The Daily Punctilio ’s erroneous identification of Count Olaf as Count Omar.28 For the Baudelaires, the papers are irrelevant because they know more than the data presented in the newspaper. They need not challenge its presence as litter, as they have already considered it and placed its report through their perceptive filters. In the later full page illust ration, it is the same low horizon with another dominating cloud. Violet and Sunny have barely ch anged positions, but Klaus dominates the foreground, as he bends forward to catch torn scraps of paper, the notations from their friend’s own journal. Because their trusted fr iends never shared their findings with the Baudelaires, this data is untried, its value to their own pursuit not ye t ascertained. In the lower left corner, there is a copy of The Daily Punctilio with an advertisement that proclaims, “Last Chance $2.” This text serves multiple purposes. It, like Helquist’s other final full page illustrations, trumpets a de tail of the subsequent book, for the children begin The Hostile Hospital patronizing the Last Chance General Store.29 It editorializes the children’s decision at the conclusion of this novel to give up on guardian care. It also remarks upon the urgency of Klaus collecting th ose sheets. Once gone, that data will not 27 Figures 4.6 and 4.7 may be found on Snicket, The Vile Village frontispiece, 257. 28 Snicket, The Vile Village 3. 29 Snicket, The Hostile Hospital 3. The inference that can be drawn from the embedded foreshadowing in the final full page illustrations is that Helquist is never completely ignorant of Handler’s plans for later books and, perhaps, an over view of the entire series.

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88 easily be recoverable. Again, the temporar y presence of necessary data flaunts unknown future needs for information. The additional commentary on these illustrations comes in the final full page illustration of The Grim Grotto (Fig. 4-8).30 This book ends as the Baudelaires leave Briny Beach, the site of the original announcement that their home had burned to the ground, to enter an unknown course of action with a strange woma n. While the story clearly indicates that this exit occurs in a separate location from the plains of The Vile Village Helquist also gives visual cues. There is the retaining wall at the edge of the beach, the waves lapping in the foreground, a nd a distinct metropolis deep against the horizon. The composition of the image, howev er, repeats the previous two discussed. The sky dominates the image with large clouds occupying much of the picture plane. On this occasion, though, the rubbish on the ground does not provide any sort of data for the Baudelaires or the reader. Granted, there is a bellboy’s hat that read s, “Hotel D,” but the text has already indicated th at their destination is the Hotel Denouement. Helquist’s work is not offering any tantalizing glimpse in to the future novel. Also in the foreground are a starfish and a beach ball. As the reader leaves with the Baudelaires from their eleventh of thirteen novels, it b ecomes apparent that, in the span of the narrative, both the data and the search for inform ation are nearing an end. When there is the most crucial need for data to resolve the Baudelaires’ lives and to decode Handler’s conspiracies, none is available. This image highlights a further limitation to archiving through an individual agent. Not only is data flee ting, irrelevant or indistinguis hable from useless items, but often there is none offered at all. 30 Figure 4.8 may be found on Snicket, The Grim Grotto 325.

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89 Of course, in many ways this reading reli es on the assumption of data encoded in a tangible form which is a vast contrast to th e contemporary streams of binary code sent from one electronic device to another. Ba nk accounts are linked to email accounts, email accounts to address books, address books to phone numbers, and phone numbers to cellular phones with global positioning syst ems. This web needs but one malevolent force—be it a con artist, an id entity thief, or a reckless gove rnment agency—to exploit its potential. Additionally, the ever-growing capacity of computer chips to store these files allows for a speedier search for creating an info rmational narrative. This state of affairs is a far cry from the simplistic paper collectio ns stuffed in Klaus Baudelaire’s pockets. I suggest that it is this pre-digital pr esence that relieves the anxiety that A Series of Unfortunate Events otherwise creates. The narrative occurs in an unspecified time and place. One can assume that its environs are fictional, unless th ere is an allusive society th at has escaped the global radar thus far. Handler is careful never to in clude in his texts mentions of digital age technology. There is one reappearing char acter, Esm Squalor, who obsesses over societal trends. If any character within the books was to possess a laptop, a security system, or an iPod, it would be her. Instea d, Handler creates his own fads in which she may indulge, as when she informs the Baudelair es, “Regular light is in—as in as aqueous martinis, pinstripes, and orphans.”31 Olaf never hunts down the orphans by tracing their phone calls or presenting them with a credit card whose activities can be easily tracked. Instead, he relies on a network of sympathetic spies. Helquist’s illustrations not only include pre-digital technology, but they add an extra emphasis to it. On two separate 31 Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 35.

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90 occasions, in the representations of a rotary telephone and a telegraph, Helquist depicts the instrument on a verso page with a frayed cord passing into th e facing reverse page (Figs. 4.9 and 4.10).32 It is not often that he utilizes the two page format, and it is especially interesting that he chooses to do so for these machines. The frayed cord hints at the ease with which they may be disconne cted and serves as a sharp contrast to unanchored cellular phones and email access. Instead of manipulating his images to assign A Series of Unfortunate Events a specific time period, Helquist uses the nonspecificity to expand his subject range. In the final full page illustration of The Austere Academy the BaudelairesÂ’ friends Duncan and Is adora are shown being pushed by OlafÂ’s followers into an antique model car waiti ng to aid in their abduction (Fig. 4-11).33 In The Carnivorous Carnival Â’s frontispiece, OlafÂ’s car is s hown as a significantly more recent automobile sporting huge tailfins (Fig. 4-12).34 HelquistÂ’s shuffling of possible time periods alleviates anxiety for the reader si nce it allows for enough difference to place the narrative in a time other than contemporary life. If anythi ng, the illustrati ons skew the novels into a more distant past than the text necessarily presents them. While Helquist may be following HandlerÂ’s lead in presenti ng a pre-digital societ y, his costume choices for the protagonist s on the cover of The Bad Beginning place them in a distinct contrast to contemporary fashions (Fig. 4-13).35 KlausÂ’s well-kept suit with its bowtie, VioletÂ’s 32 Figures 4.9 and 4.10 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 54-55. Snicket, The Grim Grotto 62-63. 33 Figure 4.11 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 223. 34 Figure 4.12 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), frontispiece. 35 Figure 4.13 may be found on Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), cover.

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91 colored dress and stockings, and SunnyÂ’s dr essing gown stand against todayÂ’s more common casual t-shirts, unisex shorts, and infant onesies. Not only does the universe created by Handl er and Helquist pr event anxiety from reaching readers, but also the production of the books offers a further remove. It is rare to see the novels marketed in anythi ng other than their hardcover forms.36 When a film adaptation of the first three novels was rel eased, the tie-in books were simply the traditional release with an easily removabl e, glossy, wraparound cover featuring film stills. The floral endsheets and the Ex Libr is plates provide a re ference to older books and compel the owners to preserve them in a collection. These details reference a degree of permanence, and the hardcover, heavy pa per, and stitched signatures provide the means of maintaining a lasting presence. A separation from the readerÂ’s own surroundings and a connoisseurial production value obviously do not qualify as actual solution s to the archival co mplexities raised by the texts and illustrations. However, the fact that the collaborative efforts hold even a potential to raise these issues is intellectually ambitious in itself. They teach the reading audience the shortcomings of the instituti onal archive. They encourage a thoughtful contemplation of data sources. While they do not offer a perfect alternative to the processes criticized, they none theless offer a glimpse of hope into breaking out of panopticism. Data is subjective and epheme ral. The body is recorded by accepted forms of data, so it may be as changeable as its records. Perhaps the most radical suggestion raised by this series is the potenti al destruction of the institution. The Penultimate Peril draws to a close as the Baudelaires have a ssisted their nemesis in burning down the last 36 I am referring specifically to American editions.

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92 headquarters of the V.F.D., a hotel organized according to th e Dewy Decimal system. In summation, Lemony Snicket remarks in his narration: Richard Wright, an American novelist of the realist school, asks a famous unfathomable question in his best-known novel, Native Son “Who knows when some slight shock,” he asks, “disturbing the delicate balance be tween social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrap ers in our cities t oppling?” It is a difficult question to read, almost as if it is in some sort of code, but after much research I have been able to make some sense of its mysterious words. “Social order,” for instance, is a phrase which may refer to the systems people use to organize their lives, such as the Dewey Decimal system, or the blind-folded procedures of the High Court. And “thirs ty aspiration” is a phrase which may refer to things people want, such as the Baudela ire fortune, or the s ugar bowl, or a safe place that lonely and exhausted orphans can call home. So when Mr. Wright asks his question, he might be wondering if a sm all event, such as a stone dropping into a pond, can cause ripples in the systems of the world, and tremble the things that people want, until all this rippling and tr embling brings down something enormous, such as a building.37 The Baudelaires found their build ing. The question that remains is whether their fans may one day, too. 37 Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 351-352.

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93 Figure 4-1 The Miserable Mill chapter illustration, p.45

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94 Figure 4-2 The Miserable Mill full page illustration, p.125

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95 Figure 4-3 The Hostile Hospital chapter illustration, p.21

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96 Figure 4-4 The Vile Village chapter illustration, 69

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97 Figure 4-5 The Vile Village chapter illustration, 135

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98 Figure 4-6 The Vile Village frontispiece

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99 Figure 4-7 The Vile Village full page illustration, 257

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100 Figure 4-8 The Grim Grotto full page illustration, 325

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101 Figure 4-9 The Wide Window chapter illust ration, pp.54 and 55

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102 Figure 4-10 The Grim Grotto chapter illustration, pp.62 and 63

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103 Figure 4-11 The Austere Academy full page illustration, p.223

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104 Figure 4-12 The Carnivorous Carnival frontispiece

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105 Figure 4-13 The Bad Beginning cover illustration

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106 APPENDIX A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS INSTALLMENTS IN ORDER OF PUBLICATION DATES The Bad Beginning: Book the First 1999. The Reptile Room: Book the Second 1999. The Wide Window: Book the Third 2000. The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth 2000. The Austere Academy: Book the Fifth 2000. The Ersatz Elevator: Book the Sixth 2001. The Vile Village: Book the Seventh 2001. The Hostile Hospital: Book the Eighth 2001. The Carnivorous Carnival: Book the Ninth 2002. The Slippery Slope: Book the Tenth 2003. The Grim Grotto: Book the Eleventh 2004. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth 2005.

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107 BIBLIOGRAPHY Accardo, Pasquale. Diagnosis and Detection: the Medical Iconography of Sherlock Holmes Cranbury, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987. Allen, Douglas, and Douglas Allen, Jr. N.C. Wyeth: the Collected Paintings, Illustrations, and Murals New York: Bonanza Books, 1972. Anderman, Joan. “Unfortunate Son: Lemony Sn icket is Author of Darkly Comic, Wildly Popular Books Filled with Terrible Happenings.” The Boston Globe 23 September 2004, sec. D. Balliett, Blue. Chasing Vermeer New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2004. Beckerman, Jim. “Unfortunate, Necessary Events; Why Death and Danger Belong in Good Children’s Tales.” The Record 19 December 2004, sec. E. Benson, Heidi. “Class Takes to Street to Protest Censorship; Academy of Art’s Expulsion of Pupil Angers Authors, Too.” The San Francisco Chronicle 8 April 2004, sec. B. Berg, Stanton O. “Sherlock Holmes: Fath er of Scientific Crime Detection.” The Journal of Criminal Law, Crimo nology, and Political Science 61, no.3 (Sept., 1970): 446452. Bernstein, Gerald S. “The Architecture of Repression: the Built E nvironment of George Orwell’s 1984 .” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 38, no.2 (Winter, 1985): 26-28. Billeter, Erika, ed. Self-Portrait in the Age of Photography: Photographers Reflecting Their Own Image Bern: Benteli AG, 1985. Bjelajac, David. American Art: A Cultural History Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. -----. Washington Allston, Secret Societies, and the Alchemy of Anglo-American Painting Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Blankenship, Bill. “ Roger, the Jolly Pirate : Author Brings Books to Life.” Topeka Capital-Journal 24 April 2005, sec. A.

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108 Caple, Natalee. “Naughty and Nice: Daniel Handler Can Be Cranky But He Turns Out Rippingly Good Reads.” The Calgary Herald 24 December 2005, sec. G. Coates, Tom. Creating a Self-Portrait New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1989. Coats, Karen. Looking Glasses and Neverlands: La can, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children’s Literature Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004. Cook, Michael. The Management of Information from Archives 2nd ed. Hampshire, England: Gower, 1999. Curl, James Stevens. The Art and Architecture of Freem asonry: an Introductory Study Woodstock, New Jersey: Overlook Press, 2002. Decker, Marin. “Utahn is Feeling Fort unate about ‘Unfort unate Events’.” Deseret Morning News 17 December 2004. Dell, John Edward, ed. Visions of Adventure: N.C. W yeth and the Brandywine Artists New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2000. “Doodles for Cash.” St. Petersbu rg Times. 22 August 2005, sec. E. Doyle, Arthur Conan. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 1 and 2. Edited by Leslie S. Klinger. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. Feghelm, Dagmar. I, Goya Translated by Ishbel Fl ett. Munich: Prestel, 2004. Feig, Paul. Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. “Flying Starts: Five Authors and Artists Who Made Noteworthy Debuts.” Publishers Weekly. 28 June 2004, 19. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Gardner, Martin. “Notes.” The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000. Gifford, Clive. So You Think You Know Lemony Snicket? London: Hodder Children’s Books, 2004. Gordon, Neve. “Foucault’s Subjec t: An Ontological Reading.” Polity 31, no.3 (Spring, 1999): 395-414.

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109 Gresh, Lois H. The Truth Behind a Series of Unfortunate Events: Eyeballs, Leeches, Hypnotism, and Orphans – Exploring Lemony Snicket’s World New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004. Hajela, Deepti. “Artist makes Harry Grow.” The News and Observer 9 March 2005, sec. E. Handler, Daniel. Adverbs: A Novel New York: Ecco, 2006. -----. The Basic Eight New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 1999. -----. Interview by David Bi anculli and Terry Gross. Fresh Air National Public Radio. 10 December 2004. -----. Interview by Jerry Bowen. Sunday Morning CBS. 26 December 2004. -----. Interview by Robert Si egel and Michele Norris. All Things Considered National Public Radio. 16 December 2004. -----. Review of Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp by Philip Pullman. The New York Times 5 June 2005, 39. -----. Watch Your Mouth: a Novel New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000. Hart, J.V. Captain Hook: the Adventure s of a Notorious Youth New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Hearn, Michael Patrick. “Introduction.” The Annotated Wizard of Oz: Centennial Edition New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000. Helquist, Brett. Roger, the Jolly Pirate New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Henerson, Evan. “‘Lemony’ Goodness.” The Daily News of Los Angeles 14 November 2004, sec. U. Hocart, A.M. “The Mechanism of the Evil Eye.” Folklore 49, no.2 (June, 1938): 156157. Hoffman, Ernst T.W. “The Sand-Man.” Weird Tales Translated by J.T. Bealby. Freeport, New York: Books for Librarians Press, 1970: 168-215. Hoffman, Katherine. Concepts of Identity: Histor ical and Contemporary Images and Portraits of Self and Family New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Hughes, Robert. Goya New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Hunter, Richard. World Without Secrets: Business, Crime, and Privacy in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.

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110 Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Parody: the Teaching of Twentieth-Century Art Forms New York: Methuen, 1985. Jacobson, Aileen. “Too Dark? Snicket Says Li ghten Up: Series Scribe Thinks Scariness is Relative.” Edmonton Journal 19 December 2004, sec. B. Karras, Christy. “Dark and Dangerous; Kids Embrace Snicket’s Dark World.” The Salt Lake Tribune 23 October 2005, sec. D. -----. “Fortunate Event Drew Helquist to Snicket.” The Salt Lake Tribune 23 October 2005, sec. D. Kearney, Richard. Strangers, Gods, and Monsters: Interpreting Otherness London: Routledge, 2003. Kelly, Sean, and Edward Lucie-Smith. The Self-Portrait: a Modern View London: Sarema Press, 1987. Kirkland, Bruce. “Hello, Cruel World; the Darkness of Lemony Snicket’s Alter Ego.” Edmonton Sun 14 December 2004, 38. Kooistra, Lorraine Janzen. The Artist as Critic: Bitextuality in Fin-de-Sicle Illustrated Books Aldershot, England: Scolar Press, 1995. Lacan, Jacques. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis Edited by JacquesAlain Miller. Translated by Alan Sh eridan. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1981. Lanes, Selma G. The Art of Maurice Sendak New York: Abrams, 1980. Leadbeater, C.W. Freemasonry and Its Ancient Mystic Rites New York: Gramercy Books, 1998. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Directed by Brad Silberling. 1 hr. 48 min. Paramount Pictures, 2004. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate E vents: Behind the Scenes with Count Olaf New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Puzzling Puzzles: Bothersome Games Which Will Bother Some People New York: HarperCollins, 2004. Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Lindner, Erich J. The Royal Art Illustrated: Cont ributions to the Iconography of Freemasonry Translated by Arthur Lindsay. Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck – u. Verlagsanstalt, 1976.

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111 Lingwood, James, ed. Staging the Self: Self-Por trait Photography 1840s-1980s London: National Portrait Gallery, 1986. Looney, Fiona. “Profile: Snicket’ s Tell-Tale Heart Exposed.” The Sunday Tribune 26 December 2004, 14. Lorek, L.A. “Author Reaps Success with De pressing Tales; Popular, but Grim Series about Orphans Coming to the Big Screen.” San Antonio Express-News 3 October 2004, sec. J. Lykiardopolous, Amica. “The Evil Eye: Towards an Exhaustive Study.” Folklore 92, no.2 (1981): 221-230. MacNeil, Heather. Without Consent: The Ethics of Di sclosing Personal Information in Public Archives Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1992. Maertens, James W. “Masculine Power a nd the Ideal Reasoner: Sherlock Holmes, Technician-Hero.” Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero. Edited by Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall, and Sally Sugarman. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996. 296-321. Marble, Anne Russell. Pen Names and Personalities New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1930. “Meet Brett Helquist.” BookPage April 2004. < http://www.bookpage.com/0404bp/meet_brett_helquist.html > (7 March 2005). Migliore, Sam. “Evil Eye or Delusions: on the ‘Consistency’ of Folk Models.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 14, no.2 (Feb., 1983): 4-9. Miri, Mrinal. Identity and the Moral Life New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2003. Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleas ure and Narrative Cinema.” Screen 16, no.3 (Autumn, 1975): 6-18. Myres, John L. “The Evil Eye and the Camera.” Man 5 (1905): 12. Orwell, George. 1984 New York: Penguin Books, 1961. Parenti, Christian. The Soft Cage: Surveillance in Amer ica, from Slavery to the War on Terror New York: Basic Books, 2003. Perry, John. Identity, Personal Id entity, and the Self Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2002. Pitz, Henry C. Illustrating Children’s Books: History, Technique, Production New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1963.

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112 Putney, Charles R., Joseph A. Cutshall King, and Sally Sugarman, eds. Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996. Randall, Dale B.J. “The ‘Seer’ and the ‘S een’ Themes in Gatsby and Some of Their Parallels in Eliot and Wright.” Twentieth Century Literature 10, no.2 (July, 1964): 51-63. Room, Adrian. A Dictionary of Pseudonyms and Their Origins, with Stories of Name Changes Jefferson, North Carolina: 1989. Salamon, Julie. “From Lemony Snicke t to Down and Dirty Indie.” The New York Times 23 September 2004, sec. E. Savory, Jerold, and Patricia Marks. The Smiling Muse: Victoriana in the Comics Press London: Associated University Presses, 1985. Schapiro, Meyer. Words and Pictures: On the Literal and the Symbolic in the Illustration of a Text Netherlands: Mouton, 1973. Schrr, Gerald. The Artist Face to Face: Two Centuries of Self-Portraits from the Paris Collection of Gerald Schrr Cincinnati, Ohio: The Taft Museum, 1989. Sekula, Allan. “The Body and the Archive.” October 39 (Winter, 1986): 3-64. A Series of Unfortunate Events < http://www.lemonysnicket.com/index.cfm?border=classic > (7 March 2005). “Shaping Snicket.” Sunday Mail 23 October 2005, sec. C. Shepherd, Michael. Sherlock Holmes and the case of Dr. Freud London: Tavistock Publications, 1985. Shklar, Judith N. “Nineteen Eighty-F our: Should Political Theory Care?” Political Theory 13, no.1 (Feb., 1985): 5-18. Shulman, Dave. “Zam Zam with Lemony Snicket.” LA Weekly 17 December 2004, 30. Silvestro, Clement M., Carol E. Gordon, and Barbara Franco. The Masonic Tradition in the Decorative Arts Utica, New York: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1980. Smith, Andrew. Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity, and the Gothic at the fin de sicle Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. Snicket, Lemony. The Austere Academy New York: HarperCollins, 2000. -----. The Bad Beginning New York: HarperCollins, 1999. -----. The Carnivorous Carnival New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

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113 -----. The Ersatz Elevator New York: HarperCollins, 2001. -----. The Grim Grotto New York: HarperCollins, 2004. -----. The Hostile Hospital New York: HarperCollins, 2001. -----. “Introduction.” Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Pa rents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out Edited by Ted Thompson. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2005. -----. The Miserable Mill New York: HarperCollins, 2000. -----. The Penultimate Peril New York: HarperCollins, 2005. -----. The Reptile Room New York: HarperCollins, 1999. -----. The Slippery Slope New York: HarperCollins, 2003. -----. The Vile Village New York: HarperCollins, 2001. -----. The Wide Window New York: HarperCollins, 2000. Staples, William G. Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life Lanham, Maryland: Rowman &Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000. Stott, William. Documentary Expression and Thirties America Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Taylor, Welford Dunaway. The Newsprint Mask: The Tradition of the Fictional Journalist in America Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1991. Tobin, Anne Marie. “Series of Unfathomab le Triumphs; With 46 Million Sold, Lemony Snicket Books Leave Principal Conspirers Giggling.” The Record 28 October 2005, sec. D. Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. Williams, Erica. “BYU grad illustrates ‘Lemony Snicket’s’.” BYU NewsNet 13 January 2005. < http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/53967 > (7 March 2006). Woodward, Gary C. The Idea of Identification Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2003.

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114 Wright, James R. “They Were the Very Models of the Modern Information Age.” Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero. Edited by Charles R. Putney, Joseph A. Cutshall, and Sally Sugarman. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996. 16-24. “You Ask the Questions: So Lemony Snicket, What Do You Think of Harry Potter? Are Your Stories Based on Real Life? A nd Why Do Grown-ups Insist on Reading Children’s Books?” The Independent 15 December 2004, 2-3. Zipes, Jack. Sticks and Stones: the Troublesome Succe ss of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter New York: Routledge, 2001.

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115 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lauren Turner earned her B.A. in art hist ory with a minor in creative writing from the University of North Carolin a at Chapel Hill in May 2004.