Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Overview

First published in 1865, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was an immediate success, as was its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. Carroll's sense of the absurd and his amazing gift for games of logic and language have secured for the Alice books an enduring spot in the hearts of both adults and children.

Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of ...

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Overview

First published in 1865, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was an immediate success, as was its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. Carroll's sense of the absurd and his amazing gift for games of logic and language have secured for the Alice books an enduring spot in the hearts of both adults and children.

Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of wonderful creatures, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts-who, with the help of her enchanted deck of playing cards, tricks Alice into playing a bizarre game of croquet. Alice continues her adventures in Through the Looking-Glass, which is loosely based on a game of chess and includes Carroll's famous poem "Jabberwocky."

Throughout her fantastic journeys, Alice retains her reason, humor, and sense of justice. She has become one of the great characters of imaginative literature, as immortal as Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Ahab, Sherlock Holmes, and Dorothy Gale of Kansas.

Tan Lin is a writer, artist, and critic. He is the author of two books of poetry, Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe and IDM.

Features Sir John Tenniel's immortal drawings.

Note to Adobe eBook Customers: The Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader version is printable, but there is a known problem printing to printers that do not use the PostScript page description language. This problem occurs with some HP LaserJet, Epson Stylus inkjet, and Epson impact printers. Consult your printer’s documentation to find out if it is PostScript compatible. This does not affect your ability to read the book on screen.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Classics offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
Publishers Weekly
A pensive, titian-haired Alice trips down the rabbit hole in this adaptation that pairs the classic story with gracefully expressive illustrations. Ingpen’s detailed visions of the menagerie of creatures Alice meets lend them anthropomorphic qualities while remaining anatomically precise. The Cheshire cat, who peers out at Alice from a crowd of leaves with a milk-tooth smile, does so with kittenish serenity. The infamous tea-party is a cozy affair with intimate soft-focus portraits in pencil of the sleepy dormouse, hare (who dips his watch into his cup of tea) and the rather bleary Mad Hatter, whose pencil-drawn sidewise glances suggest it’s all dreamy good fun. A lovely and faithful interpretation. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
wonderland revisited Spanish illustrator Angel Dominguez fills an unabridged edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with 75 watercolors, most of them closely packed with lush oversized flowers, strange creatures and winding vines reminiscent of Art Nouveau-often against bizarrely serene pastoral backgrounds. Exotic birds and animals, such as peacocks and zebras, wander through the picture frame. While the illustrations bring out the text's absurdity, pretty-in-pink Alice provides a counterpoint not of normalcy but of sentimentality.
Publishers Weekly
'Tis the season for journeying down rabbit holes. In addition to Sabuda's and Seibold's pop-up editions (see Children's Forecasts, Sept. 22). Ralph Steadman portrays the curious girl in spirited illustrations that bring new life to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Steadman's imaginative pen-and-ink drawings, which first appeared in a 1968 British edition, have here been restored, reformatted and updated. The White Rabbit's anxiety at his tardiness seems insurmountable in an opening portrait; the bottle labeled "Drink Me" unmistakably resembles a classic Coca-Cola bottle; and the artist depicts Alice outgrowing the White Rabbit's house as a wordless spread of the girl in a dark interior, with only a window as the source of light. His artwork deftly blends contemporary ideas with timeless psychological portrayals. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Zwerger's (The Wizard of Oz) captivating cover image of the Mad Tea-Party for this edition of Carroll's 1865 tale conveys the psychological tension of the interior artwork: Alice, at the head of an elongated table with a pristine white linen cloth, stares at the pocket watch that the March Hare is about to lower into his cup of tea. The Hare, bug-eyed, gazes out at readers while the Mad Hatter to his right, wearing a hat box, fixates on a black upturned chapeau (in lieu of a place setting), and the Dormouse between them sleeps. Across the table, an empty red mug is placed in front of a vacant green chair, and a teacup and saucer trimmed in red seems to be set for the reader. The painting conveys the way in which Zwerger brilliantly manages both to invite readers into the story and to keep them at a distance. From the heroine's first appearance, as she falls down a well while chasing the White Rabbit, with a glimpse of orderly bookshelves at the upper left corner, Zwerger demonstrates the many layers to Alice's journey: a cutaway view reveals that the bulk of the other "shelves" are the result of rats and insects tunneling underground. The supporting cast conveys the artist's nearly sardonic perspective. The contrary caterpillar, with six of its eight arms crossed, would be at home in New York's East Village: instead of a hookah it smokes a cigarette and sips red wine, yet--unlike Sir John Tenniel's sedated counterpart--this caterpillar is lucid, defiantly staring out at an Alice (and readers) absent from the scene. Zwerger's penetrating interpretation reinvents Carroll's situations and characters and demands a rereading of the text. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Originally released in 1865, this book is a timeless classic. This edition, illustrated by Ralph Steadman, which first came out in 1968 but has been out of print for a long time making it somewhat of a rarity, has been carefully restored. Carroll's ironic tale, with the familiar cast of characters (Alice, the White Rabbit, the Dodo, the White Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse, the Hatter, the Queen and King, the Mock Turtle, the Gryphon). takes on a bizarre life of its own with Steadman's black and white illustrations. Children who have been accustomed to the Disney version of this classic will be curious, confused yet amazed by what they read and see in this book (perhaps some adults as well). Steadman also created the hand carved wood cuts that make the title and chapter numbers. The illustrator started his career as a children's book illustrator and cartoonist in 1956 and since then has had his distinctive drawings in print internationally. Recommended. 2003, Firefly Books, Ages 8 up.
— Cindy L. Carolan
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Charles Dodgson wrote this story at the request of Alice Liddell, and for close to 150 years, it has been a favorite of young readers. Lisbeth Zwerger brings her award-winning artistic skill to the story and offers a very different look for a new generation. Her palette is brighter, the art has more of a layered look than in her previous works, and she offers more frontal views. The whimsy is there and the White Rabbit, Queen, Cheshire Cat and others will be quickly recognized. The illustrations range from full pages to spot art liberally sprinkled throughout the twelve chapters. The story can be read on one level as a magical adventure in which Alice faces a host of very strange things and variety of bizarre characters. It fills a child's need for fantasy and escape. The actual social commentary and satire will elude most contemporary readers, but it in no way diminishes the joy of reading this classic story.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This interesting book of critical essays is part of a series created by Dr. Bloom to accompany his "Great Books" studies. Bloom suggests that a liberal education should include the study of 100 of the greatest books ever written. They are the basis of this series and are listed in the beginning of the book. There is some debate, of course, on what are the 100 greatest books. This edition about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland includes 12 critical essays by well-known authors such as J.B. Priestly, Phyllis Greenacre, and Florence Baker Lennon. The authors attempt to categorize Carroll's famous children's novel in terms of thematic content, particular elements such as fantasy or love and death, and his use of poetry. The essays make for challenging and interesting reading, but as even Dr. Bloom admits, "Carroll's genre evades every definition." Carroll's use of nonsense is an English tradition not easily explained, and continues, thank goodness, as evidenced in many Beatles songs and Monty Python performances. Differing from folk tales in its lack of clear moral lessons, Alice's reading remains an exercise in the kind of childlike fun that leaves one thrilled and a bit apprehensive at the same time. The book includes an afterthought by Dr. Bloom, comparing the "Alice" books to modern children's stories such as the "Harry Potter" books; a chronology of the life of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll); an extensive bibliography; brief vita on the authors of the essays; and an index.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Rodney Matthews is a British illustrator treasured for his sci-fi and fantasy work. That should be a clue that this latest interpretation of Carroll's classic is not your Tenniel or Disney Alice. What Matthews' ink and airbrushed paintings are closest to is Carroll as channeled through Hieronymus Bosch—creating a fantasia that stars a suitably haunting, otherworldly Alice. Full-page roundels, double-page spreads, and the occasional pen-and-ink half-page drawings flesh out the artist's vision. While the bright white, coated glossy paper is a perfect fit for Matthews' brilliantly colorful alien world, as is the large-page format (necessary for his spreads), the design presentation is a little overblown, a tad slick for Mr. Dodgson's words, which really feel better in the traditional smaller page format. Yet while this may not be a total success as a package, and certainly is not an Alice for small children, Lewis Carroll probably would have approved the effort. He called his book a fantasy, after all. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Since it was first published in 1865, Alice and her fall down the rabbit hole has entertained readers with her unusual adventures with a variety of strange characters. Through a fantastic plot and brilliant use of nonsense, Carroll has created a book that can be read on many levels. The illustrations are contemporary because the illustrator noted that today's competition was not previous editions, but television, movies and video games.
Children's Literature - Laura Hummel
Once again the topsy-turvy world of Alice as she tumbles through the rabbit hole and into events which become "curioser and curioser" comes to life. As Alice's size increases enough to fill an entire house or diminishes to just a few inches, she encounters the humorous and whimsical characters such as the erratic Mad Hatter, the grinning Cheshire Cat, the sage Caterpillar, and the crazy Queen of Hearts. Each chapter is delightful and amusing. The game of croquet takes on a new challenge when played with hedgehog balls that get up and move about and flamingo mallets, which are difficult to manage. And just who did steal the tarts? The ending is the same! As a matter of fact, the text is just as Carrol published it originally in 1865. Oxenbury has brought it into the present century with her wonderful illustrations and watercolor paintings. Upon reading the fantasy to a nine-year-old, I am convinced that this classic begs to be shared! Through the insight of a young person, one can delight in the nonsensical characters, prose and poetry.
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
Alice is sitting with her sister and grows tired of doing absolutely nothing. While her sister reads, Alice picks some daisies when she sees a white Rabbit dressed in a waistcoat. The rabbit is holding a watch worrying that he is going to be late. Alice follows the rabbit and falls down the rabbit hole. In this new, strange place, Alice experiences many adventures. Unfortunately, these adventures are not happy ones but are more like nightmares. This world is called Wonderland and has very crazy creatures. She meets the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, and the Cheshire Cat. When she meets the Queen, she is invited to play a game of croquet, but, when the Queen shows her wicked side, Alice's life greatly changes. How will she be able to find her way back to the home she came from? Are there any creatures that live in Wonderland who can help her, and if so, how will she find them? At the end of the book, the author includes information on the main characters, Lewis Carroll, the retelling author, and the illustrator. There is also a glossary. This is a good book to use when introducing chapter books. Books written in graphic format are favorites of mine. They make it just the thing for students who are reluctant readers and never seem to finish a book on their own. They are also a wonderful way to introduce a variety of genres to young people. Young readers who want to read anything they can get their hands on will enjoy the graphics and fast-paced text. The full-color graphics make an enormous impact on the story. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The text of the classic tale remains unabridged here. It is in the illustrations that we get an emotional tone different from the many other available versions. This Alice peers at us from the cover through a hole in the paper jacket, which shows depictions of many characters we meet more fully on the pages inside. Here, she is a brunette with crisply cut bangs who looks a bit less innocent than Tenniel's original Alice. On the cover, her picture is placed on a dark blue cloth binding with letters, trim, and page edges of gold. Lipchenko's interpretation answers the challenge of a "new" Alice with a freshness and visual complexity that grabs attention immediately. He limits his large-format visual presentation to rust red drawings on light tan backgrounds and black on white. He has created the cast of characters to illuminate the text while offering subtle comedy (e.g., a tipsy Mad Hatter, a needle-nosed Duchess). His intricately detailed settings, with their flavor of the 19th century, invite us to linger even as the story flows on. The initial upper-case letters of each chapter are illuminated; even the page numbers are set in decorated vignettes. There is a baroque quality to the way the drawings move across the gutters and become integrated to enhance the visual narrative. Comparisons with other versions should yield a rich reward. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Matthews, well known for his work in sci-fi and fantasy realms, turns his attention to Carroll's classic. His illustrations, which vary between single- and double-page full-color airbrushed paintings and smaller sepia-toned vignettes, have an imagination-stretching, otherworldly veneer. Rich in purple and green hues, the cartoon artwork portrays an Alice with a somewhat angular face and straight blond hair. The depictions of the other characters are fresh and creative, as each familiar figure is festooned with delightfully exaggerated features, kinetic lines, and jewel-toned costuming. The paintings have a fine-art quality to them, and the grandiose scenes provide much detail and action for readers to explore and enjoy. Card-suit motifs appear in both the handsome book design and within the illustrations themselves. Unfortunately, some of the double-page artwork gets lost in the book's gutter. Matthews admits to suggesting "a wider visual arena for the story, including a space scene and the Palace of Hearts (not mentioned by Carroll)." The consistency of artistic vision and quality of the illustrations make this re-interpretation a success. The small-size type, which may demand more accomplished or patient readers, and the sophisticated visual tone make this volume appropriate for older Alice fans.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8 Many fine artists have illustrated Alice in Wonderland , notably Arthur Rackham Heinemann, 1907; o.p., Ralph Steadman Potter, 1973; o.p., and Barry Moser University of California Pr, 1982. Like the others, Browne utilizes Carroll's full text, including the ``Golden Afternoon'' poem and an author's note about the Hatter's Riddle. As a tribute to Tenniel's artistry, most of the best illustrators echo his unforgettable drawings. Although some of Browne's illustrations borrow Tenniel's composition, for example the frog doorman and the fish messenger, Browne's hyper-realistic style and quirky details make them his own. He ably avoids the Disneyesque trap that many full-color illustrators fall into. His Alice, more ordinary and child-like, meets all of the customary bizzare creatures, including Browne's signature gorilla. Readers will enjoy discovering the odd details that Browne includes, such as the fish mustache on the marble bust or the club-shaped beauty mark and the pig-earred hat on the Duchess. Reillustrating a classic like Alice in Wonderland is a challenge. Many have tried, but only a few can match Lewis Carroll's brilliance. Anthony Browne is one of them. Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-In a note, Foreman explains that he has based his artwork for this classic on photographs taken by Carroll of the "real Alice" (Alice Liddell), some of which are reproduced in this book. The illustrator points out how, with her "mischievous little face," she "seems as much a child of the 1960s or the twenty-first century as the 1860s." With her short gray-black hair, turned-up nose, and simple striped dress, his Alice makes an almost comfortingly drab counterbalance to the otherwise colorful characters and bright backdrops that fill the tale. Ranging from small vignettes to the occasional two-page painting, the watercolors shimmer with seaside shades of blue, green, and yellow. The pictures are packed with movement, whimsy, and humor, and are perfectly placed to match the pace of the action. Scenes depicting the time before and after Alice's descent into the rabbit hole are done in brown and white, neatly delineating the beginning and end of her adventure. This version makes a solid choice for those libraries looking to spiff up their Alice collections with a splash of color.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appeals to all new generations, and Richard Kelly’s edition is a fresh and fitting jamboree for our time. For the first time, it gives us in a single book both Lewis Carroll’s early version of Alice Under Ground and the full version of the story. It encapsulates the major theories of what the book means, and it provides photographs that Carroll took and excerpts from his diaries and letters; it also offers examples of early reviews, imitations, parodies, and recollections of the author. Altogether it is a splendid cornucopia that is bound to become the ultimate Alice for us and for generations to come." - Morton N. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, City University of New York, author of Lewis Carroll: A Biography, and editor of The Selected Letters of Lewis Carroll
Denver Post - Clair Martin
Pair[s] a perpetually suspicious Alice with peculiar creatures that well warrant her chariness.
Seattle Times - Mary Ann Gwinn
Carroll's hall-of-mirrors children's tale and Steadman's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" style make for an eerily perfect fit.
San Diego Union-Tribune - David Elliott
Explosive ink drawings... acidic whimsies splash across pages, bringing dear Alice a newly stimulating cup of tea.
dingbatmag.com
Don't count on a bookful of sweet, charming etchings of the shrinking golden girl; this is a somewhat less flattering Alice than the one we've come to know and expect. In over 40 pen and ink illustrations, this Wonderland is more tempestuous; of greater, grittier (and funnier) distortion... when dangerous satirists like Steadman exercise their imaginations and lyric, delirious pens in the slivers and shards of a distorted world -- look out.
Waterbury Republican-American - Betsy Daley
Alice as you've rarely seen her... fun for all ages... full of the wit and wisdom Carroll originally gave us.
Victoria Times-Colonist - Liz Pogue
Sophisticated humor
Toronto Star
Ferocious Steadman spin.
White Rabbit Tales [Newsletter of the Lewis Carrol
[Steadman's drawings] are still remarkably fresh and unique.
ForeWord Magazine - Patty Comeau

For A Is for Alice:

'Each image offered here provides evidence of its creation; there is a reminder, with each turn of the page, of the hand and thought that guided each groove. Walker's ability to impress such great detail (as in the grain of both the fur of the Cheshire Cat, and the branch upon which he is perched) in a print made with woodblocks is remarkable.... At the heart of this book is the art of the book, pages kissed by poetic samples of Carroll's writing and bound using artisan techniques onsite at The Porcupine's Quill headquarters. It is a high-quality, collectible edition in which fans of the Alice stories, bibliophiles, and young readers will delight.

ForeWord Magazine

For A Is for Alice:

'Each image offered here provides evidence of its creation; there is a reminder, with each turn of the page, of the hand and thought that guided each groove. Walker's ability to impress such great detail (as in the grain of both the fur of the Cheshire Cat, and the branch upon which he is perched) in a print made with woodblocks is remarkable.... At the heart of this book is the art of the book, pages kissed by poetic samples of Carroll's writing and bound using artisan techniques onsite at The Porcupine's Quill headquarters. It is a high-quality, collectible edition in which fans of the Alice stories, bibliophiles, and young readers will delight.

— Patty Comeau

Anonymous
I have this book. It is beautifully illustrated. I do not understand the comment of a previous reviewer who complained about the number of illustrations. Nearly every page is beautifully illustrated. Every chapter is introduced with a two-page illustration. There are numerous two-page and full single-page illustrations throughout the book. I'm an adult who fell in love with this story when I saw Disney's Alice in Wonderland. This is a worthy addition to my collection of things Carroll. I recomme
From Barnes & Noble
All of Alice's adventures playfully pop up in this gleeful retelling of the world-famous classic. Flip through page after page of detailed cutouts, from Alice's spiral fall, to color-changing roses, to a deck of hanging cards. 8 1/2" x 11 3/4". Color illus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972499521
  • Publisher: Alcazar AudioWorks
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003

Meet the Author

Lewis Carroll

Nancy Willard is the author of two novels, Things Invisible to See and Sister Water, and eleven books of poetry. Her many books for children include A Visit to William Blake's Inn, which won the Newbery Medal in 1982, as well as receiving a Caldecott Honor. Nancy is a lecturer at Vassar College and lives with her husband in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Biography

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a man of diverse interests -- in mathematics, logic, photgraphy, art, theater, religion, medicine, and science. He was happiest in the company of children for whom he created puzzles, clever games, and charming letters.

As all Carroll admirers know, his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), became an immediate success and has since been translated into more than eighty languages. The equally popular sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, was published in 1872.

The Alice books are but one example of his wide ranging authorship. The Hunting of the Snark, a classic nonsense epic (1876) and Euclid and His Modern Rivals, a rare example of humorous work concerning mathematics, still entice and intrigue today's students. Sylvie and Bruno, published toward the end of his life contains startling ideas including an 1889 description of weightlessness.

The humor, sparkling wit and genius of this Victorian Englishman have lasted for more than a century. His books are among the most quoted works in the English language, and his influence (with that of his illustrator, Sir John Tenniel) can be seen everywhere, from the world of advertising to that of atomic physics.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 27, 1832
    2. Place of Birth:
      Daresbury, Cheshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 14, 1898
    2. Place of Death:
      Guildford, Surrey, England

Read an Excerpt

From Tan Lin's Introduction to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There pursue what lies beyond and down rabbit holes and on reverse sides of mirrors. But mainly their subject is what comes after, and in this sense the books are allegories about what a child can know and come to know. This quest, as in many great works of literature, unwinds against a larger backdrop: what can and what cannot be known at a particular historical moment, a moment that in Lewis Carroll's case preceded both Freud's speculations on the unconscious and Heisenberg's formulation of the uncertainty principle. Yet because the books were written by a teacher of mathematics who was also a reverend, they are also concerned with what can and cannot be taught to a child who has an infinite faith in the goodness and good sense of the world. But Alice's quest for knowledge, her desire to become something (a grown-up) she is not, is inverted. The books are not conventional quest romances in which Alice matures, overcomes obstacles, and eventually gains wisdom. For when Alice arrives in Wonderland, she is already the most reasonable creature there. She is wiser than any lesson books are able to teach her to be. More important, she is eminently more reasonable than her own feelings will allow her to express. What comes after for Alice? Near the end of Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen tells Alice, "Something's going to happen!"

Quests for mastery are continually frustrated in the Alice books. In comparison with the ever—sane Alice, it is the various Wonderland creatures who appear to be ridiculous, coiners of abstract word games. Yet Carroll also frustrates, with equal precision, Alice's more reasonable human desires. Why, after all, cannot Alice know why the Mad Hatter is mad? Or why will Alice never get to 20 in her multiplication tables? In Carroll, the logic of mathematical proofs runs counter to the logic of reasonable human desire—and neither logic is easily mastered. To his radical epistemological doubt, Carroll added a healthy dose of skepticism for the conventional children's story—a story that in his day came packaged with a moral aim and treated the child as an innocent or tabula rasa upon which the morals and knowledge of the adult could be tidily imprinted.

Alice embodies an idea Freud would later develop at length: What Alice the child already knows, the adult has yet to learn. Or to be more precise, what Alice has not yet forgotten, the adult has yet to remember as something that is by nature unforgettable. In other words, in Alice childhood fantasy meets the reality of adulthood, which to the child looks as unreal and unreasonable as a Cheshire Cat's grin or a Queen who yells "Off with her head!" But even as she calls adult reality unreal, Alice, as the most reasonable creature in her unreasonable dreams, doesn't quite yet realize that the adult's sense of reality has already taken up residence in her. The principal dream of most children—the dream within the dream, as it were—is the dream of not dreaming any longer, the dream of growing up. For the adult, the outlook is reversed. The adult's quest is an inverted one: to find those desires again, in more reasonable forms—and this involves forgetting the original childhood desires (to become an adult) in order to remember them as an adult. The psychoanalyst Adam Phillips notes: "Freud is not really saying that we are really children, but that the sensual intensities of childhood cannot be abolished, that our ideals are transformed versions of childhood pleasures. Looking forward . . . is a paradoxical form of looking back. The future is where one retrieves the pleasures, the bodily pleasures of the past."1 The Alice books manage to show both these quests—that of the child to look forward, and of the adult to look back—simultaneously, as mirror logics of each other.

Like both Freud and the surrealists, Carroll implicitly understood that a child's emotions and desires appear omnipotent and boundless to the child—and thus make the adult's forgetting of them difficult if not illogical. Growing up poses psychological and logical absurdities. The quandary of a logically grounded knowledge constituted out of an illogical universe pervades both books. The questions that Alice asks are not answered by the animals in Wonderland nor by anyone after she wakens. It is likely that her questions don't have answers or that there are no right questions to ask. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass remain the most prophetic of the nineteenth century's anti-narratives, inverted quest romances, circular mathematical treatises on the illogical logic of forgetting one's desires. They display a logic that the child must master in order to grow up. As the White Queen remarks of the Red Queen: "She's in that state of mind . . . that she wants to deny something—only she doesn't know what to deny!"

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Table of Contents

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Preface


Introduction


It is difficult to explain in words what the pictures are trying to say, and therefore my explanations are not precisely what I had in mind because they add shades of meaning which are not there. The reader can only interpret them in his own way, bringing his own observations to bear on the image he is looking at, so that he may agree or disagree with what I have tried to convey. When I set out to draw an idea, part of that idea is not yet formed and only takes shape and reveals itself as the drawing progresses. Consequently, the drawing acquires a life of its own and virtually takes over the direction it will follow -- or so it seems.

I have made a few notes about some of the pictures. The rest are self explanatory or purely illustrations.

THE WHITE RABBIT. Worried by time, hurrying and scurrying. Sane within a routine, slightly insane but more engaging when the routine is upset. Today's commuter.

THE DODO in this picture reminded me of an Archbishop and being as "dead as a dodo" it fitted perfectly. The other animals remind me of people I know, rather as Lewis Carroll apparently created them around friends and associates. The reader can place his own interpretation on them. It was never my intention to set everything in concrete.

I rather hate dogs. They seem to have soaked up all the worst in human nature. They are more human and even more stupid. In place of Tenniel's pug dog which perhaps was the fashionable dog when he drew the pictures, the poodle seems the most apt substitute. The dog is the perfect feed for the man who wants his ego pumped. He can take for granted the dog's blind loyalty and obedience. The dog fouls thepavement and the man fouls the rest of the world.

THE YOUNG INTELLECTUAL. Smoking hash, pedantic, who thinks he has something to say and sheds his opinions as easily as his skins.

THE FATHER WILLIAM set to me is the arrogance of youth versus the certainty of an old man's memories.

  1. The young man reinforces his arrogance by using the old man's experience as a crutch.
  2. Whilst throwing past standards out of the window the young man may often come back in through the door if he finds his
  3. yardstick less than three feet.
  4. An old man can become intense talking about right and wrong, and a youth can become bored as a result.
  5. The old man showing he hasn't lost his touch but the young man finds it is all a big joke.


THE DUCHESS is an ex-starlet who married the aristocrat. A high-class tart gone to seed. Her tiny mind has developed a home-spun philosophy within a cultured environment in an effort to keep up appearances.

THE COOK found fame in the kitchen and enjoys her prima donna tendencies.

THE CHESHIRE CAT makes an ideal TV Announcer whose smile remains as the rest of the programme fades out.

The growth of the tea party tree turns logic upside down. It begins in a puzzle at its top and grows down to its roots.

THE HATTER represents the unpleasant sides of human nature. The unreasoned argument screams at you. The bully, the glib quiz game compère who rattles off endless reels of unanswerable riddles and asks you to come back next week and make a bloody fool of yourself again.

THE MARCH HARE is always standing close by. The "egger-on" urging the banality to plumb even greater depths. He always seems to be around to push someone into a fight.

THE DORMOUSE is always the dormouse. Harmless and nice. The man anyone in the office can take a rise out of. If you tread on his face he will smile right back at you.

THE BRITISH WORKMAN. Bickering about who splashed who and standing in the stuff all the time anyway.

THE MONARCH having evolved or developed into a shapeless mass of hangers-on, the State, H.M. Forces, the Church, the establishment walking on one pair of very well-worn legs. The King and Queen born into it and enveloped in it and lost in it, obliged to go through the motions automatically but surprising even themselves by their own outbursts.

The Duchess again The old con trying to glean from Alice some of the objectivity and honesty she lost years ago.

The croquet game when internal confusion disrupts the xvhole structure. Practically showing its knickers, the heaving mass struggles vainly to maintain its dignity and avoid humiliation.

THE GRYPHON to me is the commissionaire of a modern office block. His epaulettes are his wings. He is slow thinking, sometimes ignorant. If you walk into the building in a humble manner, he exercises his authority to the full and crushes you, but if you walk in looking important he will lick your boots. The only man in the building he can order about is the caretaker, so he is the mock turtle who may have more intelligence but is satisfied with his lot, or at least has accepted it graciously. They may also be quite good friends. The dance would express their nicer sides when they are.

THE LOBSTER wearing the old school tie joins exclusive clubs and reckons he is pretty sharp until a real shark comes along.

My only regret is that I didn't write the story.

Ralph Steadman - London - 1967

--

Yes, I did! I did write the story, in my other life. It was all so familiar when I picked it up and read it for the first time in 1967. For the first time, as I thought, but don't you ever get that strange sensation that what you are reading or watching is something you already know? Something that is in your mind already? Bells of recognition ring as you welcome an old friend. All good ideas are like that. You already know them. The familiarity is part of the enjoyment. The words someone has taken the trouble to write down merely reveal the contents of your own mind. The picture someone has struggled to create is something you have already seen, otherwise how would you ever recognise its content?

You have already experienced the sum of its parts. You have lived them, or maybe you have dreamed them. They are the vocabulary of a vast collective consciousness which it is your everyday choice to delve into or ignore at will. What we choose to emphasise forms the structure of our lives, and what an artist chooses to depict forms the basis of his work -- but of course not the sum total, for in an artist's world two and two make five. And what an artist says three times is true! Familiarity breeds acceptance. The greater the artist, the greater number of reference points are offered for the rest of us to recognise. The more we recognise, the better we feel. We experience a greater satisfaction because we have contributed to the whole. The spectator has fulfilled his role to a greater or lesser degree depending on his or her receptive faculties.

As far as my pictures are concerned in their role as extensions of Lewis Carroll's stories, they stand up for me as well today as they did when I first made them nearly two decades ago. It would be interesting if the reader could identify (no prizes, of course) the new pictures I have drawn for this edition. I have tried to remain true to originals, and I defy anyone to detect the difference. Lewis Carroll has unravelled some of the complicated conundrums that bedevil our daily lives and our dream-worlds. My pictures are one man's response between the lines.

What can be said in pictures cannot necessarily be said in words, and vice versa. "Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

"I know what you're thinking about, but it isn't so, nohow."

Ralph Steadman - Maidstone Bird Sanctuary - September 1986

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

It is difficult to explain in words what the pictures are trying to say, and therefore my explanations are not precisely what I had in mind because they add shades of meaning which are not there. The reader can only interpret them in his own way, bringing his own observations to bear on the image he is looking at, so that he may agree or disagree with what I have tried to convey. When I set out to draw an idea, part of that idea is not yet formed and only takes shape and reveals itself as the drawing progresses. Consequently, the drawing acquires a life of its own and virtually takes over the direction it will follow -- or so it seems.

I have made a few notes about some of the pictures. The rest are self explanatory or purely illustrations.

THE WHITE RABBIT. Worried by time, hurrying and scurrying. Sane within a routine, slightly insane but more engaging when the routine is upset. Today's commuter.

THE DODO in this picture reminded me of an Archbishop and being as "dead as a dodo" it fitted perfectly. The other animals remind me of people I know, rather as Lewis Carroll apparently created them around friends and associates. The reader can place his own interpretation on them. It was never my intention to set everything in concrete.

I rather hate dogs. They seem to have soaked up all the worst in human nature. They are more human and even more stupid. In place of Tenniel's pug dog which perhaps was the fashionable dog when he drew the pictures, the poodle seems the most apt substitute. The dog is the perfect feed for the man who wants his ego pumped. He can take for granted the dog's blind loyalty and obedience. The dog fouls the pavementand the man fouls the rest of the world.

THE YOUNG INTELLECTUAL. Smoking hash, pedantic, who thinks he has something to say and sheds his opinions as easily as his skins.

THE FATHER WILLIAM set to me is the arrogance of youth versus the certainty of an old man's memories.

  1. The young man reinforces his arrogance by using the old man's experience as a crutch.
  2. Whilst throwing past standards out of the window the young man may often come back in through the door if he finds his
  3. yardstick less than three feet.
  4. An old man can become intense talking about right and wrong, and a youth can become bored as a result.
  5. The old man showing he hasn't lost his touch but the young man finds it is all a big joke.

THE DUCHESS is an ex-starlet who married the aristocrat. A high-class tart gone to seed. Her tiny mind has developed a home-spun philosophy within a cultured environment in an effort to keep up appearances.

THE COOK found fame in the kitchen and enjoys her prima donna tendencies.

THE CHESHIRE CAT makes an ideal TV Announcer whose smile remains as the rest of the programme fades out.

The growth of the tea party tree turns logic upside down. It begins in a puzzle at its top and grows down to its roots.

THE HATTER represents the unpleasant sides of human nature. The unreasoned argument screams at you. The bully, the glib quiz game compère who rattles off endless reels of unanswerable riddles and asks you to come back next week and make a bloody fool of yourself again.

THE MARCH HARE is always standing close by. The "egger-on" urging the banality to plumb even greater depths. He always seems to be around to push someone into a fight.

THE DORMOUSE is always the dormouse. Harmless and nice. The man anyone in the office can take a rise out of. If you tread on his face he will smile right back at you.

THE BRITISH WORKMAN. Bickering about who splashed who and standing in the stuff all the time anyway.

THE MONARCH having evolved or developed into a shapeless mass of hangers-on, the State, H.M. Forces, the Church, the establishment walking on one pair of very well-worn legs. The King and Queen born into it and enveloped in it and lost in it, obliged to go through the motions automatically but surprising even themselves by their own outbursts.

The Duchess again The old con trying to glean from Alice some of the objectivity and honesty she lost years ago.

The croquet game when internal confusion disrupts the xvhole structure. Practically showing its knickers, the heaving mass struggles vainly to maintain its dignity and avoid humiliation.

THE GRYPHON to me is the commissionaire of a modern office block. His epaulettes are his wings. He is slow thinking, sometimes ignorant. If you walk into the building in a humble manner, he exercises his authority to the full and crushes you, but if you walk in looking important he will lick your boots. The only man in the building he can order about is the caretaker, so he is the mock turtle who may have more intelligence but is satisfied with his lot, or at least has accepted it graciously. They may also be quite good friends. The dance would express their nicer sides when they are.

THE LOBSTER wearing the old school tie joins exclusive clubs and reckons he is pretty sharp until a real shark comes along.

My only regret is that I didn't write the story.

Ralph Steadman - London - 1967

--

Yes, I did! I did write the story, in my other life. It was all so familiar when I picked it up and read it for the first time in 1967. For the first time, as I thought, but don't you ever get that strange sensation that what you are reading or watching is something you already know? Something that is in your mind already? Bells of recognition ring as you welcome an old friend. All good ideas are like that. You already know them. The familiarity is part of the enjoyment. The words someone has taken the trouble to write down merely reveal the contents of your own mind. The picture someone has struggled to create is something you have already seen, otherwise how would you ever recognise its content?

You have already experienced the sum of its parts. You have lived them, or maybe you have dreamed them. They are the vocabulary of a vast collective consciousness which it is your everyday choice to delve into or ignore at will. What we choose to emphasise forms the structure of our lives, and what an artist chooses to depict forms the basis of his work -- but of course not the sum total, for in an artist's world two and two make five. And what an artist says three times is true! Familiarity breeds acceptance. The greater the artist, the greater number of reference points are offered for the rest of us to recognise. The more we recognise, the better we feel. We experience a greater satisfaction because we have contributed to the whole. The spectator has fulfilled his role to a greater or lesser degree depending on his or her receptive faculties.

As far as my pictures are concerned in their role as extensions of Lewis Carroll's stories, they stand up for me as well today as they did when I first made them nearly two decades ago. It would be interesting if the reader could identify (no prizes, of course) the new pictures I have drawn for this edition. I have tried to remain true to originals, and I defy anyone to detect the difference. Lewis Carroll has unravelled some of the complicated conundrums that bedevil our daily lives and our dream-worlds. My pictures are one man's response between the lines.

What can be said in pictures cannot necessarily be said in words, and vice versa. "Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

"I know what you're thinking about, but it isn't so, nohow."

Ralph Steadman - Maidstone Bird Sanctuary - September 1986

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Helen Oxenbury

Barnes & Noble.com: When you were a child, did you always know you'd be an artist of some sort when you grew up? How did you get your start illustrating kids' books?

Helen Oxenbury: No, I didn't think I would be an artist, but my father was an architect, so drawing in one way or another was very familiar to me. I drew all the time -- but I didn't really think anything of it. It was just something I thought everybody did. What I wanted to be was a dancer. I learned ballet from the age of three and absolutely loved it. And later on, I wanted to be a tennis player. I made it to Junior Wimbledon, but when you go somewhere like that, you realize when you haven't got it -- that you're not good enough. I wasn't -- so that was the end of that. Then when I left secondary school, my father encouraged me to go to art school. I loved every minute of the course I took in art. And I suppose it was at that moment that I thought I would carry on and try for a career in art. But not in illustration at that point. I specialized in theater design. And I worked in the theater for a few years and in television, and it was only after I had married John [Burningham], who was an illustrator and had already produced about two books, that I got the idea. I saw what was involved and how it was done and when we married and started a family, I really wanted to carry on working, so I tried to illustrate children's books -- because I could do it at home. I didn't have to leave the babies. And that's how I started illustrating.

B&N.com: What made you want to take on Alice in Wonderland as a project?

HO: My mother read Alice to me when I was a little girl, and I'm not sure that I particularly understood it all, but I just caught her enthusiasm for it. She loved it. And then I went back to it as an adult and saw all the things that she had loved in it. I, too, loved it on another level. But how this Alice came about was that a television company wanted to make an animated film about it, and they asked a few people to submit illustrations; I think mine were the most suitable. So I did a lot of work and a lot of research on Alice, and that's when I found my ideal Alice. And the project was all sort of going ahead...and then the team left. So I thought, I've done so much work on this, this must be the moment that I go ahead and try and do it on my own. So I took my work to my publisher, and he said, "yes, fine, go ahead."

B&N.com: Was it difficult to illustrate Alice in Wonderland?

HO: Yes. There were several times when I wanted to give it up or to shelve it and go back to it in six months. But my publisher was very encouraging, and they said, "Oh come on, Helen, you can do it...get on with it -- do it." So I did. And that's how it came about.

B&N.com: How long did it take you to illustrate Alice in Wonderland?

HO: It took a good two years to do. But all the research and working, thinking it was going to be an animated film, was about a year before that. So I'd say three years in all. It was difficult because Alice in Wonderland comes with so much baggage; the most wonderful people have illustrated it. And of course I was brought up with the Tenniel illustrations -- which I loved -- but I had to think of how to make it different from Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland. His version was quite sparsely illustrated, so I thought for today's children, because the language is a little bit difficult, they probably could be helped along the way with pictures. So I made my Alice in Wonderland quite densely illustrated. I also wanted to bring to the fore the peripheral characters like the little creatures, which Tenniel didn't do. And to make my illustrations a little warmer and a little more humorous than Tenniel's.

B&N.com: Throughout your career, you've worked on books geared toward a wide range of ages. Is there a type of book that is more difficult for you to illustrate?

HO: The board books, I suppose [I Can, I Hear, I See, I Touch]. It's quite difficult to pare down and simplify. It looks easy, but it isn't. Like an author with his writing, it's extremely difficult to take something down to the bare bones. It took quite a time to get a style going for those board books.

B&N.com: What kinds of things do you like to do when you're not working?

HO: Well, I still play tennis. I kept it up...but it's on a really pathetic level now. I also do yoga, and I love exploring antique shops and junk shops.

B&N.com: What advice do you have for kids who say they want to be illustrators?

HO: Well, I say, "Go ahead!" It is so much more difficult today than it was in my day. I mean, I wouldn't like to have to start now. It's so competitive, and there are so many children's books around. But don't not do it because of that, if you really want to.

B&N.com: Can you tell me some of your favorite kids' books?

HO: That's jolly difficult. I love the work of Edward Ardizzone and Dr. Seuss, who's an absolute genius. But no specific books are coming to me right now. I know, when I put the phone down, it will all come to me....

B&N.com: That's all right, we'll leave it at that. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. Your Wonderland is simply wonderful, and it's been great getting to know you. (Jamie Levine)

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS
by Lewis Carroll

 

INTRODUCTION

In his diary on July 4, 1862, Lewis Carroll wrote, "Duckworth and I made an expedition up the river to Godstow with the three Liddells: we had tea on the bank there, and did not reach Christ Church again till quarter past eight, when we took them to my rooms to see my collection of micro photographs, and restored them to the Deanery just before nine." Although Carroll did not know at the time, this excursion proved to be the catalyst for the fairy tale which he initially called Alice's Adventures Underground.

In later years, Carroll, his friend Robinson Duckworth, and Alice Liddell all alluded to this day as the origin of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In the opening poem to the story, Carroll wrote:

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out —
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

In its initial form, this tale told on July 4, 1862, was simply another entry in the oral story tradition that Carroll forged on the numerous expeditions on the "quiet stream." Years later, Carroll wrote, "many a day we had rowed together on that quiet stream—the three little maidens and I—and many a fairy tale had been extemporised for their benefit." He indicates there were numerous other tales that "lived and died like summer midges," but in this single instance "one of my little listeners petitioned that the tale might be written out for her," and thus began Alice's adventures.

Alice's adventures begin on a lazy summer day when a "White Rabbit with pink eyes" races by her. While it was unremarkable for a rabbit to run by her and it was not "very much out of the way" to hear the Rabbit talk, she hurried after the White Rabbit when it "actually took a watch out of its waistcoat pocket." Alice scrambled to her feet and followed it, without a thought, down a large rabbit-hole. Similarly, in Through the Looking-Glass, Alice impulsively goes through the glass over the mantel and into the Looking-Glass room. Later, in both stories, this initial impulsiveness becomes tempered through experience. Although Alice learns from her experiences, the stories were neither moralistic nor written for the purpose of teaching lessons. Instead, they were, and still are, two of the most highly imaginative fairy tales ever conceived.

Both Alice and Looking-Glass, while drawn from Carroll's extemporaneous stories, were later refined and infused with a wealth of allusions to both his own experiences and Alice's. In her travels through Wonderland and the chess-board world behind the Looking-Glass, Alice encounters a multitude of curiosities, many traceable to experiences in her own life. In chapter II of Alice, "The Pool of Tears," she encounters a Duck, a Dodo, a Lory, and an Eaglet. This entire episode in the pool alludes to a trip that Carroll referred to in his diary for June 17, 1862. On this day, during a trip, the traveling party was drenched in a downpour. The animals who appear in the "Pool" chapter represent the trip's participants: the Duck is Carroll's friend Robinson Duckworth, the Dodo is Carroll (a stutterer all his life, Carroll would often pronounce his real name Dodgson as "Do-Do-Dodgson"), and the Lory and the Eaglet are Alice's sisters, Lorina and Edith.

When it was published in 1865, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was reviewed widely in newspapers and journals drawing near universal praise. Among the reviewing publications were The Times, the Spectator, and the Publisher's Circular. The Circular selected the story as "the most original and most charming" of the 200 books for children they were sent that year. When it was published in late 1871, Through the Looking-Glass reaped similar praise.

While Carroll continued to write children's stories, his distinguished place in literary history was firmly established with the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. By the time Carroll died in 1898, there were about 250,000 copies of these stories in print.

While the Alice books have charmed and excited children ever since their first publication, they have also stimulated a wide array of literary, philosophical, and psychological discussion from twentieth-century writers. As the editor of the Penguin Classics edition, Hugh Haughton, makes clear, at the heart of these children's books lie fascinating questions about meaning. Maneuvering throughout Carroll's puns, word plays, and unconventional prose, the adult reader of these books, often finds him or herself feeling two responses at once: a submission to the spontaneous play of nonsense, to utter meaninglessness—as the Lobster-Quadrille would urge—and a compulsion to interpret, or decode meaning in even the most trivial incident—as Queen Alice might do. For twentieth-century writers like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and W. H. Auden who borrowed freely from Carroll, the Alice books have become models of experimental writing. For other intellectuals, reading Alice's Adventures and Through the Looking-Glass as Surrealist dream books, Freudian case studies, or political allegories, they have become texts brimming with profound insights.

 

ABOUT LEWIS CARROLL Of Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf said, "since childhood remained in him entire, he could do what no one else has ever been able to do—he could return to that world; he could re-create it, so that we too become children again." Edmund Wilson also recognized Carroll's ability to see from a child's perspective when he noted, "Lewis Carroll is in touch with the real mind of childhood." Wilson linked this understanding to a flair for drawing on "the more primitive elements of the mind of maturity." These characterizations describing the creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass exemplify the enigmatic Carroll. However, most casual readers may be unaware that Carroll was also a don at Christ Church, Oxford University where he spent most of his adult life as a Mathematics lecturer. In addition, Carroll was a logician, a renowned photographer, and a prolific letter writer and diarist.

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in 1832 in the parsonage of Daresbury in Cheshire, England, a small village about twenty miles from Liverpool. The third child and eldest son in a household of seven girls and four boys, Charles spent the first eleven years of his life on this secluded farm. The surroundings of the parsonage were reflected in the characters and images that grace both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. One can imagine a young Charles seeing the White Rabbit, the animals in the Caucus-Race, the Caterpillar and the mushroom, the Mouse, the garden of flowers and much more as he grew up amidst the barnyard and fields of the parsonage.

In 1850, Charles entered Christ Church, Oxford where he would spend the rest of his life as a student, fellow, and lecturer; and where he developed into an accomplished photographer, and met Alice Liddell, the heroine of his great stories. During his lifetime, Charles Dodgson published nearly 300 works on an array of topics. These works included not only children's stories but also books and pamphlets on mathematics, logic, and philosophical debates at Oxford. In addition, he wrote parodies such as "Hints for Etiquette, or Dining Out Made Easy" and constructed games, puzzles, riddles, and acrostics. Among his works are: Euclid and His Modern Rivals, Formulae of Plane Trigonometry, Guide to the Mathematical Student in Reading, and Game of Logic (a method of teaching the principles of logic to children). Allusions to these writings and interests were scattered throughout the Alice books. Both stories, though clearly written to amuse young children, were also replete with puns and allusions to Victorian society, making them 'mature' enough to pique the interest of adults. Interestingly, Dodgson contrived his pen name as a slight puzzle in itself. The pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was created by Latinizing his two given names, Charles Lutwidge, to Carolus Ludovicus, reversing them and translating them back into English.

Besides the array of intellectual pursuits, Charles Dodgson's interests also extended to gadgets, most importantly the photographic camera. Dodgson was introduced to photography by his Uncle Skeffington Lutwidge. In the 1850s and 1860s, prior to the actual development of film, this art form required patience and devotion. Among the persons of his era whom Dodgson persuaded to sit for portraits were the poet Alfred Tennyson, Sir John Millais, Prince Leopold (the youngest son of Queen Victoria), Lord Salisbury (who became Oxford Chancellor in 1870), the Crown Prince of Denmark, John Ruskin, and the actress Ellen Terry. Besides such luminaries, Dodgson also photographed young children he met during his years at Oxford, including Alice Liddell.

However, it is through Charles Dodgson's extensive letters and diaries that a great deal of his life, motivations, and inspiration are revealed. Starting on January 1, 1861, Dodgson began maintaining a register of all the letters he sent and received. Although the register has never been found, the final number that he recorded was 98,721. In a letter to a friend of his, Mary Brown, he estimated he wrote 2,000 letters each year. There are letters to friends, family, his publisher and illustrator, and to endearing young fans. The minutiae of daily life also crept into his correspondence. After the death of his brother-in-law, just days prior to his own, he wrote his nephew, Stuart Collingwood requesting a simple funeral and burial upon his own death. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson died at age 66 on January 14, 1898.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Traditionally, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are both considered stories intended for children. If you were asked to support the contention that these are actually stories for adults, how would you defend this?
     
  2. Alice Liddell, the model for Carroll's fairy tale heroine, was a young child when these stories were first told. Although a child in the story, Alice often exhibits mature characteristics; and the adult characters often exhibit childish behavior. Do you consider these books to be an adult's view of childhood, or a child's view of adulthood?
     
  3. Alice rarely speaks nonsense and rarely enjoys it when it is spoken to her. In fact, her speech and manners are as proper as those of any Jane Austen heroine. How is Alice's perception of the world changed when confronted with the world and characters of nonsense?
     
  4. The Cheshire Cat suggests that everything Alice experiences in Wonderland is a dream or the result of madness. Prefiguring Freud's theories, Carroll, in a diary entry, defined "insanity as an inability to distinguish which is the waking and which the sleeping life." Besides the obvious absurdities in imagery what other aspects of these books mimic a dream state?
     
  5. "Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves." This play on the proverb, "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves," is a good example of Carroll's word play. Often these word plays end up with a nonsensical locution; but at other times, as is the case here, they create a completely different, often subversive, meaning. Discuss other examples of Carroll's word play.
     
  6. Throughout her adventures, Alice grapples with her identity. While this is a common feature of most children's books, Alice's questioning often inadvertently invokes the ideas of western philosophers from Plato to Bishop Berkeley. What philosophical issues about identity does Alice raise?
     
  7. Throughout both Alice and Looking-Glass, Alice usually exhibits a passivity to the incomprehensible events around her. However, at critical times, she learns to assume control of her circumstances. When does this occur and what actions does she take?
     
  8. What is the significance of the mushroom that Alice eats during her adventures?
     
  9. Let's assume that in Lewis Carroll's original telling of these stories, he viewed himself as a teacher/mentor to Alice Liddell. How do the ways in which the fictional Alice adapts to her shifting and unusual circumstances translate into meaningful lessons for a child of Alice Liddell's age?
     
  10. If the Caterpillar from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were to give advice to Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Through the Looking-Glass on how to solve their differences without having "a bit of a fight," what might the Caterpillar advise?
     
  11. Since their publication, many readers have found material in Carroll's book unsuitable for children. Which parts of the Alice books, if any, do you think are unfit, or even harmful, to children today?
     
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 583 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    DON'T USE THIS VERSION! spelling and formating errors

    The misspelled words in this version can be distracting. Also, the line breaks are awkward. Some sentences stop halfway across the page and begin again two lines down. (distracting isn't it?)It takes a lot away from an otherwise great book. Ex: Pm instead of I'm Ahce instead of Alice

    52 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Misspellings

    Scanned copy w/ no proofreading.

    19 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Dont buy it

    Its not the full story. The full story is some what longer than 140 pgs. This is only 55. But from what is there ,it is good.

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Its alice in wonderland!

    Who cares if there are mistakes? I KNOW i dont. :)

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    Still won,t open in Nook color....... disregard star, only there to allow posting.

    7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Great book.

    Ths book is wonderful. Definitly buy it. There are 181 pages and I think the sample is 55. BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Spell check please

    Bad spelling bad rate and review

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Very well written.

    I really like this book. The author does a good job describing how the main character is feeling and thinking.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Awesome

    I honestly love this book

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    EXCUSE ME

    Will someone PLEASE post a REAL review of this book? Dont use the customer review section as a chat board unless it is about the book. PLEASE AND THANK YOU

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Bad format - don't download

    I know it's a free book, and that is probably why the format is so horrible. But after 2 or 3 chapters, the screen only showed sporadic words about the screen and you couldn't read it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Good book... for the price

    Good book. Classic read. A few spelling mistakes but not as bad as the other free Alice in wonderland nook books. Formatting is much better compared to other free copies of the book. But still has a few formatting errors. The book itself is a wonderful story as long as you are not some uptight grammar buff who cannot stand minor grammatical errors.




    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    A very, very strange book

    Great book. Its in very good detail, and nice characters, to. Though mind that its a very, very, strange book. But its still good. Diserves five stars

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Good

    Good. Slightly boring. Bit good.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Alice in Wonderland . . .

    I've got absolutely no idea why, but suddenly I have been completely drawn to and facinated with this book. It's totally amazing and full of fantasy and humor! There is definately nothing like it. Lewis Carrol, you are a genius!
    Xoxo to all,
    -E

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Hi

    Lots of growing and shrinking
    Fanntasy
    All in all a good book

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Alice

    Very witty alice would have to be my favorite storybook charecter

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Very good read but Many typos

    Very interesting book but all the typos make it very hard to read. Takes a lot of personal creativity to work around.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Very onapropiate!!

    This book is exteremeley inapropiate!!! I could not belive how terrible and x rated thus book is!!! I let my 15 year old son read it and now he's scared for life! This worse than the twilight books and worse than pornagraphy! Yea I'm taking about alice in wonder land! Do not ever ever let your pure child read this horrible perverted book! This book is the worst in the stack!I tried to read it but I freaked out and cracked my nook screen with a hammer! It is so gross. I hilgey do not recomend.. god bless you! Amen

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Alice

    She kept up pace easily with Brandon, her knee-high black boots making barely any sound.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 583 Customer Reviews

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