Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

by Lewis Carroll

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Enriched Classic)

$5.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, March 22

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439169476
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/16/2010
Series: Enriched Classics Series
Edition description: Enriched Classic
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,258,138
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English writer, mathematician, logician, and photographer. He is especially remembered for bringing to life the beloved and long-revered tale of Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871).

Date of Birth:

January 27, 1832

Date of Death:

January 14, 1898

Place of Birth:

Daresbury, Cheshire, England

Place of Death:

Guildford, Surrey, England

Education:

Richmond School, Christ Church College, Oxford University, B.A., 1854; M.A., 1857

Read an Excerpt

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

INTRODUCTION


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass:

TAKING CHILDREN’S LITERATURE ITSELF DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE



The Fourth of July may be America’s national holiday, but a specific fourth—July 4, 1862—is famous for what began as a picnic. On that date, a slightly eccentric young man with a stammer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, went rowing up the Thames River from Oxford, where he taught mathematics at Christ Church, one of the constituent colleges of the great English university, to Godstow. With him were Robinson Duckworth, a colleague and friend, and three of the daughters of Henry Liddell, the dean of Christ Church. To keep the girls amused during rowing and while they had tea along the riverbank, Dodgson made up a story about an adventure Alice Liddell, the middle sister at ten years old, had when she followed a rabbit down a hole. The story might have ended with the picnic had Alice not pestered Dodgson—her own word—to finish the story, which he eventually did, writing it out longhand and adding his own illustrations. The single, leather-bound copy of what Dodgson called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground was delivered to Alice Liddell for Christmas in 1864. Others read the manuscript and convinced Dodgson to have it published. In 1865, the book appeared before the general public as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—Dodgson thought the original title sounded too much like a textbook on mining—under his chosen pen name, Lewis Carroll. And his legend began to grow.

Both the book’s reviews and sales were good, in part because of the quality of the illustrations. Carroll’s publisher, Macmillan, had commissioned one of Great Britain’s most famous illustrators for the book: John Tenniel, who worked for the flourishing humor magazine Punch. When people see Alice today, they picture Alice as Tenniel first drew her (even the Walt Disney version looks comparable). The success of the first book led to a sequel, published in 1871, which achieved even wider acclaim. The books are almost always published as one volume as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Popular culture has shortened the title to simply Alice in Wonderland, and scholars often refer to the two as “the Alice books.”

In both books eccentricity is the order of the day. While Alice tries to keep her wits about her and behave in a “civil” fashion, to adopt the word that Carroll uses most often in the text, the characters around her violate logic and common sense with enthusiasm. Almost all the animals can speak (the puppy near the start of Wonderland is an exception), and when they talk, they convey rudeness and wild irrationality. Carroll has rewritten the familiar verses of the era so that the original meanings disintegrate. When Alice frequently tries to deliver these verses in the manner of a good schoolgirl, they come out all wrong.

Carroll is also remarkable in his ability to refrain from correcting Alice’s behavior; in this, his work is unlike nearly all other children’s books of his time, which were designed to serve as models of behavior for children. The Alice books are designed mainly to amuse. Further, while writers have been describing dreams for a long time—the Bible is filled with them—Carroll makes Alice’s dreams elaborate, absurd, and genuinely funny beyond anything that had gone before. His work influences writers, especially fantasy writers, to this day. Alice has also inspired numerous films, from the 1903 silent film Alice in Wonderland, directed by Cecil Hepworth and renowned for its special effects, to director Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland, in which an older Alice returns to Wonderland for new adventures.

The Life and Work of Lewis Carroll


At least on the surface, Carroll did not set out to become one of the world’s most famous children’s authors. He was born into what the novelist George Orwell called the “lower-upper-middle class,” or the landless gentry. In the nineteenth century, British society was as stratified by social class as it ever would be and included a large class of people who were technically gentlemen and ladies but who lacked much money, property, and an aristocratic title. This class of people tended to take jobs as teachers, doctors, clergymen, and civil servants or join the military. Carroll followed suit and became an academic and a clergyman.

He was born on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire (the place that his grinning, disappearing cat would call home). The eldest son of a country parson, he attended the Rugby School and then Christ Church at Oxford, which would essentially become his life-long professional home. A sometimes erratic student, he was nevertheless brilliant at mathematics, graduating with First Class Honors in Mathematics. He was appointed a Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church and completed his M.A. in 1857.

His interests were not confined solely to academia. He befriended the literary figure John Ruskin and was active in the social circle that revolved around the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of avant-garde artists and writers. He also wrote poetry and short stories from an early age. However, the success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel astonished him; they made Carroll world famous. While he was not comfortable with the attention he received, he wasn’t a real-life Mad Hatter that he is sometimes depicted as being, a kind of artistic lunatic. His dress was sometimes odd, and he struggled with his stammer. (In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Dodo represents the author, in part because when introducing himself he stammered, and his name came out as “Do-Do-Dodgson.”) Nevertheless, Carroll maintained a wide and successful social life.

As part of the faculty at Christ Church, Carroll was expected to become a priest in the Anglican Church. Given his background as the son of a parson, he had been groomed for this step from birth. He became a deacon in 1861, but when the time came to take the final promotion into the priesthood, he asked Dean Liddell to let him out of the commitment. This was against the school’s policy and Carroll should have been discharged, but Liddell allowed him to remain. It’s unclear why Carroll resisted entering the clergy, although his stammer has been advanced as one reason. A better theory may be his interest in alternative religions. He was an enthusiastic member of the Society for Psychical Research, an organization that of its nature requires an interest in ghosts, psychic powers, and other curiosities that do not feature much in conventional Anglicanism (note that the Caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reads Alice’s mind).

Carroll was what we would call today—affectionately—a geek. His academic interest in technical subjects, deep attraction to the high technology of his era (like photography), and social awkwardness are all the same markers we would expect to see in today’s software billionaire.

In 1876, Carroll published what many consider his last great work, another tour de force of nonsense called The Hunting of the Snark. He took early retirement from his mathematics lectureship in 1881 but remained at Christ Church, continuing to write and publish until his death in 1898.

Historical and Literary Context of the Alice Books

The Victorian Era


Carroll’s lifetime, 1832–1898, coincided with the reign of Queen Victoria, 1837–1901, and thus fits within the distinctive period of British life called the Victorian era. It has become a cliché to describe any historical period as a “time of contrasts,” but Victorian Britain really deserves the label. Great Britain had led the world into the Industrial Revolution, creating the first mass-production economy. It did so not only through organization but also through innovation: a series of scientific and technical breakthroughs had, crucially, led to the invention of the steam engine, which it used for rail and sea transportation and in manufacture. This new, modern economy provided Great Britain with economic and military power to establish a widespread empire on which, literally, the sun never set. We think of “globalization” as a recent phenomenon, but it really began under Queen Victoria, if not earlier. At the same time, prosperity had only begun to filter down through the society, and—as any reader of Charles Dickens knows—Victorian Britain was also characterized by its poverty and slums. Life in the poorer parts of the empire was a good deal worse.

While the Alice books are most striking for their nonsensical nature, Carroll’s creation owed much to his expertise in mathematics and logic. Carroll was an amateur inventor and was fascinated by that characteristic modern art form, photography. He spent his life at Oxford teaching undergraduates mathematics, a highly technical subject. Indeed, one can, by using the characters in Carroll’s books as negative examples—models of incorrectness—learn much of formal logic.

Childhood in the Mid-Nineteenth Century


While today children in wealthy Western nations are treated as if they were precious objects, in nineteenth-century England children weren’t held in such esteem. It was common for a family to have a dozen children and lose half to childhood diseases. This phenomenon was not confined to the poor; the Liddell family lost two children. Those who survived were often regarded as small adults and weren’t necessarily well treated. Girls married as young as age twelve. In the rural economy, children started working as soon as they were able; and during Carroll’s day, infamously, children worked (and frequently died) in dangerous factories and mines.

Yet the perception of childhood also underwent a transition during the nineteenth century. A series of laws known collectively as the Factory Acts helped curtail some of the worst abuses in child industrial labor. While it is not easy to pinpoint why attitudes toward children changed, better living conditions (among an influential minority, at least) probably played a part. Many also credit the Romantic movement in literature. The work of William Wordsworth, poet laureate during the 1840s, is often thought especially important in the rethinking of childhood. His memories of his own childhood and depictions of that of others in his writings are thought to have steered people toward a view of the child as a special creature, vulnerable, innocent, yet capable of a heightened intensity of experience that adults have lost.

The Alice books clearly support this movement. In Carroll’s view, Alice is not merely a small adult. He considers her a crucially different being, actually better than adults. This comes through in his writing and demonstrates why he has had such a revolutionary impact on the children’s book genre.

The Children’s Book


Children’s literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was mainly concerned with education and religious instruction. Bible stories and religious songs and tracts were popular. In fact, Alice appears to have read Divine Songs, Attempted in Easie Language for the Use of Children, an eighteenth-century work by Isaac Watts that was continuously reprinted in children’s format during the nineteenth century. (Alice humorously misquotes some of Watts’s songs.) The History of Sandford and Merton, a highly influential early children’s book by Thomas Day, was another eighteenth-century didactic (instructive) work for children reprinted in multiple editions. It presents a cautionary tale of two boys, one of whom behaves morally (and is rewarded) and one of whom pursues a different path.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, new trends emerged in books for children. American writer Mark Twain seemed to take direct aim at didactic children’s literature (and perhaps The History of Sandford and Merton, in particular) with his paired stories “The Story of the Good Little Boy” and “The Story of the Bad Little Boy” (published around 1870). For the good little boy, nothing goes right: even though his Sunday school books tell him that good little boys are rewarded for their virtue, he leads a miserable life and dies a gruesome, albeit comical, death. The bad little boy, too, provides a reverse image of the Sunday school books in his fate: he sins continually and is never punished, going so far as to commit mass murder, and is ultimately elected to the legislature. The two stories are parodies of the literature that adults expected children to take seriously in Twain’s society. In the Sunday school story, of course, the exact opposite happens: the bad little boy is punished, and the good little boy rewarded. Twain suggests that this rarely happens with any consistency in real life.

Carroll openly lampoons traditional didactic children’s literature, substituting sheer nonsense for moral lessons. The Alice books are striking because Alice’s friend Lewis Carroll does not bother to teach her anything, or at least not anything uplifting or important. The point, it seems, is simply to enjoy the story. As the twentieth century began, children had a wide range of entertaining fiction to enjoy, from the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling, to James Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan (published as a novel in 1911 under the title Peter and Wendy ), to the beloved Oz stories of L. Frank Baum (published between 1900 and 1918).

Table of Contents

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?
     

Interviews

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)

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 the pavement 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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1529 reviews.
Bran More than 1 year ago
I've never read the book before last week and must say that disney must have had something against Lewis Carroll because they butchered this amazing book by making that cartoon. This book has an amazing amount of detail that will keep you imagining about each chapter for hours. I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind and a wild imagination. Instant Classic on my shelf
India16 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was very strange, but it kept me interested. My favorite character throughout this whole book was the Caterpillar. I liked how even after changing into a beautiful butterfly, he still remains the same snarky personality. I also enjoyed the descriptive language, and the real-ness that the author brought to Alice.
Rhiannon89 More than 1 year ago
This is a book I can see reading to my children someday (that is, if I ever have any). I'm 19 and I never knew that "Alice in Wonderland" was a book before it was a Disney "Classic". My sister and I were wondering around Barnes and Noble and she stumbled onto this book. She purchased it and attempted to read it but she's only 12 and therefor couldn't really understand some of the wordings (It's written in an old style). I was bored one rainy day and picked it up. I couldn't put it down until I'd finished the whole thing. It's a lovely book and it really does remind me of being a child. I giggled a lot throughout. Overall, good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I decided to read this book after seeing the Tim Burton movie. It had been years since I had seen the Disney cartoon Alice and Wonderland and I remember seeing a Disney version of Alice Through the Looking Glass. In order to remind myself of what I hd seen I decided to read the book and get the original story since I never read it before. I was not overly impressed by the story but enthralled with the imagination and creativity of the world that Alice "falls" into. However I now have more respect for the classic and I definitely think it is something everyone should have in their library as a reminder of what real creativity and imagination was like without being gruesome and gory.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
So many times during my day to day life, I find occasions to quote this fabulous book. It's philosophical nonsense seems to make very much sense in my life. Many times I find myself thinking like Alice and giving myself very good advice, such as, "if you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I own the physical copy of this book and I have to say it was wonderful. The book was a little fast for me; I found it hard to follow at some points. One second Alice was talking to the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the next she's God only knows where. At times, I found myself hating Alice for her foolishness. I mean, seriously, who follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole? The plot over all was all right, it's the significant detailc the story's told in that makes this story a literary classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the cover of this book, the old fashioned style. It stood out over all the other copies of Alice in Wonderland. And of course it is a great classic story. I am very happy with my purchase. This book is a keeper.
AndrewWalker More than 1 year ago
This is one of the deepest works of literature I have ever perused. Deep, taking the meaning here of perplexing and complicated, yet thoroughly enthralling. Both works take on the same general shape (fantastical worlds of surrealism) but with completely unconnected plots. However, this point lacks relevance--as does most of the plot line (if one can find it.) What relevance and meaning there is to be found comes from what one decides to glean from it. The conclusion I arrived at was this enigma of a tale is worth a read, if for no other reason than to challenge one's own thought processes and interpretative capacities. Put simply, Alice/Looking Glass is an infinite enigma of pure imagination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very happy with this book. As a child through adulthood, I had heard and seen the "Alice in Wonderland" story numerous times. However, reading this book gave me a different perspective on Alice's story. I had always thought Alice in Wonderland was one story that told of Alice's adventures in Wonderland. After reading this book, I learned that wasn't true. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written years before Through the Looking-Glass and they are actually 2 separate stories. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling with Alice through her Adventures and I also learned quite about a Lewis Carroll in the introduction of this book. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is a must-have for a classic readers library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just startd to read it and saw they called chapter 1 chaptee 1!!!!!! i thought it was so cute i still think it a great book though. From, A book worm (again)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plenty of scanning errors, but they're mostly minor. Most 's have been turned into ^s for some inexplicable reason. Still, sadly, a better scan than most, and has both Alice books.
crawlDR More than 1 year ago
After seeing the images in the recent 3D movie, I wanted to read this book, again. The forward and appendix provided explanation of Lewis Carroll's life which helped me understand the context of the book better and clarified some of the recent controversy about his relationships with children. Additionally, there was a translation of Jabborwocky which was great.
OctoberHoliday More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, this is actually one of my favorite stories. Thing is, there isn't much of an actual story, is there. It's a book about a girl who falls asleep and dreams she's fallen down a rabbit hole and into a strange world where she meets a bunch and AMAZINGLY created characters and gets into a couple sticky situations. That's all really, it's a fun, colorful story without a point. Because of the lack of plot, it's a very difficult story to form any emotional connection to. Lewis Carroll had an amazing mind, and Wonderland is a beautiful adventure through his world, but making Alice have next to no character growth forces us to remain at arms length from the magical world he created, almost denying us passage in. Alice hardly changes from when she falls asleep to when she wakes up. There is not really a disernable climax, and while she does find herself in plenty of peril, there has to be an effort made in order to see any danger she is in. The reason I do love this story, and the main reason I think it's worth reading, is because of the incredible range of characters. They're all so well-known and interesting. I love to read all of my favorite characters, especially the Hatter and the Cheshire-Cat. They all have such insane personalities, a sense of glorious freedom and fun, but coated with an obvious danger, and that makes them all the more appealing. Quite honestly, I'd switch places with Alice, just to play croquet with the Queen or converse with the Caterpillar, or dance with the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. I could easily spend years sitting with the Dormouse, the March Hare, and the Hatter, sipping tea and just giggling. Really, I think Wonderland is the place for me. Besides the fun characters and interesting situations, there isn't much to the story. It has a lack-luster plot and only the tiniest of messages that comes in near the end. It also teaches us quite an important lesson, but that one may be a little obvious. Deserving of the classic status, definitely, and one of my favorites, but not the best.
GoldenEye2D More than 1 year ago
A little research told me that this story was made up during a 5 mile row boat trip, told to three girls, one of them named Alice. I thought this was pretty interesting. Alice in wonderland is great, very creative, and very imaginative. Alice falls into a world that is much like a dream, and it flows well from one incident to the next. Through the looking glass was harder to follow because it jumped into each event. Our dreams tend to put us from one place to the next with no journey. It is patterned like she's walking through a giant chess board. However, I do like that everything Alice does is backwards. Contrariwise to the mirror she walked through. Very creative. I would definitely share this book with a child. It may be confusing at times, but it is fun.
HorseLover9895 More than 1 year ago
I am a 10 year old homeschooler and I absolutely loved this book!! I could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great; it is a great escape from life. I recommend it to anyone!!! :-)
Amajorbibliophile More than 1 year ago
"Alice in Wonderland," by Lewis Carrol is a truly amazing book, filled with imagination and creativity. While reading, the reader will find that the author truly has a wonderful gift of being able to transport anyone anywhere with his words. Alice's adventure in Wonderland is like no other, a tale which will surely capture the reader's heart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
These are the kinds of books that add to a child's already creative and imaginative nature. However, they are also for adults as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wierdness and abstract perspective depicted in Lewis Carroll's engaging novel may seem like complete and utter insanity at first, but when you take the time to really read between the lines you find that...you were right!! Sometimes it's good for your mind and health to just stop worrying and enjoy a nice bout of good-humoured insanity once in a while. Even still, you may find some worthy life lessons to follow in this book of glorious nonsense, such as the symbolism of the dream rushes in Through the Looking Glass. All in all, an excellent read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is understanding how a much younger person would find this book boring without being able to relate to it at all. But I think that that is what makes this book golden, as it has been for years. Many people have seen the Disney version of 'Alice in Wonderland.' However I found it to be much more thrilling to read the original, therefore you should too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Starting with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I thought it was a strange,but good book. The Mock Turtle, Queen of Hearts,The White Rabbit. They're all good characters! Through the looking Glass I liked better than the first. The idea of going through a mirror into another world I think is wonderful! The poems Jabberwocky,The Lion and the Unicorn and Tweedledee and Tweedledum were great! This book will expand a child's imagination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Such begins the insane, beautiful poem 'Jabberwocky' in Through the Looking-Glass. Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are both splendid. I will choose to focus on Through the Looking Glass, however, as it has remained my favourite for several years. I believe it is a tale for all ages. Every time I read it, I gain some new little bit of insight. The imagination poured into the story will amaze you, as you hop through a mirror and into a world of living chess pieces and epic poetry told by weird little dancing men. In the end, I realized that it is very much like a crazy dream that you wake up wishing you could remember more of. Its really marvelous, so you must read it.
christinelstanley on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This may be a favorite for many, but I dislike it intensely. Imaginative and superbly written; absolutely, but also sinister and weird and irritating! Not for me!
Rachissy on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I just finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland this morning while waiting for my son to get out of Kindergarten. It was the 9th book I've finished. I almost feel like I'm cheating because, like the last book I read, I am very familiar with the story (who isn't?). As I expected it was a fun read and I can't help but think that Lewis Carrol would have been a blast to hang out with. There is nothing much else to say. I knew I'd enjoy it and I did.
sam_vimes on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I enjoyed the book. I can't wait to read it to my nephew and hopefully own children. However, I like some children's books better like: Wind in the Willows and the Chronicles of Narnia but that maybe b/c I grew up with those books and for some odd reason I did not read the whole version of Alice as a child. I liked the word play in the book the best and I will reread it a few times and I am sure I will pick up things I missed. However, you can tell Carroll was on opium when he was writing the book. Overall great book not my favorite child's book but so much better then a lot of books out there!