Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, September 20, 2019

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll is the pen name of Charles Dodgson

January 27, 1832 - Daresbury, England

1865 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

1871 - Through the Looking Glass

January 14, 1898

“One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell them a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice when she was just small
When the men on the chess board
Get up and tell you where to go”

From “Go Ask Alice” by The Jefferson Airplane

The Alice books by Lewis Carroll are deeply imbedded in World culture.  Behind The Bible and the works of Shakespeare they are the third most quoted works in the English language.  They have been translated into languages from Arabic to Urdu.  Many more know his classic works from movies and cartoons than from his books.  They are marketed as children's books but anyone whose inner child is still kicking will love reading them.  Having of course seen cartoons of it very long ago, it was so much fun to follow Alice in pursuit of a rabbit late for a very important date down a very deep hole.  The Mad Hatter's tea party was just too much fun.  As a life long cat person, I loved the Cheshire Cat.  Then there is Twittle De and his twin brother.  Beware the Red Queen does not give an order for your decapitation.

There are lots of plays on words.  Some authorities see the books as dealing with children dealing with the seeming absurdities of the adult world.

The reading time for the combined books is under three hours.

This video below explains the origins of the Alice books and details his life as an Oxford Don.  Carroll took thousands of photographs of preadolescent girls.  Some of the photos involve nudity.  There is no evidence he was actively a pedophile but there are still unanswered questions. 

The Secret World of Lewis Carroll, from the BBC

In this recorded lecture from Oxford I learned how his work as a mathematician and a logician influenced his work.  His letters to the    "real Alice" are also quoted.

A slide show of his photographs

A video dealing with Carroll's relationship with the young girl who inspired his books

Mel u

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