Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written by Charles L. Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Originally published in 1865, the book has never been out of print.
This story, as many know, follows a young girl named Alice down a rabbit hole, and her adventures in Wonderland, the name given to the world that is just down the rabbit hole and through the looking-glass. In Wonderland, Alice meets all kinds of crazy, wonderful creatures; from a hookah-smoking caterpillar to the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts.
This is one of the books that I love to come back to read over and over. There’s always something new to discover, something you may have missed before. Then there are the riddles; several of which have made me stop and think for a few moments, or even hours! Perhaps the most famous riddle in the book is: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” (Mad Hatter, chapter 7 - A Mad Tea Party) It’s also perhaps the most perplexing riddle. Dodgson didn’t actually have a answer at the time he wrote it.
The story is fairly fast paced; if it were a piece of music I’d say it’s on the higher side of Andante, which is about the pace one would walk (or perhaps more of a brisk walk). Which I suppose makes sense, as one follows Alice who is walking through Wonderland. But there really isn’t room to get bored. There may be a few lulls in the text, although I’ve noticed none, but regardless the story is engaging and laugh inducing.
It’s a fun story for all ages, with something for everyone. The book is most assuredly fiction, and while categorized as a ‘children’s book’ it’s a classic that spans the generations.
A Little bit of History:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written for Alice Pleasance Liddell, daughter of Henry and Lorina Hanna Liddell. The very first version of the story was one that Dodgson began weaving during a boating trip with Alice, Lorina (Alice’s older sister), Edith (younger sister), Reverend Robinson Duckworth and Dodgson. Dodgson, who had spun similar tales for them before, was asked by Alice to write it down for her.
In November of 1864 Dodgson presented Alice with the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under-Ground.
In 1865 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published under the name Lewis Carroll, with illustrations by John Tenniel. Followed by Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1871.
Odds and Ends (or perhaps the Hatter’s bobbins and threads):
The Mad Hatter’s strange riddle, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’ was given an answer by Dodgson, although it was more of an after thought. This is his answer:
“Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle as originally invented, had no answer at all.”
Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland site - This website is rather interesting, well I’ve actually only read one page of it, but it seems quite interesting nonetheless. I would check out the Trivia section – I used it when writing out the Hatter’s riddle and the answer, as I couldn’t find my book, maybe it fell down a rabbit hole. The site has a lot of little bits you wouldn’t notice that’s in the books. It answers questions and talks about some of the film versions too, I believe.
The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been adapted into movies, musicals, ballets, inspired books, and much more.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011) – ballet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, Royal Opera House