Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Original Alice in Wonderland

Portrait of Alice Liddell by CL Dodgson, c. 1863

Alice and Red Queen Play Croquet by CL Dodgson c. 1863

These are original Lewis Carroll manuscript pages from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which have become available today for viewing (allegedly) through the British Library 'Turning the Pages' website with an accompanying voiceover. I say allegedly because I was getting a 404 error trying to use the shockwave entry point, but that may be because I am quite a few hours ahead of Britain. The above images were snaffled via an image search (interestingly without the 'British Library' logo on display).

As an Oxford mathematician, Dodgson befriended the new Dean Henry Liddell and his wife and particularly the three children, Alice, Ina and Edith. He took them on picnics and told them stories and Alice implored him to write down Alice. Alice Liddell sold the resulting manuscript at an auction in 1927.

Carroll earned about £50,000 from self-publishing both Alice and Through the Looking Glass. Even James Joyce was influenced by Carroll's works and despite any latterday inconclusive witch hunts, Carroll deserves applause for his lasting contribution to children's literature.

Addit: I read about the "Alice's Adventures Underground" exhibit here.

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