Thursday, July 2, 2015

4th July Alice Anniversary

The fourth of July marks the anniversary of the day in 1862 when Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)  and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed in a boat up the Isis River with the three young daughters of Henry Liddell, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. The middle daughter was ten year old Alice. During the journey Dodgson told the girls a story that featured a girl named Alice who goes looking for adventure. The next day he started writing the story down.  Several versions and trips later on 26th November, 1864 Dodgson gave a handwritten manuscript to Alice  as a Christmas present. Then in 1865 it was published as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with illustrations by John Tenniel, so this year marks its 150 anniversary.

The story has become more popular with age as its fantasy world of peculiar anthropomorphic creatures, its structure and narrative course have undertaken much analysis and literary criticism and have thus its characters and imagery have influenced popular culture and literature. There are hundreds of versions available to children and adults. They range from preschool versions such as the board book by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver, through many of the abridged versions by publishers such as Usborne and Ladybird, picture book versions such as the one by Eric Puybaret,  beautifully illustrated versions by renowned illustrators such as Antony Browne, Emma Chichester Clark, Lizbeth Zwerger, Helen Oxenbury and Robert Ingpen right through to annotated versions such as Elucidating Alice for adults and spoofs such as Fifty Shades of Alice. It has inspired musicals, films, stage productions, sculptures, artworks and gardens.

I have collected all the versions in the library and put together a celebratory display.

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