Review / Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

Pages: 357 / Publishing: Penguin / Buy Here

Everybody knows the story of Alice and her fall through the rabbit hole to Wonderland. A magical land full of fantastic characters like the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts. In this Clothbound Classic, Penguin combined the two Alice story by Lewis Carroll and accompanied them not only with the amazing art of John Tenniel but also with a detailed introduction about Carroll’s life and the stories origin.

Like many other famous children’s stories, the adventures of Alice were created on a hot summer day when Carroll narrated them to a group of children. Later, he was nagged by one of his little listeners to write those stories down. He did and gave them to Alice Liddell, his 12 year old friend and model for her namesake as a christmas present. Only then did the author think about the possibility of publishing them on a grander scale and talked the artist John Tenniel into making the drawing accompanying the story. Today, our image of Alice and her friends are intrinsically tied to his images.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass do not only amuse children, but are interesting reading material for adults as well. Alice, a young perfectly victorian girl is thrown into this mad world where her conventions and beliefs are turned upside down. Carroll plays with the imagery his words can create and the power, language possesses. Alice looses herself in Wonderland, growing bigger and smaller each time she eats or drinks something.

„Curiouser and curiouser!“ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quiet forgot how to speak good English).

The second story Through the Looking-Glass is somewhat more confused and nonsensical than her first adventures. Upon climbing through a mirror in her house, Alice is in a world made up of a giant chess board. To become a queen, her dearest wish, she has to cross the squares and meets more strange creatures.

Penguin’s introduction to the story encompasses the origin of the story and the rumors surrounding its authors. Throughout his life, Lewis Carroll has exhibited an alarming fascination for children around the age of ten. Several parts of his diaries and letters disappeared, written at times in which this obsession is said to have become a source of trouble for his personal life. At the time of Alice in Wonderland’s publication, he was no longer friends with the Liddell family after having proposed to their very young daughter and him being around the age of 30.

Although the rumors surrounding the authors life and his possible pedophilic tendencies, Alice in Wonderland continues to be one of the most interesting children’s books of all time. The extraordinary characters Lewis created are unforgettable. In my opinion, his second novel Through the Looking-Glass could not come up to his first as it is even more nonsensical and obscure, but is infinitely better than the scrambled version of the two stories than were released into cinemas by Tim Burton some years ago.


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