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Teen Reader

 Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

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About the Author

 Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, popularly known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, was a renowned English writer, mathematician, and photographer. Brought up in a family of clergymen, he exhibited talent in singing, storytelling and writing poetry from early childhood. He was excellent in academics and graduated with a first class honors in mathematics from Christ Church College, Oxford. He then won the Mathematical Lectureship at Christ Church, a position he held for over 25 years. Carroll shared a very special bond with little children. One of the daughters of the college dean, Alice Liddell convinced him to write the stories he would narrate to them during their outings. Carroll obliged and his manuscript was soon published as ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ (1865). The book became a global bestseller in children fiction and earned him worldwide fame. He also took up photography and earned a reputation in the new art form. His subjects were often little children whom he photographed in different costumes and situations. Having juggled various occupations throughout his life, he retired from his teaching profession and photography around 1881. His other famous works are ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ and What Alice Found There’ (1871; a sequel to the first Alice book) and mathematical writings like ‘An Elementary Treatise on Determinants’ (1867) and ‘Curiosa Mathematica’ (1888). He is best remembered for his talent in word play, logic, and child-like fantasy. (From Thefamouspeople.com)

Alice in Wonderland (1865)

Alice in Wonderland is an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll. It tells of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.

One of the best-known and most popular works of English-language fiction, its narrative, structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre. The work has never been out of print and has been translated into at least 97 languages. Its ongoing legacy encompasses many adaptations for stage, screen, radio, art, ballet, theme parks, board games and video games.

 

Questions for Alice in Wonderland

Throughout Alice in Wonderland, Alice usually exhibits a passivity to the incomprehensible events around her. However, at critical times, she learns to assume control of her circumstances. When does this occur and what actions does she take?

 

Alice rarely speaks nonsense and rarely enjoys it when it is spoken to her. In fact, her speech and manners are as proper as those of any Jane Austen heroine. How is Alice’s perception of the world changed when confronted with the world and characters of nonsense?

If the Caterpillar from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were to give advice to Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Through the Looking-Glass on how to solve their differences without having “a bit of a fight,” what might the Caterpillar advise?

The Cheshire Cat suggests that everything Alice experiences in Wonderland is a dream or the result of madness. Prefiguring Freud’s theories, Carroll, in a diary entry, defined “insanity as an inability to distinguish which is the waking and which the sleeping life.” Besides the obvious absurdities in imagery what other aspects of these books mimic a dream state?

Traditionally, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are both considered stories intended for children. If you were asked to support the contention that these are actually stories for adults, how would you defend this? (Questions from Penguinrandomhouse.com)

 

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