The Fascination of Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the work of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was published in 1865. A few years before, Charles, who was soon to become one of the world’s most famous authors, was rowing in a boat with Reverend Duckworth and the three daughters of Henry Liddell, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. Charles was a very talented mathematician with a promising career at Oxford, but there, on the boat, he was the storyteller. The audience was very discerning: 8 to 13 years old, great appetite for fiction and a genuine reaction when utterly bored. But this was not at all the case. The three little girls were so intrigued, so amazed that Alice Liddell urged Charles to write the story down. They were officially caught up in Alice’s adventures and 150 years later, we are still in Wonderland.

 

“Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit:Sometimes, just one second”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland illustration

Print By Eleanor Stuart

 

The story’s success is incontestable. It has never been out of print, was translated into more than 150 languages, adapted in numerous ways, from live performances to cinema and television. Only a few years ago, Tim Burton’s wonderful Alice in Wonderland won two Oscars. Thousands of design products, cups, bags, wall prints or clothing feature the famous characters and just recently the story was told through the world’s longest tattoo chain. It even inspired the name of a medical condition, leading people to distort size and see objects smaller or larger than they actually are. Alice is clearly special.

 

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland illustration

Print by Eleanor Stuart

 

“Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland illustration

Print by Eleanor Stuart

 

The story manages to speak to children and grown-ups alike, using different levels of understanding. Because it’s not only the incredible fictional scenery that sets it apart, the unpredictable adventure and the fun we savour at any age, but also the fact that is full of meaning, nonsense and strangeness at the same time. We love Alice in Wonderland because it’s fun and unsettling, just like life.

Alice in Wonderland illustration

Print by Eleanor Stuart

 

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.” 
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland illustration

Print by Eleanor Stuart

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