The Alice Behind Wonderland

The Alice Behind Wonderland

Book - 2011
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"In the summer of 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church in Oxford, Charles Dodgson--better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll--dressed the six-year-old Alice Liddell in ragamuffin's clothes, and then snapped the camera's shutter. In The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester uses the famous photograph of Alice as the launching pad for an appreciative energetic and penetrating look at the inspiration behind, and the making of, one of the greatest classics of children's literature. Indeed, Winchester shows that Dodgson's love of photography deeply influenced his view of the world, helping to transform this shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Much like the fictional Alice's world, as the photograph is subject to closer examination, 'Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid' becomes curiouser and curiouser, capturing a moment during a golden afternoon that would endure forever. 'Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid' was, in short, the muse that would inspire the creation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Deftly engaging with Dogson's published writings, private diaries, and photography, Winchester weaves together the poignant, turbulent, and entirely fascinating story behind Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780195396195
Branch Call Number: 823.8 WIN 2011 22
Characteristics: 110 p

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Janice21383
Nov 24, 2017

An interesting, intense little book, but one that many will find disappointing. It's almost as much about early photography as Dodgson's attraction to the Liddell girls, and there are only passing remarks about his books and poetry. I appreciated, though, the summary of Dodgson's early life and academic career, written by someone who seems to know what he is talking about. As it happens, I think Winchester's solution to the mystery is the true one -- essentially, that there is little mystery, and what there is is probably lost to the mists of time. You can find longer books that delve into it in greater detail, but unless more letters and diaries are found, be aware their authors are speculating and trying to make a buck.

c
Charlie68
Jun 22, 2016

A good read; but a familiarity with the Alice books and Lewis' poetry will aid in the enjoyment in this book.

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