Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

The famous tale of Alice in Wonderland is told in two books, combined here into a single volume: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Thanks to Disney the story is roughly familiar to all: a young girl careens through non-sensical adventure after non-sensical adventure, meeting one impossible character after another. Children's books at heart, the recurring theme is having to reluctantly put away the fantasies of youth and grow up. "Shall I never get any older than I am now? That'll be a comfort, one way—never to be an old woman—but then—always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like that!" Many events seem random and disconnected, but this shows how kids can jump from topic to topic in a way that makes sense to them but not to adults; Alice's occasional frustration with the characters she meets demonstrates her inevitable progress toward maturity. Many of the modern interpretations of these characters veer quite dark (such as Lost Girls or Alice Through the Looking Glass), but none of that darkness really exists in the original text. Even the Queen of Hearts who constantly screams "Off with her head!" is shown to be toothless, with the King quietly pardoning everyone behind her back. Both books are very short so this is a quick, enjoyable read; this edition includes the wonderful John Tenniel illustrations as well (albeit in black in white) which add so much to the stories. If you haven't ever read these, do yourself a favor and pick them up and see just what is down the rabbit hole.

First Sentence (from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland):
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
First Sentence (from Through the Looking-Glass):
One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it:—it was the black kitten's fault entirely.

No comments:

Search This Blog