The Alice Behind Wonderland

The Alice Behind Wonderland

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Utilizes the photograph of Alice Liddell that would serve as Lewis Carroll's muse for crafting the the world of "Alice in Wonderland."

Oxford University Press
On a summer's day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London.

Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image--as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation--as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature. Dodgson's love of photography framed his view of the world and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" than meets the eye. Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

Acclaim for Simon Winchester

"An exceptionally engaging guide at home everywhere, ready for anything, full of gusto and seemingly omnivorous curiosity."
--Pico Iyer, The New York Times Book Review

"A master at telling a complex story compellingly and lucidly."
--USA Today

"Extraordinarily graceful."

"Winchester is an exquisite writer and a deft anecdoteur."
--Christopher Buckley

"A lyrical writer and an indefatigable researcher."

Publisher: New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, c2011
ISBN: 9780195396195
Branch Call Number: 823.8 WIN
Characteristics: 110 p. ;,22 cm.


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Apr 18, 2018

Good, but better off with the print version and the accompanying photographs

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.

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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