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Monday, 1 August 2011

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland grew out of a story told by Charles Dodgson on July 4, 1862. It was told to amuse three little girls, Alice Liddell (May 4, 1852 – November 16, 1934) the daughter of the Dean of Christchurch and her two sisters during a rowing trip. Afterwards he wrote down the story for the ten-year-old Alice.

Dodgson knew the fairytale author George McDonald well - it was the enthusiastic reception of Alice by the young MacDonald daughters that convinced him to submit the work for publication.

Dodgson gave Alice the handwritten manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, with illustrations by Dodgson himself on November 26, 1864, dedicating it as "A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer's Day".

Alice Liddell, aged 7, photographed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in 1860

Before Alice received her copy, Dodgson was already preparing it for publication and expanding the 15,500-word original to 27,500 words, most notably adding the episodes about the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Tea-Party. After considering the titles Alice Among The Fairies and Alice's Golden Hour, he eventually changed it to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book was published on November 26, 1865 under Dodgson's pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

The original manuscript can now be found in Philadelphia Free Library. Only 21 copies survive of the original manuscript. It was withdrawn because of printing errors.

There is no such thing as a Cheshire Cat. The county of Cheshire used to make cheese that came moulded in the shape of a Cheshire cat.

There is no such character as the "Mad Hatter" in Alice In Wonderland, only "The Hatter". He had a mad tea party and the two concepts merged.

The Hatter who throws a mad tea party was probably inspired by Theophilius Carter, an Oxford furniture dealer who was somewhat potty and was well known for the top hat he wore. He was known as the "mad hatter."

The Dodo in Alice in Wonderland is based on Charles Dodgson, who had a stammer and would introduce himself as “Do-do-dogson.”

Dodgson immortalized croquet in Alice in Wonderland when he depicted the Red Queen wacking rolled up hedgehogs using a flamingo for a mallet.

Queen Victoria was so charmed with Alice in Wonderland that she requested something else by the same author be brought for her perusal. She was not amused when she received a copy of Lewis Carroll's Syllabus of Plane Algebraical Geometry.

Alice in Wonderland was one of few children's books not written for a moral purpose in the Victorian age.

Original cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Wikipedia Commons

In 1872 Lewis Carroll published Through the Looking Glass, his follow up to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Alice Band, a wide hair band of colored ribbon is named after the band worn by Alice in Tenniel's illustrations of Through the Looking Glass.

Alice In Wonderland was banned in Hunan, China, in 1931 as portraying animals as using a human language is an insult to the human race.

Alice Hargreaves (Liddell) died in 1934 and is buried at St Michael’s Church, Lyndhurst, Hampshire.

Walt Disney's animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premiered in London on July 26, 1951. Walt Disney first had the idea of a film adaptation of the original Alice novel over 20 years earlier. There were "storyboards and sketches" about it but the project was shelved in 1931. When Walt Disney returned to the concept following World War II, his original idea was to combine live-action and animation. He had dropped the live-action idea by 1946.

The movie has more songs and characters than any other Disney animated film. The Doorknob was the only character in the film that did not appear in Lewis Carroll's books.

Here's a list of songs inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

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