What is this item?
This book is a version of the popular children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carol. It contains coloured printed plates of different scenes from the story, such as Alice going down the rabbit hole and the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
What is the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
Alice follows a white rabbit, falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in the fantasy world of Wonderland. She drinks something from a bottle which changes her size, which allows her to enter through a small door. She meets some talking animals and takes part in a strange race (Caucus-race) where everyone is the winner. Next, she sees the White Rabbit who mistakes her for his servant and orders her to go into his house a retrieve a pair of gloves belonging to the Duchess. Once Alice is inside she starts to grow back to her original size. Alice eats some cake which makes her small again. She then encounters a rude Caterpillar who talks in riddles whilst trying to teach Alice to control her size. She also meets a smiling Cheshire Cat who vanishes whenever he wants to. As Alice continues to explore this strange world, she meets a baby that changes into a pig and takes part in a Mad Hatter’s tea party with the Mad Hatter, March Hare and sleeping Dormouse. Finally, she meets the Queen and King of Hearts and watches a trial of the Knave of Hearts who is accused of stealing some tarts. Alice is called as one of the witnesses, but starts to grow in size. She is ordered out of the courtroom but refuses and begins to fight the Queen’s cards, but suddenly wakes up in the real world.
Who was Lewis Carol?
Lewis Carol is best known as a children’s author but was also a mathematician and photographer. Lewis Carol is actually a pseudonym (a made up name) for his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He is most famous for writing literary nonsense, which is a story that combines things that make sense with things that don’t. His most famous works are ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ its sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ and the poem ‘The Hunting of the Snark’.
Why was this story created?
The story was inspired by real events and a real child. The story occurred in 1862 during a river outing with a man called Henry Liddell, who was the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (the college that Charles was a lecturer in Mathematics) and his family. Along the journey Carroll spoke of a bored little girl called Alice who goes looking for adventure. Towards the end of the day, Alice Liddell (one of three daughters on the trip) loved the story so much that she asked for it to be written down. Charles agreed and he eventually completed the story two and a half years later.
When was this book published?
The version that is in Special Collections was published in 1922, but the original was published in 1865.
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More about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…
Click here to find out more about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and see some illustrations from the 1922 edition held in Special Collections.
Interested in classic children’s books? If so, you may also like to find out about Rudyard Kipling, most famous for ‘The Jungle Book.’ Click here
Are you interested in having a look at another magical story held in Newcastle University’s Special Collections? If you are, you may also like to have a look at The Ship that Sailed to Mars; a story about an adventure to Mars with help from elves and fairies.