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Evertype: Alice in Blunderland: An Iridescent Dream

Postby Evertype » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:44 am

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of John Kendrick Bangs’ Alice in Blunderland: An Iridescent Dream, an economic parody of Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.


From the introduction:

John Kendrick Bangs (1862–1922) was born in Yonkers, New York, and is known for his work as an author, editor, and satirist. In 1884 he became an Associate Editor of Life, later working at Harper’s Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Harper’s Young People, in the position of “Editor of the Depart­ments of Humor” for all three from 1889 to 1900. Later he worked as editor of Munsey’s Magazine, of Harper’s Literature, and of the New Metropolitan magazine, and in 1904 he was appointed editor of Puck, perhaps the foremost American humour magazine of its day.

Bangs made two contributions to the Carrollian world. In 1902 with Charles Macauley he wrote what Caroline Sigler calls “an Alice-like fantasy”, Emblemland, a in which a young American boy named Rollo visits a strange country peopled with symbols and icons. Macauley’s line drawings are charming and some of the verse in the book is reminiscent of Carroll’s.

In Alice in Blunderland: An Iridescent Dream, Bangs makes light of a range of economic issues familiar to his 1907 readers—all of which are topical and all-too familiar to today’s reader as well. High taxes, corporate greed, bribery, institutional corruption, and govern­mental incompetence are among the themes of this book.

As an Alice imitation per se, Bangs’ Alice in Blunderland is not, perhaps, one of the most successful in recreat­ing the atmo­sphere of Wonder­land. In some regards it relies more on absurdity than it does on nonsense, and some of the humour is indeed rather American. A sequel like A New Alice in the Old Wonder­land by Anna Matlack Richards has considerably more weight as a novel, but to some degree this reflects Richards’ interest in responding to, and subverting, Carroll’s original story. Bangs’ intention—and in this he succeeds—is to make his reader smile wryly rather than laugh out loud, for his satire is very much on target.

Michael Everson

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