This gorgeous 150th anniversary edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is also a revelatory work of scholarship.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–published 150 years ago in 1865–is a book many of us love and feel we know well. But it turns out we have only scratched the surface. Scholar David Day has spent many years down the rabbit hole of this children’s classic and has emerged with a revelatory new view of its contents. What we have here, he brilliantly and persuasively argues, is a complete classical education in coded form–Carroll’s gift to his “wonder child” Alice Liddell.
In two continuous commentaries, woven around the complete text of the novel for ease of cross-reference on every page, David Day reveals the many layers of teaching, concealed by manipulation of language, that are carried so lightly in the beguiling form of a fairy tale. These layers relate directly to Carroll’s interest in philosophy, history, mathematics, classics, poetry, spiritualism and even to his love of music–both sacred and profane. His novel is a memory palace, given to Alice as the great gift of an education. It was delivered in coded form because in that age, it was a gift no girl would be permitted to receive in any other way.
Day also shows how a large number of the characters in the book are based on real Victorians. Wonderland, he shows, is a veritable “Who’s Who” of Oxford at the height of its power and influence in the Victorian Age.
There is so much to be found behind the imaginary characters and creatures that inhabit the pages of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. David Day’s warm, witty and brilliantly insightful guide–beautifully designed and stunningly illustrated throughout in full colour–will make you marvel at the book as never before.