Why this site?
Alice in Wonderland is a great nonsense story, but as it was written for British readers of another century, it is necessary to know the background of the story if you want to fully enjoy it.
Many jokes that are interwoven in the story were meaningful to people in the Victorian era, but now we need to have them explained. The story also contains some private jokes that could be understood only by the intimate friends of the author!
With this site I am trying to point out that Alice in Wonderland is more than just a children’s book and that the nonsense is not as random as it seems at the first glance.
The Red Queen shook her head, “You may call it ‘nonsense’ if you like,” she said, “but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!”
What it is not about
This site does not tell you ‘the truth’ about the meaning behind the books. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” can be read on many levels:
- a children’s story with jokes and wordplay;
- a story with references to Victorian society, the life of the author and his favorite child friend;
- a story that contains hidden meanings, like drug promotion, sexual speculations, etc.
This site focuses on the second level and lightly touches the third.
Bear in mind that there is no solid evidence that any hidden meanings exist at all – it is mere speculation. As the author died more than a century ago, we cannot be sure what exactly he had in mind when he wrote the books.
The following text, from PinkMonkey.com, verbalises this in a very good way:
“The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis.
There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author’s life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.
In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as [the one’s you’ll find here]. So is the interpretation of your teacher or professor. […]
Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend.”
`You!’ said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are YOU?’
My name is Lenny de Rooy and I live in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. As you can see, I’m very fond of the Alice books. My fascination for the story started when I was a little girl, after seeing Disney’s cartoon movie, and through the years it has grown.
When I went to university in 1997 and got access to the internet, I immediately started searching for websites about Alice in Wonderland, but I only found a handful of pages, with fragmented info. That’s why I decided to make a site of my own, with the intention of creating a comprehensive resource for everything you may want to know about the background and origins of the two ‘Alice’ stories from Lewis Carroll.
I put my first website online in December 1997. It was still very basic back then. Because people appeared to be interested in the topic, I kept expanding it. In the years that followed, the site underwent several major changes, which resulted in what you are seeing now!
Besides managing this website, I have among others participated in the ‘Alice in a World of Wonderlands‘ project, which attempted to list all English language editions and all translations of the ‘Alice’ books in the world. I contributed to the section about Dutch translations in the first three volumes of the resulting book, which were published in 2015 for the 150 year anniversary of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. I also initiated the development of the fourth volume, and contributed by creating a bibliography of English language editions published in non-English speaking countries. This volume will hopefully come out in 2022.
I also wrote and published my own sequel to the ‘Alice’ stories: Alice’s Adventures under Water! I had been thinking about writing a new tale about Alice since some time, and I wanted it to be very faithful to Lewis Carroll’s originals. My sequel replicates Carroll’s writing style and contains many new puns, poems, parodies and hidden references. It came out in 2021.
I am available as a speaker on topics related to the Alice in Wonderland books. In the past I have given talks for the Dutch Lewis Carroll society and was a guest speaker at a Russian book club. If you want to book me, send me a message!
In addition to Alice in Wonderland, I also have a lot of other interests. At the moment I’m working as an Online Marketing specialist for a university. That means I help make our websites user-friendly and convincing, and make them rank high in search engine results. I also play the bagpipes and sing in two bands (balfolk band Androneda and medieval band De Soete Inval), and I am studying to be a seamstress. For more information about all my projects, visit my other website.
I love to receive comments on this site, so that I can improve it. You’re also welcome to correct my grammar or spelling, as I’m not a native English speaker.
“– But you make no remark?”
“I — I didn’t know I had to make one — just then,” Alice faltered out.
“You should have said, ‘It’s extremely kind of you to tell me all this’ — however, we’ll suppose it said.”