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Event: ChessFest

On 18 July there will a day of chess activities in London, drawing on the chess theme of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass”.

There will be free chess lessons, chess tables to play with each other, a speed chess challenge, a blindfold chess exhibition, and more. Notable there will be a human chess game based around “Through the Looking-Glass”, performed by professional actors. Children are encouraged to dress up as characters from “Through the Looking-Glass” – but I say: if you’re an adult, go for it as well! 🙂

Date: 18 July 2021 (The festival is actually from 16 to 18 July, but the first two days of activities are not open to the public.)
Time: 11.00 – 18.00
Location: Trafalgar Square, London, UK

More information: https://www.chess-fest.com/trafalgar-square


Book presentation: “Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ and Cognitive Narratology”

On June 28, Francesca Arnavas will present her new book, “Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ and Cognitive Narratology: Author, Reader and Characters”.

Lewis Carroll's ""Alice"" and Cognitive Narratology: Author, Reader and CharactersHer book proposes a dialogue between the ‘Alice’ books, and a cognitive narratological approach to literary texts. Both ‘Alice’ books are analysed through new theoretical lenses, using concepts taken from the cognitive sciences to explore the minds of the author, the readers and the characters.

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Auction: 3 presentation copies of Carroll’s books

On 24 June, three presentation copies of Carroll’s books will be auctioned at Bonham’s.

The first presentation copy is the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, second edition, 1866 [1865] (which means the first edition that was not recalled). It is inscribed by Carroll to Margaret Evelyn Hardy.
Estimated price: £ 20,000 – 30,000 / € 23,000 – 35,000
More info: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26773/lot/176/?category=list

The second presentation copy is a first German edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, translated by Antonie Zimmermann, 1869. It is also inscribed by Carroll to Margaret Evelyn Hardy.
Estimated price: £ 3,000 – 4,000 / € 3,500 – 4,600
More info: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26773/lot/177/?category=list

The third presentation copy is Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there, first edition, 1872 [1871]. Again, inscribed by Carroll to Margaret Evelyn Hardy.
Estimated price: £ 3,000 – 4,000 / € 3,500 – 4,600
More info: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/26773/lot/178/?category=list

Cover and title page of presentation copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, first edition 1866

Xstatic Wonderland Festival

This Wonderland festival in Sydney, Australia, celebrates our reconnection after Covid-19! Dress up, get creative, and dance this October.

This one-day festival includes 2 themed stages with live music and DJ’s, and performers along with stand up comedy, talks, a scavenger hunt and a theatrical Rabbit Hole experience. More importantly, there is a giant Mad Hatter’s tea party and they are aiming for a Guinness World Record to co-create ‘world’s largest Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’! So dress up as an Alice in Wonderland character, bring your tea party essentials to set your own part of the table, and join in! There will be a prize for the most outrageous tea party setting.

The festival is alcohol- and drugs-free, inclusive, and for all-ages.

Date: 9 October 2021
Place: Belmore Park, Sydney, Australia
More information and tickets: https://www.xstaticsunsets.com/xstaticwonderland

Xstatic Sunsets Wonderland Festival

Through the Looking-Glass Exhibition – Japan

An exhibition in Nagano, Japan, revolves around Carroll’s sequel: Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there.

The exhibition focuses on the differences between “Through the Looking-Glass” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, as well as the Mother Goose rhymes and nonsense poetry in the story. It highlights the charm of ‘nonsense’ in the history of English picture books, and features original illustrations from John Tenniel, as well as illustrations from modern and contemporary artists.

Date: 1 March to 21 June 2021 (first part) / 23 June to 11 October 2021 (second part)
Location: the Picture Library in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan.

New book: Alice’s Adventures under Water!

May I proudly present to you: my very own book, “Alice’s Adventures under Water”! It’s a sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there”, in which I’ve tried to mimic Carroll’s style as best as possible.

Front cover of Alice's Adventures under Water

I have been considering writing my own version for years and I finally felt it was time to give it a try.

Sequels to the ‘Alice’ books have been published before, but I must admit that I was often a bit disappointed in them, as I always felt something was missing. Either the writing style did not feel very Carrollian, or the story contained little to no poetry, or the puns and jokes were not up to standard, or there were no hidden references, or other characteristic Carrollian elements were missing. It may be arrogant, but I thought that, even though English is not my native language, with all my background knowledge I surely could do better?

So here it is: another ‘Alice’ story in which she encounters silly characters in silly situations, this time in and under-water world. I’ve put in jokes, puns, and poetry, as well as more or less obscure references to well known people, politics, poems and songs, and mathematics. I also tried to incorporate into my story other specific elements that one can find in Carroll’s ‘Alice’ stories, like his particular use of punctuation, exactly 12 chapters, the covert return of the Hatter and the March Hare, and more. And as all good books must have pictures, it contains exactly 42 illustrations in the style of John Tenniel, skilfully drawn by the talented Robert Louis Black!

The book is now available for purchase. You can order it directly from me through this website, but you can also find it at Amazon and other online bookstores, or order a copy from your local bookseller.

Through the Looking-Glass sesquicentenary conference: call for papers

This November, a conference will take place to celebrate 150 years of “Through the Looking-Glass”. There is now a call for papers.

Block the 4th and 5th of November 2021 in your agenda for the Through the Looking-Glass Sesquicentenary Conference. It will be hosted by the University of York, but all talks and associated events will be held online.

The conference aims to explore the significance of the mirror in literature, science, theology, art and other fields, and any facets of this concept that were relevant to ideas that shaped Carroll’s work, or, which have since been integral to its interpretation at different points in time.

They are currently inviting presentations exploring the theme of mirrors, offering fresh approaches to any aspects of the work itself, addressing, in particular, the difference between Looking-Glass and Wonderland, or aspects of Lewis Carroll’s biography, his historical, literary, and epistemological environment, intertextualities with other authors, Carroll’s correspondents or wider circles, which promise to shed new light on his Looking-Glass world. Contributions can be a mixture of traditional academic papers and alternative formats.

More information about the call for papers, and later on event information, can be found on their website: https://throughthelookingglasssesquicentenary.wordpress.com/