Generations of readers have loved and embraced Lewis Carroll’s tale of the little girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world of anthropomorphic creatures and absurd croquet matches, but how many can recount the history behind this famous story? It all began one golden July afternoon in Oxford in 1862, when the three Liddell siblings—Lorina, Edith, and young Alice—set out on a boating trip with two close friends of the family, Robinson Duckworth and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. To keep the children amused, Dodgson spun a tale about an inquisitive young girl and her escapades in a magical underground world, eventually writing it down at his heroine Alice Liddell’s request. The little book he produced, entitled Alice’s Adventures under Ground, was beautifully bound in morocco leather, illustrated with 37 charming pictures, and given to Alice as an early Christmas present in November of 1864. Friends and fellow novelists who saw the volume urged Dodgson to publish the book formally, and literary history was made in 1865 when the first of countless best-selling editions rolled off the press.
In this superb facsimile edition of Dodgson’s original manuscript, modern readers can at last enjoy the expressive script and vibrant illustrations of the original, one of the British Library’s most prized possessions. Perfect for the literary collector, the lover of Alice, or the child at heart, this remarkable volume includes fascinating biographical commentary on Dodgson as well as a recounting of all the stages through which the manuscript passed. This journey produced a new tale itself, as the manuscript was revised, expanded, and illustrated by Punch cartoonist John Tenniel en route to final publication as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, under Dodgson’s celebrated pen name of Lewis Carroll.