Alice in Trinity College

Berkekey Library

Berkeley Library

Christmas is always a time when fairy tales are in the air and none more so than Alice in Wonderland which was published 150 years ago, on 26th November 1865. And to celebrate this landmark in publishing Trinity College has a special display of related books and illustrations from its collection. It will be on show until early January and is in the foyer of the Berkeley Library.

The book’s full title is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and was written by Lewis Carroll. His proper name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) who was a mathematician (lecturing in Christ Church, Oxford), logician and a pioneer of the new art form of photography. Among his most famous portraits were those of Michael Faraday, Lord Salisbury and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

He Latinised his names Charles Lutwidge to Carolus Ludovicus, reversed them and then changed them to ‘vulgar’ English getting Lewis Carroll. He was also an Anglican deacon and the great-grandson of Charles Dodgson who was the Bishop of Elphin in Roscommon in the 1770s.

The idea for his most famous book came during a boat trip along the Isis river from Folly Bridge, Oxford to Godstow on 4th July 1862. He made up the story as he went along to entertain the three young Liddell sisters: Lorina, Alice and Edith whose father was the Dean of Christ Church. The girls liked the story and Alice asked Carroll to write it down for her. In 1864 he gave Alice a handwritten copy of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in which he added his own illustrations. Others read it and over the next year he tweaked the story, and with the help of top illustrator John Tenniel, it was published by Macmillan with the slight name change. And since then it has never been out of print; so new generations are still finding out about the colourful cast of characters: the Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and the manic Queen of Hearts who loves to shout ‘Off with their heads’. Great stuff.

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

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January 2016

For anyone interested in finding out more about Alice the British Museum, London, is running is running a course in March 2016.

Details : http://bit.ly/1QGmhhY

 

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