The Alice Behind Wonderland

The Alice Behind Wonderland

Hardback

By (author) Simon Winchester

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 128 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 211mm x 18mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 24 March 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195396197
  • ISBN 13: 9780195396195
  • Illustrations note: '
  • Sales rank: 39,515

Product description

In the summer of 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church in Oxford, Charles Dodgson-better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll-dressed the six-year-old Alice Liddell in ragamuffin's clothes, draped the folds of cloth low enough to expose her bare chest, asked her to look deep into his eyes-and then snapped the camera's shutter. In The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester uses the famous photograph of Alice-notorious for the child's alluring pose-as the launching pad for an energetic and penetrating look at the inspiration behind, and the making of, one of the greatest classics of children's literature: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Indeed, Winchester shows that it was Dodgson's photographic love affair with Alice that transformed this shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved writers. Equally important, this photograph offers a window into Dodgson's troubled Victorian's mind and soul; it is a picture imbued with more meaning than its appearance would suggest. Much like the fictional Alice's world, as the photograph is subject to closer examination, it becomes nothing short of curiouser and curiouser. Alice Liddell as The Beggar Maid was, in short, the muse that would inspire the creation of Alice in Wonderland. Deftly engaging with Dogson's published writings, private diaries, and photography, Winchester weaves together the poignant, turbulent, and entirely fascinating story behind Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

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Author information

Simon Winchester is the author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, and A Crack in the Edge of the World. Each of these have been New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable booklists. In recognition of his accomplished body of work, Winchester was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006. He lives in Massachusetts and in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Review quote

engaging account The Lady sensitive and erudite read Sunday Express Mr Winchester elegantly written study provides a balanced, sympathetic portrait of a complex and gifted man. Wall Street Journal In a sympathetic, but not indulgent, account, Winchester is successful in conveying, but not defending, the complexities of a curious and enigmatic man. Catherine Pope - Victorian Geek