The Story of Alice

The Story of Alice : Lewis Carroll and The Secret History of Wonderland

3.71 (356 ratings by Goodreads)

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This title was shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Biography Award. It is the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. Wonderland is part of our cultural heritage - a shortcut for all that is beautiful and confusing; a metaphor used by artists, writers and politicians for 150 years. But beneath the fairy tale lies the complex history of the author and his subject: of Charles Dodgson, the quiet academic, and his second self, Lewis Carroll - storyteller, innovator and avid collector of 'child-friends'. And of his 'dream-child', Alice Liddell, and the fictional alter ego that would never let her grow up. This is their secret story: a history of love and loss, of innocence and ambiguity, and of one man's need to make Wonderland his refuge in a rapidly changing world. Drawing on previously unpublished material, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst traces the creation and influence of the Alice books against a shifting cultural landscape - the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood and sexuality and the tensions inherent in the transition between the Victorian and modern worlds.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 161 x 240 x 45mm | 925g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846558611
  • 9781846558610
  • 197,109

Review quote

"It is the ultimate book about Alice - comprehensive and scholarly, but so delightfully and elegantly written that it's a true work of literature" -- Jacqueline Wilson "The Story of Alice is the best book on the myriad enigmas of Carroll's heart-breaking wonderland I have ever read" -- Robert McCrum Observer "Superb...toweringly the best of the dozens of books on Carroll which I have read" -- AN Wilson Financial Times "Douglas-Fairhurst is a startling and exciting writer" -- A.S. Byatt Spectator "This is biography at its best" -- Lyndall Gordon New Statesman "Magnificent" -- 5 Stars, Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express "Fascinating " -- Book of the Week, Philip Collins Times "This accomplished book provides ample inspiration for readers to return to Wonderland" -- Francesca Wade Prospect "Different times, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst makes a sure-footed guide in unraveling them...intriguing" -- Anthony Quinn Mail on Sunday "A fascinating telling of a great mystery story" The Times "It did for me what any good critical work should do: it sent me back to Alice for the first time in over 40 years" -- Vanessa Berridge, 4 stars Daily Express "[A] scholarly, playful and richly entertaining study" -- Jane Shilling Evening Standard "The Story of Alice takes us, full throttle, back to the unalloyed passion of reading. This is what it is like to open a book, and to wonder" -- Frances Wilson, 5 stars Daily Telegraph "A sparkling, highly readable and erudite study" -- Nicola Shulman Oldie "The Story of Alice is much more than its coy title. It is the story of several Alices... Above all it is the story of Lewis Carroll" -- Brian Sewell Independent On Sunday "Douglas-Fairhurst provides the best readings of the Alice books I have come across... It returns the reader to the books, and in doing so performs an inestimable service to the author, his inspiration and legions of readers" -- Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday " feel a wise critic and a master biographer telling the story of an unfolding literary imagination" -- AN Wilson Financial Times "[A] masterful biography" -- Anne Cunningham Irish Independent "[Douglas-Fairhurst's] astute and subtle commentary illumines the world of Lewis Carroll and Alice, with all its attributes and attitudes. Scholarly, engrossing and comprehensive, The Story of Alice, like Alice itself, raises the spirits while extolling ambiguity and unpredictability" -- Patricia Craig Irish Times "A delicate and no doubt definitive summing up of Alice studies to date" -- Alexander Lucie-Smith Tablet
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About Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Magdalen College. His most recent book, Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist, won the Duff Cooper Prize.
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Review Text

"[A] masterful biography"
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Rating details

356 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 22% (79)
4 36% (128)
3 35% (124)
2 5% (17)
1 2% (8)
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