Alice of Wonderland

By | Mar 8, 2010

There is a lot of buzz about the new Alice in Wonderland movie. The film directed by Tim Burton, written by Linda Woolverton, and stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen and others is not a retelling of the original books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but an extension.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was originally published in 1865. Lewis Carroll was the name listed as the author, but that was a pen name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Along with his writings Dodgson was mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon. Nearly all of his writings are considered to be in the genre of literary nonsense.

During the late 1850’s and early 1860’s while working at Christ Church, one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, he became friends with the Liddel family. Henry George Liddell was the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church. Dodgson would spend many hours with the children of Liddel, including their daughter, Alice.

One day while taking a boat ride in 1862, he told a story of a girl named Alice who followed a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and into an amazing adventure. Alice asked for him to write it down. He presented to her a illustrated manuscript entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in November 1864.

Alice Pleasance Liddell was born on May 4, 1852 and died on November 16, 1934. She was the fourth child of Henry Liddell and his wife Lorina Hanna Liddell. At the age of 28 she married Reginald Hargreaves on September 15, 1880.

There has been much debate on whether Alice was based on her. Dodgson, Lewis Carroll, said that iAlice wasn’t based on any real person. The two girls were not alike, however they did share some common elements. The name Alice, of course, as well as birth date. He dedicated the book to “to Alice Pleasance Liddell”. And the poem in Through the Looking Glass commonly known as “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky” which spells her name when taking the first letter of each line.


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