It’s hard to believe it has been 150 years since Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was published. So many children have grown up on the fantastical story about Alice, the girl who fell down a rabbit hole and reached a whole other world. While Alice in Wonderland has been much loved by children the world, there is still things to be learned about this classic novel.
- Did you know Lewis Carroll was actually a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson? Charles was an Anglican deacon and don of Oxford’s Christ Church College when he wrote Alice in Wonderland according to ABC News Australia.
- Even though Carrol was an Anglican deacon, he was also spiritually adventurous. Supernaturalism, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy (known then as ‘esoteric Buddhism’) and Christian Cabala were all religious beliefs that Carroll was interested in.
- While Henry Liddell, who was the dean of Christ Church, likened Dodgson to thorn in his side, it was also his child that inspired Alice in Wonderland. When Alice Liddell was 10-years-old she begged Dodgson to write down a story he had told her while they were on a trip with a group of people. Dodgson obliged, writing down and illustrating a copy of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground just for Alice Liddell.
- Alice Liddell may have been the real Alice, but since it was only Lewis Carroll and Alice’s immediate family that knew this, it didn’t stop actress Alice Hargreaves from claiming she was, in fact, the real Alice in 1932. It was helped along the way by the fact Isa Bowman had written a book about Carroll stating that “there had been a real Alice, and that she was still alive.” Then, when Columbia University handed Alice Hargreaves an honorary degree, people assumed she was the real Alice. As the New York Times pointed out, “no one seemed to hesitate over — or wonder about — the notion of a person’s getting a degree for being a fictional character, or for nagging a writer into fame.”
- Lewis Carroll never had any children of his own, but was fond of other people’s children. Some even suggesting he was inappropriately interested in young girls. When Alice Liddell’s mother decided Carroll was no longer welcome around her children, biographer Robert Douglas-Fairhurst points out, “unless he was merely the victim of an unchecked rumor rippling around Oxford, Carroll certainly seems to have said or done something to disturb the Liddells.” However Douglas-Fairhurst also points out that Carroll’s interest in young girls, particularly Alice Liddell are based on today’s “established modern categories” and Carroll may have just been “sentimental rather than sexual.”
- Lewis Carroll invented a popular parlor game. It was called Doublets and was first published in Vanity Fair.
How to celebrate
- Check out the gorgeous paper-cut art pieces by artist Adamova Marina. Also known as Talamaska, this artist designed some beautiful Alice in Wonderland inspired art which was displayed in Moscow recently. You can view the whole display of Alice inspired artwork by clicking here.
- Pick out your favorite movie version of Alice in Wonderland and curl up with the classic. While many can’t go past Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton’s darker take on Alice starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter certainly has its own merits as well.
- Speaking of the Mad Hatter, how about creating your own version of the the Mad Hatter’s tea party?
- Relive the classic story all over again by reading the book. If you don’t have your own copy of Alice in Wonderland, you can easily download a free version of the story via Project Gutenberg. Alternatively, you could have a go at many of the Alice in Wonderland inspired novels now available on Amazon.
- If you live in the UK, you can visit Michael Tomlinson, Kim Dewsbury and Annie Ovenden’s Alice in Wonderland inspired exhibition at the Museum Of Modern Art, Wales (MOMA Wales) in Machynlleth. You can find out more by visiting the MOMA website here.
Did you enjoy reading Alice in Wonderland as a child? Let us know by commenting below!
[Image credits: Adamova Marina/Talamaska / Lewis Carroll / Annie Ovenden/MOMA]