13th of November marks the day that one of the most famous stories started to be brought to life; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. This year is a particularly special anniversary – it has been 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published.
He was inspired by the story after rowing a boat up a river with the three young daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell, the eldest; Edith Mary Liddell, the youngest; and Alice Pleasance Liddell, the middle child. He told them a story of a bored little girl called Alice who went looking for an adventure, and Alice Liddell loved it so much, she begged him to write it down for her.
Although he elaborated on the story between that fateful day and the 13th of November, 1862, it wasn’t until then he began working on the manuscript in earnest. So much work and research went into the story, with the natural history of the animals studied, children asked to read the story, and eventually, Dodgson approached John Tenniel to illustrate the story.
On 26 November 1864, he gave Alice the handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, with illustrations by Dodgson himself, dedicating it as “A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer’s Day”. By that time, Dodgson was already preparing it for publication and expanding the 15,500-word original to 27,500 word and adding in the notable scenes about the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Tea-Party.
Not only is it one of the most famous children’s stories, it is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. It has also influenced both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.
Source: Wikipedia and
Literature Resource Center (Gale) which can be accessed through our eResources for all NSW residents with a library card.
The State Library of New South Wales holds various copies of this work of art, including some of the early editions, in our catalogue.