“Be what you would seem to be – or,
if you’d like it put more simply –
never imagine yourself not to be otherwise
than what it might appear to others that what you were
or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
When I was a little girl, I loved to watch the Disney cartoons. One of my favourite has always been Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland. Usually kids don´t like it so much, being one of the strangest and darkest Disney cartoons. I just like the journey and the peculiar characters. So, when I grew up, I decided to read the book, and the first time I read a translation in Italian. I didn´t like it. Later on I had to read it again for an exam, and this time it was in English, and: I got it! This books, Wonderland + Looking Glass, loose a lot when they are translated. All the Carrollian non-sense, the puns, the historical references cannot be understood unless the book is read in the original language.
Many people are not attracted from it, because they think that these are books for children. They are not wrong, it is, but it´s also more than that. It depends on which level people want to read it and analyse it. Like Le Petit Prince. I suggest to read the annotated version of the books, because it helps to understand all the explanations behind the crazy poems, the characters, the non-sense, the jokes, and so on. There are many other books that analyse Alice´s word under different aspects: psychological, philosophical, mathematical, historical, biographical, literary, logical, and so on.
Lewis Carroll, real name Charles Lewis Dodgson, was a mathematician, a logician and an inventor, and a brilliant one! He also had a passion for photography and children. There´s still a huge discussion about the strong interest he had for the little kids. Many think he was a paedophile, other thinks he was scared of the strong sexuality of women, and so he was finding refuge in the innocent children´s world. There´s also who thinks, he could have been Jack the Ripper.
Anyway! Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are not only children books, but 2 masterpieces of the non-sense literature! I recently started to read a bit more about the backgrounds of Lewis Carroll´s world, and it´s really interesting. I bought The annotated Alice, I subscribed to The Carrollian, one of the societies dedicated to Lewis Carroll, and I would like to buy some other books, just to read about other point of views and other kind of interpretations. You can find more information about Lewis Carroll´s world here:
- Lewis Carroll´s wiki (to know a little bit more in a short time)
- The Carrollian
- The Lewis Carroll society of North America
- Lewis Carroll´s Photographs – Princeton University
- Illustrators of Alice on the web
- Lenny´s Alice in Wonderland site
- Alice in Wonderland shop
- Alice in Oxford
- The Carroll Myth