Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Rating 9.2/10
Its fantasy plot, humorous rhymes and brilliant use of nonsense was revolutionary.

What’s down the rabbit hole?

A hot summer’s day on the riverbank, and young Alice is bored. Bored, that is, until a white rabbit in a checked jacket scurries past in a great hurry, examining a pocket watch. Burning with curiosity, Alice can’t help but follow the rabbit down the hole which leads to a long passageway – and a tiny door too small to get through.

So begins Alice’s adventures in the amazing world of Wonderland. In the pages that follow a strange liquid will shrink her to only ten inches tall; a curious cake will disappear before her eyes; a mad hatter will invite her to tea – and Alice will play a very dangerous game of croquet…

The character of Alice is based on Alice Liddell, the ten-year-old daughter of an academic at Christ Church College in Oxford, where author Lewis Carroll studied and taught. Carroll would tell Alice stories to entertain her: Alice begged him to write them out and he presented them to her in 1864. He was later persuaded to publish and, after further additions, the book as we know it today appeared in 1865, including the famous illustrations by John Tenniel.

Alice in Wonderland was Lewis Carroll’s first novel and its fantasy plot, humorous rhymes and brilliant use of nonsense was revolutionary. Nineteenth-century children’s writing usually served moral or educational purpose, but  Alice was written firmly and purely for the amusement of children. Critical response was lukewarm, but the book was still a great success, and remains a hugely influential classic of children’s literature.

Alice appeals to adults as well as children and over the years readers and critics have found within it all manner of riddles, puzzles, mathematical concepts and references to Carroll’s famous and not-so-famous friends.

Lewis Carroll was the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, born in 1832 in Cheshire in the north of England. His father, the local rector, came from a family of distinguished scholars and clergymen. Dodgson continued the academic family tradition and studied mathematics and theology, eventually becoming a mathematician at Oxford University.

He first began to write comic poetry and prose in the 1850s and had several pieces published in magazines, where he first began to use the name Lewis Carroll. In 1856 he met four-year-old Alice Liddell who was to inspire the book which made Dodgson’s name, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865. The book was an immediate success, was translated into many languages and soon established itself as an English classic. Its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, appeared in 1871. Their revolutionary combination of word-play, humour and nonsense had never been seen before in writing for children. His other great masterpiece of nonsense is the poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876), and other books for children including Phantasmagoria (1869) and Sylvie and Bruno (1889).

Charles Dodgson never married and remained at Oxford all his adult life, where he wrote several books on mathematics and logic as well as devising board games and brainteasers. He was also an expert  photographer, famous for his portraits of children and many artistic personalities of the day. He died in 1898.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland reader reviews

from Australia

2-stars

It is alright. I do not really understand the plot.

from India

9-stars

It is quite an interesting book, I loved it.

from India

10-stars

It was a fantastic plot. I liked it as is a story of a small girl.

from USA

3-stars

Sorry for my unpopular opinion but this book is actually awful. It was almost incoherent throughout and didn't have a plot at all. Lewis Carroll was an opium addict, and it's evident through the whole book.

from UK

10-stars

It's an awesome story, I loved it.

from England

10-stars

Alice's adventures are so wondrous and magical, that the reader cannot help being drawn into a fantasy world. Lewis Carroll created many unforgettable characters and situations for Alice to encounter. Readers of all ages will be captivated by the book's charm and humour. Top quality literature.

7.6/10 from 7 reviews

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