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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll


The Mad Hatter, the Ugly Duchess, the Mock Turtle, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat-characters each more eccentric than the last, and that could only have come from Lewis Carroll, the master of sublime nonsense. In these two brilliant burlesques he created two of the most famous and fantastic novels of all time that not only stirred our imagination but revolutionized literature.




From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:02 AM Today marks the official start of the Alice in Wonderland discussion. Please post any further notes here. This is the first time I have read this charming story, although I admit to seeing the Disney cartoon when I was a kid. I'm enjoying it very much. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (2 of 22), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 06:02 PM Did anyone else sense a great Dickensian 'feel' to the Alice books? For some reason, I did, and was puzzled because the style is certainly not Dickensian, nor the plot, or anything else! But something was there that kept whispering Dickens to me. And, then as I began to get into the Carroll bio, I found he was very, very fond of Dickens. I still cant put my finger on what reminded me so much of Dickens tho. Maybe because both authors used children as protagonists in their books. From what I've read, up until the middle of the 19th century, children were considered to be nothing more than 'miniature adults.' As childhood development was realized and became better understood, literature reflected this, and there was a rash of fiction published with a child as the main character. These books, almost without exception, were moralistic; adolescent characters learned morals, learned about life. We witnessed their emotional and moral growth. We witnessed their development. It was a new idea, and prominent authors of the era seemed fascinated with this new idea. But, I don't see this in 'Alice;' any moral is hidden and for the reader to discover, not the child. I'm positive this reflects Carroll's belief that children are 'divine,' and their inherent divinity fades as they progress into adulthood...any moral to be found in the Alice books was not meant for the child..the child was already as morally perfect as she would ever be. (this also falls nicely in with the section where Alice cannot enter the door into the garden; only a small child, still perfect and ideal, is deserving of entering Eden.) Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (3 of 22), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 06:19 PM I've read this about 467 times. And that was just as a child. Then I read it to my children at least 345 times. Then I read it again as an adult several times. But I never caught any Dickensian connection. Could it be just the taint of the age? But maybe you've hit on at least one of the reasons I so loved this book as a child. Nobody was lecturing me about being a goodykins. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (4 of 22), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 06:46 PM I've been sitting here reading about a Dickensian tie to the Alice books, and it's definitely there, Ruth. And it most certainly has to do with Victorian society's victimization of and insensitivity to children. Carroll read a lot of Dickens' books and often quoted from them. He admired Dickens' humor and exaggerations. But I think the tie I felt was in the fact that we are witnessing the world, as fantastic as it might seem, from the viewpoint of a child, with no judgement or criticism, but a pure acceptance of the reality of things as a child would see it. I think another reason this book has such universal appeal to children is that the world in this book totally revolves around a child. Alice is at least an equal to every living thing in this wonderland. Here is a child, in all her innocence and with all her inability to make sense of this new world, not treated with condescension, but with respect and acceptance. How could any child not be attracted to that? Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (5 of 22), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 06:48 PM Ruth and Beej, I finished Alice in Wonderland and am in the midst of Through the Looking Glass. I don't know what Carroll was like as a man, but he had a wonderful understanding of what it is like to be a child. I don't know how I missed these books when I was a kid. So far, my favorite part is Alice's visit with the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. The Mock Turtle describes the courses he took in school to Alice: "Reeling and Writhing, of course to begin with...and then the different branches of Arithmetic - Ambition,Distraction, Uglification, and Derision...there was Mystery...ancient and modern with Seaography:then Drawling - the Drawling master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils." I adore that "Fainting in Coils"! I am taking a linguistics class this semester and the text quotes Carroll for examples of word play and invented words following certain grammar rules embedded in our brain, such as "uglification" in the above conversation. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (6 of 22), Read 35 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Lynn Isvik washualum@yahoo.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 07:00 PM Ann says "I am taking a linguistics class this semester and the text quotes Carroll for examples of word play and invented words following certain grammar rules embedded in our brain, such as "uglification" in the above conversation." I think you've put your finger on what I enjoy best about Alice in Wonderland, Ann. The cleverness of the word play and invented words is somehow tied to the fact that they "fit" with those grammatical rules in ways that we don't even consciously see. Lynn
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (7 of 22), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sandy Langley cheefwil@aol.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 07:50 PM Like Ruth, I have read the Alice books all my life, have acted in productions of the books, have directed children's productions and have read all of Dickens many times. Carroll may, indeed, have been a fan. Most people were, but I would be hard pressed to support a claim that the Alice books are Dickensian. Dickens did not do fantasy. Cheef
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (8 of 22), Read 49 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 07:52 PM I'd never thought about it, but my MFA is in Fainting in Coils. Dear me,I'd better start limbering up. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (9 of 22), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:10 PM Ruth, I just got around to reading Byatt's intro and here's a bit of what I meant by the Dickens influence: 'Alice is an English heroine both because she is pragmatic and curious, and simply because she is a child. Romanticism in the early nineteenth century, through Rousseau and others, introduced the idea of the child as a new and growing mind in a strange world, different from a miniature adult. High Victorian fiction introduced the practice of defining the central consciousness of hero or heroine in the proving time of early childhood. Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Maggie Tulliver in the 'Mill on the Floss,' and Pip in 'Great Expectations' explore the dangerous worlds they find themselves in, and judge them....It is true Alice belongs with Jane(Eyre) and David (Copperfield) as a reasoning being in a world where adults are full of irrational rage, greed, and vengefulness...Miss Havisham and Pip's furious sister, are possessed of the same violence as the Duchess, the Queen of Hearts, and the Red Queen.' A.S. Byatt And, I think that pretty much sums up what I meant by sensing a Dickensian 'feel' to this book. There's more, too, in the book, 'Lewis Carroll; A Biography,' by Morton N. Cohen, if anyone is interested in reading more on this aspect of Alice. Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (10 of 22), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:20 PM I see what you mean, but I certainly didn't notice it until you pointed it out. R
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (11 of 22), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:23 PM Well, I just kept thinking Dickens for some reason, and I couldn't figure out why. Now I know why. Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (12 of 22), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:43 PM But in the next 'breath' Byatt says Moretti in The Way of the World (which is her reference here) claims that the English novel is childish because what is desired is not maturity and wisdom but a return to the safety and innocence of childhood -- this is a half-truth, since there is never any illusion of happy innocence in the childhoods of Pip or Maggie or Jane. But he is right that they live in fairy-tale plots of fear, villainy, danger, retribution, and restoration. What is most striking about the Alice books in this context is that they are not fairy tales. The wood is not the dark wood where the enchanter and the witch lurk. The creatures are not magical helpers or disguised princes. They are garrulous and argumentative philosophers and grammarians, and the world they inhabit is the world of nonsense, which exists only in contradistinction to the world of sense, common or uncommon, which Alice has in abundance. No matter the influence of Dickens, I don't see Alice the character as a Dickensian character nor the story as Dickensian though I never put much thought to it before this. It escapes me -- but then much does. I think my difficulty with the comparison lies largely in the grim and gritty realities which Dickens children face in many cases to the point of the grotesque as one twist after another confronts them -- much as adults face events in their lives -- as we all face events in our lives. Those children face these challenges as little adults in many cases -- true to the Victorian or prevailing view of children. Alice is a child and wise with the common or uncommon sense -- but at the same time seems to be a child -- asking the next question as quickly as she grasps the illogic of much around her. The nonsense and the magical elements and the whimsy are different for me from the dark moods of much of Dickens IMHO. Dottie "Always speak the truth -- think before you speak -- and write it down afterwards." "It all depends ...."
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (13 of 22), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 09:57 PM Further, I must confess that while I've had a few lessons in Drawling and Stretching -- I've never done any Fainting in Coils. {G} Dottie "It all depends ...."
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (14 of 22), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003 10:03 PM Dottie, I did not mean to imply that I thought the Alice books were replicas of Dickens' novels. I am only saying that for some reason, Dickens kept entering my mind and I couldn't figure out why. After reading Byatt's intro, as well as Carroll's biography and items on the web, I found out why. And what I discovered satisfied my own curiosity. But I was also curious as to whether or not Dickens came to mind for anyone else. That's all. Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (15 of 22), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 04:58 AM Like Beej, I see a very strong affinity between Carroll and Dickens. In style, temperament, politics and career they were of course quite separate, but they have a much deeper connection, which is that they are writing against the stifling morality and belief systems of the time which climaxed in the 1860s of the Victorian period. The pervasive morality did not affect everything, but it certainly controlled the upper middle classes to which both men belonged, and (more importantly) the literary expectations of their reading publics. Both writers show you the exploding-pressure-cooker effects of their worlds. The fits, rages, fainting, and craziness of the people who inhabit them, and the humbug moralising, foisted on the young by the old. Both can enter the world of the child, and it is through the child that the real nature of the society they inhabit is seen. The parody poems in the Alice books are hilariously funny; but they have a serious purpose when you look at the moral sentiments of the dreary didactic originals which they mock. Similarly the children in Hard Times see through the bitter morality of Mr Gradgrind when he lectures them. The two Dickens novels that show this most are David Copperfield and Great Expectations, and interestingly, Great Expectations, I think, does come closest to the form of the Alice books. A world where, apart from the child through whose eyes you see it, everything is insane. Sandy says, "Dickens did not do fantasy", which is true, but could you really describe Great Expectations as a realistic novel? It is possible, since he was something of a pedant, that Carroll would have denied the Alice books are fantasy. He might have said they were descriptions of dreams, and that the waking life behind the dreams was quite realistic.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (16 of 22), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 05:28 AM I have not read A.S. Byatt on Carroll or anything else (her name always reminds me a family business: "A.S. Byatt & Sons, Ltd, essay and novel merchants. Prose at competitive prices, written while you wait.") - but I would recommend, if you don't know it, Chapter 7, "Alice in Wonderland", from Some Versions of Pastoral by William Empson, certainly the most brilliant thing on Alice I've ever read.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (17 of 22), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sandy Langley cheefwil@aol.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 10:54 AM Great Expectations as a realistic novel? No. But fiction? Yes. Dickens, like Shakespeare, tempers ghastly reality with comedy. But to say an author's writing, simply because they write in the same era, is like another authors is very simplistic. BTW, I once read a lovely little anecdote that said that Queen Victoria was enchanted by Alice and when she met Carroll, actually the mathematician Charles Dodgson, she praised the book and asked for a sign copy of his next. In due time, his next, a tome on mathematics, was delivered, signed. I have no idea if it is true, but doesn't it make a great story. Sandy
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (18 of 22), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 11:14 AM Thanks Martin. I particularly saw a real parallel between Miss Havisham and the Queen of Hearts and, to a degree, the White Rabbit and Magwitch, both running in and out of the story, both being a running thread from beginning to end. I think it's easier to see a Carroll/Dickens connection when it's kept in mind that, as fantastic as Alice is, she was also a real child, cherished by the author, and that this author was deeply concerned about the world and treatment of children in Victorian society. On the surface, Alice in Wonderland seems a fantasy, but I'm convinced that this complex genius built this fantasy based on a very real world. It's an extremely allegorical book, as we know simply by all the political meanings behind so many of the puns. I have two other Carroll bios waiting for me at the library, but neither is the one you recommend. I'll try to find that one too. And, I LOVE your description of Byatt, "Prose at competitive prices, written while you wait." Reminds me of Joyce Carol Oates! Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (19 of 22), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 11:21 AM Martin, Thanks for that very interesting post comparing Carroll's and Dickens' treatment of child characters. You mentioned the fun of the didactic poems turned on their heads. I really enjoyed the parody of "You are old, Father Williams" in Chapter V even though I am not familiar with the original. I can imagine the absolute delight it must have provoked in Alice and her sisters, who were also familiar with the moralistic model. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (20 of 22), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 12:26 PM Beej, The thing by William Empson is not a bio, but just a short essay (about 30 pages) in a collection of essays. Not an easy read, but very good.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (21 of 22), Read 11 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 01:03 PM Again, Thanks Martin. I discovered that as I did an online search. I was able to find some excerpts from 'Some Versions of Pastoral.' I loved this quote: "you can say everything about complex people by a complete consideration of simple people." I take it Empson's pastorals were quite Freudian in nature and, as such, were highly controversial. (a bit off topic, I became sidetracked by criticisms of Empson's 'Milton's God.' I just found that enormously fascinating and I thank you for bringing Empson to my attention here.) Beej
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 01:30 PM (I thought the name seemed familiar. We did Empson's Missing Dates last Feb in Poetry.) R
From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 03:27 PM This was read to me as a child and I think I read it once myself. I had a reaction similar to the one that Gardner describes in one of those articles that Pres linked. It scared me. All of those creatures and Alice's seeming lack of control were the stuff of nightmares. Gardner says that his reaction was similar as a child and really thinks that it is more a book for young adolescents and adults. I find this interesting in light of some of the comments here. I had a much better time reading it this time out than ever before. Barb
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (24 of 52), Read 69 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 09:04 PM Barb, Interesting. I remember being really scared watching the Wizard of Oz as a kid, which sounds like a similar reaction to a supposed children's story. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (25 of 52), Read 68 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, February 02, 2003 11:05 PM This is really strange. I was a bit of a timid child, frightened of a lot of things in real life, yet until I heard these comments here it never crossed my mind than anyone would find AIW frightening. R
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (26 of 52), Read 66 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, February 03, 2003 07:20 AM I had that reaction to a lot of books, Ruth, so it may have been books as opposed to real life for you. I wasn't timid at all but movies and books could frighten me and make me incredibly sad. I couldn't read Heidi all the way through because the scenes when she had to leave the grandfather were too much for me. And, I read Black Beauty but just barely. I always had to leave the room during the monkeys scene in the Wizard of Oz, Ann. Barb
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (27 of 52), Read 67 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Monday, February 03, 2003 08:48 AM Yes, Barb,it was the monkeys that terrified me, but I was in a movie theater so I couldn't leave. I don't remember books scaring me, but movies certainly did. I was definitely a timid child -- too much going on in my real life. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (28 of 52), Read 69 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Peggy Ramsey ashputtle@comcast.com Date: Monday, February 03, 2003 11:33 AM Interesting discussion - here I just logged in the check if anyone else was as creeped out by that pig-baby as I was? I can't place my finger on why I found that whole scene so disturbing (aside from the obvious ones, of course), but it really touched off some kind of primitive wiggens. Just writing about it makes me shudder. In contrast to what some of the others have posted, I find that the "adult" me is more fearful than I was as a child. I never used to believe in the boogie man, but now I know he's out there. I'm familiar with the story via Disney, but I think this is the first time I've ever read it. The language is such fun - I'm forcing myself to slow down and read aloud so I don't miss anything. The dogs seem to find it fascinating, but they may be too polite to say otherwise.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (29 of 52), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 04:25 PM Reading it this time, I was very conscious of the size changes and assumed sizes of the animals. Alice is 9 inches high when she enters the Duchess's kitchen, so the Cheshire cat must be a few inches long at most. When she visits the March Hare she finds 2 feet a more comfortable height, matching the Hare, but suggesting a midget Hatter and gigantic Dormouse. And Tenniel's Dormouse is certainly not going to fit into the teapot. She then drops down a foot to get through the door and down the passage into the garden, and this seems a plausible height for her first encounter with the cards, of whom she is not afraid, and whom she can pick up and hide in a flower pot. But then she seems to play the croquet game at the same height as everyone else, and here, and in the courtroom scene, Alice and all the rest (including Hatter, Hare and Dormouse) seem to be playing-card height. Until Alice grows back to her usual height, which is illustrated by Tenniel realistically as a little girl among playing cards and small animals. Tenniel illustrates the other scenes accordingly, for example by making the Hatter look even tinier at the end of the story than the middle. I imagine Carroll created these inconsistencies quite deliberately. He wants us to accept after all that the large Alice can make enough tears for the small Alice to swim in. Very different from Gulliver in Lilliput, where everything is worked out on a rigid 1:12 ratio. In size, as in everything else, the Cheshire cat is strangest of all. To begin with it is very tiny, and unlike the other animals, a pet. It has a non-speaking role, like Pluto, who is Mickey Mouse's pet. Later it speaks, and looks ferocious "a great many claws and very large teeth". We may not believe it walks on its back legs, but it is beginning to resemble Behemoth in the Master and Margarita. Finally it turns into a creature which listens, shows sympathy, and which Alice regards as a friend, which is unique in the whole story. In Tenniel's illustrations its disembodied head looks quite gigantic. But obviously the relative sizes are as important as the real sizes. The Duchess can rest her chin on Alice's shoulder. This seems much more important than whether the Duchess is 6, 9 or 50 inches tall. When Alice is larger than the rabbit he is timid, when smaller he orders her around, when the same size he addresses her in the tones of polite conversation. There is also I think an implied "size" of social distinction. Alice is a little timid before the caterpillar, who adopts the grand manner. She is certainly deferential to the Dodo, perhaps an Oxford Don, although more the committee man than dedicated teacher I think. She is not in awe of the Mouse, who is more like a primary school teacher, or governess, of children poorer than herself (incidentally, is the Mouse male or female?) She feels herself the equal of almost all the other creatures because she recognises them as having similar, or lower social status to herself. There is nothing aristocratic about Carroll's King, Queen or Duchess.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (30 of 52), Read 47 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 05:26 PM Very interesting observations, Martin. What an analytical mind you have. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (31 of 52), Read 44 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 08:57 PM Martin, I enjoyed your analysis. Alice didn't seem very concerned about the size changes, except from a purely practical viewpoint when being the wrong size prevented her from doing something, like entering the garden. Because she was relatively nonchalant about these transformations, I didn't think most child readers would be frightened by them. But then, as I said, I never read this as a kid. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (32 of 52), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 09:30 PM I would think a change in size wouldn't bother a kid..their size is always changing, after all. In a child's world, so much seems possible. And so much is relative. A child might be big compared to a little baby or a pet, but then be small next to a big father. Plus, I think a child 'feels' his size to be in direct correlation to his feelings of security; when a child feels safe, he feels as tho he's physically mighty big. But if he feels threatened or unsafe, he feels small, no matter how tall he might be. There was a notation in reference to the puppy in this story. It was the only animal who remained 'normal.' Any ideas as to why Carroll even wrote the puppy into the story? Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (33 of 52), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 09:34 PM I was musing, too, over the section where Alice's neck becomes elongated. I love that scene and pictured her like a reading lamp with an adjustable arm! I think that might be symbolic of a child who is confused, but who is flexible enough to try and see the basis (her feet!) for what's happening in her surroundings. Her head (brain/thoughts) is trying to find where exactly she stands in this world that makes no sense. Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (34 of 52), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:26 PM Peggy, I thought that whole pig/baby scene was absolutely surrealistic too. There were no notes about it in my More Annotated Alice. Does anyone else have any insights into what Carroll was going for here? That was very strange. Martin, I love all your observations about the size changes and, particularly, the differences in how Alice was treated based on her size. I think actually that children would be delighted by this part of the story and I don't remember being frightened by that aspect as a child. The 5 year old children I teach love to toy around with ideas of size in their play. And, they speak very differently to children who are pretending to be smaller or larger. Barb
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (35 of 52), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:28 PM I was always disturbed by the long neck scene. I was a very logical little kid. If the EATME cake that made her bigger back in the tunnel had enlarged her proportionately, why should this new enlargement be so largely devoted to neck? As for Alice taking the size changes in stride, she took most all of it in stride. This was a dream after all. And it's a characteristic of dreams that we accept them. So we wake up one morning and find an elephant in the garage. We aren't so much surprised as worried what we're going to feed him and how to keep him from stepping on the paint cans. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (36 of 52), Read 41 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 10:36 PM Barb, there are two separate notations in my book for the boy/pig transformation. The first merely states that this shouldn't be surprising because Dickens had a low opinion of little boys. The second said this: 'Frankie Morris, in 'Jabberwocky,' (Autumn 1985), suggests that the baby's transformation into a pig may derive from a famous prank played on James I by the Countess of Buckingham. She arranged for His Majesty to witness the baptism of what he thought was an infant in arms but was actually a pig, an animal James I particularly loathed.' Beej
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (37 of 52), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 04:36 AM Perhaps we should all make entries on a list, "things that disturbed us then", and "things that disturb us now". As I child I felt most upset by the constant decapitations ordered by the Queen of Hearts. No actual executions are taking place, but I did not realise that at the time. The thing that most disturbs me now is the Walrus and the Carpenter, where the oysters seem to stand for children.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (38 of 52), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 07:49 AM I never read this as a child, but I remember being frightened by the movie. I, too, was upset about "Off with her head." It seemed such a mean thing to say! But what gave me the greatest sense of unease was that she was lost. I had that same feeling when I saw Wizard of Oz. I didn't like the feeling of being lost. Sherry
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (39 of 52), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 08:55 AM This discussion reminds me of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, a lot of which are pretty brutal for young children - and yet they are part of our cultural heritage. Think of Hansel and Gretel or the Old Woman and the Shoe who beat beat her children. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (40 of 52), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jonathan Metts jonathan@planetgamecube.com Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:05 PM Someone's got to introduce comparisons between the book and Disney movie, and it might as well be me. I grew up watching Disney's adaptation and have always loved it. I never read the book until just a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn't help but compare it to the movie constantly. First, I think Disney's writers are brilliant. They took this beloved book and looked hard at what worked and didn't work. As I read, I felt that most of the parts left out contributed little to the story, although there were a few omissions that were probably axed for time constraints. Many scenes in the book that were clearly genius were left more or less unchanged in the movie, namely the tea party, which is my favorite part in both versions. Disney was also able to add its own material, and most of it fits perfectly. The songs are an obvious example, and while there's little singing in Carroll's book, you get the feeling that Wonderland is a place where strange characters could bust out funny songs at every turn. The music is certainly more appropriate than in some of Disney's other adaptations, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I have to give special mention to the scene in the movie where Alice gets lost in a dark forest. That scene always scared and fascinated me, and now that I'm a bit older, I can appreciate how Alice eventually tires of all the madness and begins to yearn for home. It's a very real trend for children who run away, go to camp, or otherwise become separated from home. Finally, the characterizations are split down the middle. Carroll nails some of them, especially the Cheshire Cat and the Mock Turtle. The aforementioned Mad Hatter is about the same in both. What really astonished me, however, is how dry and uninteresting the king and queen are in the book. Disney's interpretation of the queen as a big, stout woman who is simply not to be messed with is a great improvement over Carroll's version, who seems more haughty and ignored than anything. The king is a major character in the book, but he has few defining qualities. Disney gave his authority to the queen and made him tiny and adorable in the movie, and I think the character works much better for the changes. That's all I've got for now. Anyone care to discuss? Jonathan Published daily at PlanetGameCube.com Currently reading: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (41 of 52), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:17 PM Very interesting, JONATHAN. Acute and astute observation. Appreciated. pres "I am calm. I'm just upset."
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (42 of 52), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Peggy Ramsey ashputtle@comcast.com Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:25 PM I finished Alice's first adventure last night, and have just dipped my toes into the second one. But I was puzzled by the last chapter in "Wonderland," the one where the sister reflects on Alice's adventures. It didn't seem to match the rest of the book at all, and I found myself wondering why it was there? That last little bit of commentary kinda broke the spell - which was probably its intent - but why did the spell need to be broken at all? Any thoughts?
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (43 of 52), Read 39 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:34 PM I never liked that part when I was a kid, and I didn't care much for it at this reading. Perhaps it's a bow to the convention in early novels, where the author makes out that this is really a true story he found in an attic, or was told by a mysterious stranger, etc. Or, because Carroll uses the setting with the sister as the opening scene, he returns to the sister at the end, as a framing device. I think it could be axed with no harm done to the story. Ruth, who really must get off the computer and go to the market. I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date, no time to say hello, goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late...
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (44 of 52), Read 36 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:47 PM I was absolutely terrified and obsessed with both Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland as a child. Angry faced monkeys, bossy queens, size changes...I used to trace the drawings in my copy of Alice all the time. I still have the book and you can see where my carbon paper was put on wrong sometimes and there are big black lines around the illustrations...and tons of pencil marks. Beej, sensitive about Dickens and Carroll...after all they both wrote with a beautiful blend of character and plot...giving us both. It never occurred to me as a child that rabbits or mice didn't communicate, I never took the novel as a fantasy...as a matter of fact, when I used to watch cartoons, I thought Scooby Doo or Bugs Bunny were "real". I can't explain that other than to say, I thought they were alive. I remember feeling a lot of stress about Alices sizes that she was trapped by them...and still to this day, there is a feeling for me, EXACTLY HOW is this size going to be resolved...???? ( I am a big fan of William Empson, I was the one who nominated Missing Dates...I love reading his lit crit, even if I don't always understand it, his Seven forms of Ambiguity I believe is a "must read") I have really enjoyed some of the insights here to children and childhood is many of the posts. Last night I watched the two hour show "Living With Michael Jackson". It resonates today with the comments in this topic...as Jackson spoke a lot about his childhood and his feelings that children are (special, pure, non-judgmental, superior company, fun, alive, innocent, deserving of protection) I put this in brackets because it is difficult for me to remember his quotes directly. Like Carroll and Dickens Jackson seems to be from that romantic tradition that children are otherworldy and more authentic than adults and more honest and good than adults... I believe both Dickens and Carroll were able to manifest the perspective and psyche of the child among adults and the overpowering influence of adult politics and fear and control over the life of children. (Although the journalist interviewing Jackson, and the intro by Barbra Walters thought Jackson was dangerous to his own children and was a superfreak---they came off WAY more crazy and neurotic than Jackson to me...in fact their armchair psychology was downright embarrassing especially coming from "journalists".) Another interesting essay is the British Film Institutes publication of Salman Rushdie recalling his feelings about his favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. he recalls that the black and white straight lined world of Kansas was so awful compared to the spiral colorful world of Oz...and why on earth would Dorothy want to go back...and that Baaum continued to write about Oz for years because it was a lot more interesting than "reality" and fans wanted more Oz. I remember kind of feeling that the journey of Alice was a lot more empowering and interesting than her "real" life.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (45 of 52), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 01:49 PM Peggy, I wonder if the spell being broken was sort of like that feeling of the party is over, or rain on parade...that an intellectual approach kills the mood?
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (46 of 52), Read 41 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Friday, February 07, 2003 03:31 PM Candy is an Empson fan! I might have guessed ...
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (47 of 52), Read 44 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Edward Houghton eddh@pacbell.net Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 05:32 AM JONATHAN There is an older version than Disney's. It had some of the more well known stars of its day; no animation. I remember that Gary Cooper was the White Knight and Cary Grant was the White Rabbit (or the dormouse). And the tea party scene carried the picture as I recall. Well worth the time if it's available. EDD
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (48 of 52), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 10:34 AM Peggy, The notes by Lynne Vallone in The Modern Library edition of Alice in Wonderland has this to say about the final chapter, which does seem more or less tacked on: "Carroll obviously has placed himself in the position of Alice's 'older sister,' and in this heartfelt reverie articulates his own hopes for a future Alice who will retain the child-likeness so dear to him. By imagining this older Alice as essentially unchanged from hid 'ideal child friend,' Carroll attempts to maintain his position of importance in Alice Liddell's life." This made sense to me. The final chapter seems full of nostalgia and I think Carroll was remembering very fondly his earlier days with the real Alice. The book was published years after a breach between Carroll and the Liddell family. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (49 of 52), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 10:45 AM Jonathan, I saw the Disney cartoon too long ago to remember much about it. I think the cartoon is more for kids, while the book has a more adult appeal due to all the sophisticated word play. Candy, I enjoyed reading about Rushdie's comments on The Wizard of Oz. Ann
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (50 of 52), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 03:01 PM Jonathan, I wonder if the parts of the book that work for you (the Tea Party, the Cheshire cat) work better because they ARE familiar from the movie. The parts like the Pepper and Pig, and the Duchess seem kind of foreign. If they had been in the movie, they may have the kind of familiarity that would make them more alive. Or maybe you're right, and the Disney crew knew what to choose and what to leave out. Sherry
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (51 of 52), Read 15 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 03:34 PM I think the movie is one thing and the book is another. The songs are fun, the creatures are creaturey. BUT they are Disneyfied. The book is darker, more multi-faceted, more language oriented. Apples and oranges. Ruth
From: Jonathan Metts jonathan@planetgamecube.com Date: Saturday, February 08, 2003 04:43 PM Edd, is that the one with Sammy Davis, Jr. as the Caterpillar? If so, I have seen it a few times, though not in years. Loved it too. Regarding maturity and wordplay between the two versions... I did feel that the book was more sophisticated, but not necessarily more mature. It reads like other children's literature I've read from that time period, especially originating from England. Perhaps you're seeing it as a more "adult" book because you're not reading it or thinking about it as an adult? I'm well past my own childhood, but I didn't think the book was very "adult" at all. Regarding wordplay, the book definitely has the advantage, seeing as how it is constructed entirely of words. I get the feeling that some of Carroll's silly linguistics escaped me, but the stuff during the tea party really stood out and had me laughing plenty. That's why it's my favorite part of the book. The movie obviously is more visual, but it does have quite a lot of its own wordplay. The caterpillar scene always stood out to me as being very twisted and complex in that regard. The tea party is also very much language-based, with the hatter and hare constantly confusing Alice with their odd expressions and songs about "un-birthdays", etc. Jonathan Published daily at PlanetGameCube.com Currently reading: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
From: Edward Houghton eddh@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 03:55 AM JONATHAN No. The one I mentioned precedes Sammy Davis Jr by a good twenty years or so. EDD
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (54 of 65), Read 38 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 05:27 AM I think the ending of Alice's Adventures is meant to reassure the child, by bringing it back into the real world after the scary scenes it has encountered in the dream. Jonathan's reminder that this is, after all, a children's book is important here. It is interesting that Martin Gardner does not see it as a children's book, or at least, not as a book that any longer appeals to children. Constant readers give the lie to that, and I'm most impressed by how many of them did read it as children. Gardner misses the point several times because of this. For example, the chess puzzle at the front of Through the Looking Glass he seems to find disappointing because it does not follow the rules of chess. But it is ideal as an activity for parent and child: to set the chess board up and play the game of Alice meeting the pieces. Children like Alice would not be interested in real chess anyway, but they would have seen the pieces, and perhaps be familiar with Victorian chess problems (usually much more complex than their modern 2-move/3-move equivalents) from the weekly slot in the Illustrated London News, and similar publications. But answering Jonathan, it is not merely a children's book. A Disney cartoon has jokes for the children, and more sophisticated jokes for the parent. The parents need to be entertained, since they are paying for the kids' treat. Alice similarly. For example, the ancient man sitting on the gate is a parody of Wordsworth, and lines like His accents mild took up the tale are deliciously Wordsworthian. The clever Victorian parent could spot this, but not the clever Victorian child. The cartoon Alice omits things that the modern American child could hardly understand. Chess is an obvious case in point. The Mock Turtle scene was dropped because the jokes are about going to the seaside, learning ballroom dancing, refined extras at small private schools and so on. It also doesn't bother to get right details that the parent audience would not be familiar with. So, whereas the pack of playing cards, and the shuffling, fanning actions are perfectly represented - because the American audience knows all about them - croquet is not shown correctly. In croquet you have your own ball, and use it to hit other balls which go through the hoops. You see this in the Tenniel illustration with its two hedgehogs, as well as in the text where Alice refers to "her" hedgehog, and is pleased when she finds two hedgehogs together. In the film the Queen scores by knocking a hedgehog straight through a row a hoops, which isn't how the game works at all. The Queen is really playing golf, holding the flamingo like a club and taking a mighty swing at the ball. Again this is something that would be familiar to an American Disney audience. In croquet you hold the mallet between your legs and clonk forwards. At least you do nowadays. I have a print of Victorian ladies playing croquet wearing the immense crinolines of the 1860s that would have made that impossible, and they play more "sidesaddle", resorting to a sideways swipe. I like Disney's Alice, which somehow captures the original - unlike, say, The Little Mermaid. But it is very Americanised. ("I'm through with rabbits", says Alice at one point.)
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (55 of 65), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 11:09 AM I read Alice as a child, before I had any idea about how chess was played. Only new it involved funny-shaped pieces on a checkerboard. Didn't detract from my love of the book at all. Reading it as an adult, after having learned to play a very rudimentary chess, I didn't feel the need to know any more. I found it way too much trouble to try to envision MG's explanations of which square they were on now and why. As for the movie, Disney is Disney. You either like what he does or you don't. His stuff is much easier to take if you don't come into it expecting it to be like the original book. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (56 of 65), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 01:48 PM Martin, we play croquet here in the states. All summer long on a couple of neighbors lawns when I was a kid. Given my neighborhood, no one had a full set, and there'd be makeshift wickets and much squabbling over whose turn it was to use the available mallets. Theresa "The world, the race, the soul, in space and time the universes- All bound as is befitting each -- all surely going somewhere." Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Going Somewhere)
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (57 of 65), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 01:54 PM For years when I was a kid I thought "to Halifax" was a croquet term. Instead of my mother's ladylike way of saying she was going to knock my ball to hell. Ruth
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (58 of 65), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 01:58 PM I read Alice as a child, and read Alice as a child, and read Alice as a child . . . I read Alice so much (or so I think I remember) that I think of it as a "comfort book". I have been dismayed at the accounts of being scared by it. And Alice fed my Anglophile bias. When I was about six or seven, my parents gave me a used and old twenty volume set of A Child's Book of Knowledge, published in England for the English, which I practically lived in. (Go outdoors and play!) All sorts of upperclass Englishness - a go-cart railway to travel the garden slopes; stories about the noble Robert Bruce and the spider; fun on the sands. (I never knew how that Book of Knowledge made its (Hi! BOB) way to the San Francisco area.) About movies of Alice In Wonderland: the IMDB lists 11 movies, 7 TV movies, and 1 video game. The 1933 version made the most impression on me (well, I saw it). Looking for a child actress to play Alice had the same publicity as looking for an actress to play Scarlett O'Hara. The winner was Charlotte Henry, and I still remember her name, not because of her abilities (though I think she did fine) but because of the hooharah. There was a great cast in the movie. You can look them up. Alison Skipworth as the Duchess, Edward Evert Horton as the Mad Hatter, Louise Fazenda, Skeets Gallagher, Polly Moran, Ned Sparks, Sterling Holloway, Roscoe Ates. There was a 1931 movie, too. I don't recognize a name in the cast. pres "I am calm. I'm just upset."
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (59 of 65), Read 27 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 03:08 PM Of course you play croquet in the States, because I remember the girls playing croquet in Heathers, now you come to mention it. I will narrow my assertion, and merely say that the Disney animators didn't play croquet. --or at least, they played poker more.
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (60 of 65), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Peggy Ramsey ashputtle@comcast.com Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 04:46 PM Ann, Thanks for the notes on the final chapter - that does make sense, but it doesn't make it any less of a buzz-kill. I just finished "Through the Looking Glass" last night, and have to admit that I didn't enjoy it nearly so well as the first one. Where "Wonderland" was great fun, I found "Looking Glass" a bit - oh, I even hate to use the word - tedious. It was so easy to imagine the author, sitting on a picnic blanket, making up "Wonderland" as he went along, all for the amusement of some little Victorian girls. But with "Looking Glass," the author in my mind's eye, was sitting hunched over his desk, muttering to himself, "now how can I make this one seem so very much more clever than the last one? I know, Chess!"
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (61 of 65), Read 22 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jonathan Metts jonathan@planetgamecube.com Date: Sunday, February 09, 2003 09:42 PM Martin, I hope you won't mind me commenting and refuting a few of your points. "For example, the ancient man sitting on the gate is a parody of Wordsworth...The cartoon Alice omits things that the modern American child could hardly understand. Chess is an obvious case in point." Let's be fair here; these two aspects of the story are not found in the first Alice volume, which the movie is based on. Furthermore, I think you would find that a considerable portion of American children are at least familiar with the chessboard and pieces, if not the game's actual rules. Note that the first Harry Potter book contains a chess scene which was faithfully recreated for the movie, and American kids seemed to have no problem with it. Chess is at least more familiar here than croquet, which WAS depicted in the Disney version of Alice. "In croquet you have your own ball, and use it to hit other balls which go through the hoops...In the film the Queen scores by knocking a hedgehog straight through a row a hoops, which isn't how the game works at all." In the Disney version, Alice does indeed have her own ball, and it is quite uncooperative. Also, the hoops start out properly arrayed for a game of croquet, but when the Queen takes her turn, the cards (which are bending over on the ground to form the hoops) quickly jump into a straight line so that the Queen doesn't lose. When Alice plays, the hoops jump out of the way so that she doesn't get an extra turn. "In croquet you hold the mallet between your legs and clonk forwards." That may be the proper way, but when I played croquet at my grandparents' house as a child, my sister and I would often swing sideways if we needed extra power. (It was a big yard.) I would guess that many children play that way, not just in America. Jonathan Published daily at PlanetGameCube.com Currently reading: On the Road
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (62 of 65), Read 12 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Martin Porter martin@tartarus.org Date: Monday, February 10, 2003 04:32 AM Oh, I really wish I had not mentioned Disney. I think the point I was trying to make is that the omissions and changes Disney made to Alice were determined not by Disney identifying weaknesses and areas of possible improvement in the original books, but by what Disney expected the audiences would like. The changes are commercial rather than aesthetic. (And to me the cartoon has always seemed like an amalgam of both stories. So we get Tweedledum and Tweeedledee, the garden of live flowers, the lost-in-the-wood section with strange animals, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and Jabberwocky, given to the Cheshire Cat.) I was very surprised by Peggy Ramsay's comment. Martin Gardner rates Through the Looking Glass higher than the first part, and suggests that this is the usual opinion. I have always thought the two books are equal, and complementary. What do other people think?
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (63 of 65), Read 7 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Monday, February 10, 2003 10:57 AM I think the two books are equal, and complementary. Though complementary mostly in the sense that the first serving calls for another. pres "I am calm. I'm just upset."
Topic: Alice in Wonderland (64 of 65), Read 7 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jonathan Metts jonathan@planetgamecube.com Date: Monday, February 10, 2003 11:04 AM Martin, you got me as well! I didn't know that the flower garden and being lost in the woods were in the second book. But I don't think the Disney version ever mentions the Jabberwocky (it was probably deemed too scary). Jonathan Published daily at PlanetGameCube.com Currently reading: On the Road
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, February 10, 2003 11:13 AM I always loved them both. and despite having read it about a million and a half times, I always forget what happens in which book. Ruth
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 01:05 PM Hi ya all... I think someone earlier said they thought it was strange the idea of being afraid during reading AIW. Maybe fear isn't exactly the right feeling or word... It is the concept of feeling like what is real or predictable or stable in life/ the world...and AIW plays around with the idea of reality or logic and nonsense...but I never really felt that "nonsense" was supposed to be a bad thing...but rather that... dreams are every bit as engaging and insightful as being awake time. In some ways now looking back , I see AIW linked up with mystical stories, or Herman Hesse, or mythology. The sense of "what is real?" still affects me and throws me off today reading AIW as it did when I was a kid...versus "everything is real enough" when it comes to interpretation, transformative events, dreaming, emotions...AIW captures the idea of emotions and dreams and feelings are as engaging as intellectual or logical observations... Back to the notes on movie versions of Alice In Wonderland...there is a "version" we forgot to mention here so far and that is The Matrix. There are many references and parallels to AIW in this movie(which I caught on tv the other night and being reminded of this association...and despite having seen The Matrix at least a dozen times, found myself caught up in once more...hey Robert the sequel should be out any day now!!! Yippee!!!) anyway I am off to follow the white rabbit catch ya later fellow dreamers... Candy
From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Thursday, March 06, 2003 02:01 AM I got a late start on Alice and found the annotated edition slow reading. Being unable to totally divorce myself from my background in psychology I expected a lot of stuff that would lend itself to a psychological interpretation the more so as the author was described as a rather strange type. He was an academic in the field of mathematics but enjoyed the company of children (girls) so he could tell them stories that he hod invented. I put all these thoughts aside reading the book and was quite fascinated and puzzled by Alice's experiences. I may have mentioned before that I was totally unfamiliar with this book and never saw the movie versions. Just the same I was familiar with a number of common expressions that must have derive from Alice... As to the effect it has on me as an elderly adult - I find it a bit embarrassing to give myself away. To say the least, the book made me uncomfortable and at time found it unpleasant reading. The changes in size, the unexpected comments and actions by the humanized animals (or for that matter the queen of hearts) may have been responsible for these feelings. At the same time I enjoyed Alice's comments as she gave the impression of being a strong and common sense girl. I liked her but not the mysterious happenings nor some of the characters she met up with. While reading the book my mind was anticipating my own posting. What in the world would I have to say about the book that was so "different" and unusual. I could not imagine how I could make any definitive statement about it. I could not say I liked it or disliked it. There was no psychologizing which would help me out to cover up these feelings of discomfort. What I wanted to do was to know more about the author. I learned that he was a believer in the "psychic" and otherworldly experiences that were in fashion at this time period in England. That he wanted to marry Alice once she came of age seemed unusual but he was serious about it and discussed the matter with her mother who discouraged future contacts between the two. That he preferred girl children and that they became the major a major interesting his life was one more thing that struck mas as strange. Perhaps I should be more tolerant and adhere to what one of my old CC friend said about fine authors: They all have something wrong with them, they are not entirely normal. But Thank God we have them so they can entertain and stimulated those of us who lack the skill and imagination. In other words those of us who are "too normal". Ernie
From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Thursday, March 06, 2003 10:30 PM Ernie, I enjoyed your comments on Alice. The size changes and bizarre happenings didn't bother me personally, although I can understand why they would intrigue a professional psychologist. I think I was too caught up in the wonderful wordplay to pay too much attention to them. I'm taking a linguistics course right now and the text refers to Alice repeatedly for examples of "grammatical" nonsense. Ann
From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Friday, March 07, 2003 12:43 AM Ann, Good grief, I forgot to mention the word play. I was also intrigued by it since I have never read anything like this before. Well this book turned out to have many interesting and unique facets. Your class must be of special interest to you. Wish I had taken it in my school days. Ernie

 
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