Aug 01, 11
I have not read any biographies about Lewis Carroll but I knew a little about him, and since reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I’ve done a bit of Googling about him!
According to Wikipedia (so it must be true! :p ) Alice is not based on Carroll’s young friend Alice Liddell as popularly believed, although this is hard to believe with the acrostic poem at the very end of the book which spells out her full name!
I first read this book over 30 years ago (my goodness, that’s a scary thought!) and had little recollection of the story. I certainly couldn’t remember the beginning of but I knew the chapters about Tweedledum and Tweedledee, The Lion and the Unicorn and Humpty Dumpty. Of course, I remember a great many of the wonderful poems, especially Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter. Most of Carroll’s poems in these two books are parodies of other works.
This is a wonderful example of literary nonsense popularised in the 19th century by people like Carroll (and also Edward Lear with his nonsense poems) it has a slightly darker feel to it than the earlier Alice book. It is said that Carroll got the idea for the chess background whilst looking out over the fields that he could see from his house. I really enjoyed it!