Troy's Reviews > Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
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Apr 24, 10

bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read from April 22 to 23, 2010

I re-read this because I just read Gilles Deleuze's Logic of Sense and he uses this book as a starting point for his philosophy of sense and events. The Alice books were some of my favorite books as a kid, and they're still amazing, but I don't love them as much as I used to, perhaps because everything is so weightless, and the writing style is very simplistic (and yes, I know it was written for kids, but I forgot about those qualities). But I need to say that the book is still a blast, and you can read either Alice's Adventures... or The Looking-Glass in one setting. Also, The Looking-Glass isn't as good as Alice's Adventures... because although it pushes the dream transitions (such as, I was in a store, but now I'm suddenly in a row boat) it's not as inventive or fun as the first.

Deleuze points out that the book is about the surface, which it is, and it has a lot to say about paradox, which it does. Alice is constantly losing her name, her identity, and her sense of being. The whole book can be read as about Becoming; becoming different sizes, getting older, experiencing time and space, changes, differences, interactions with other people and things; all of which change who we are in unexpected ways. But what Deleuze was pointing out is how language, and our sense of Being, is grounded in "sense." Both Alice books make sense even though they follow dream logic and are full of crazy and nonsensical things. What Deleuze is pointing out (I think) is that we create sense as we interact in the world, and he's also pointing out that paying attention to the paradoxes that inhere in language lets us see how exactly sense is created.

Anyway, I guess this review isn't really about the Alice books. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Deleuze book, so me reading the Alice books are more like reading an academic footnote to another academic text. But in this case, the book is great and fun to read.
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