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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and What the Tortoise Said to Achilles and Other Riddles

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and What the Tortoise Said to Achilles and Other Riddles

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and What the Tortoise Said to Achilles and Other Riddles

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Feb 29, 2012


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) is a novel that tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The tale is filled with allusions to Dodgson's friends. The tale plays with logic in ways that have given the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, mainly in the fantasy genre. The second part of this books contains Lewis Carroll's short dialogue "What the Tortoise Said to Achilles" (1895) playfully questions the principles of logic. Problems arise and branch out from Zeno's paradox that begins with Achilles attempting to pass the tortoise in the race, but ultimately failing to do so through the tortoise's clever arguments. This is an entertaining tale of the ultimate race that cannot be completed using the foundations of logic.
Feb 29, 2012

Über den Autor

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, in 1871. Considered a master of the genre of literary nonsense, he is renowned for his ingenious wordplay and sense of logic, and his highly original vision.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and What the Tortoise Said to Achilles and Other Riddles - Lewis Carroll


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

How This Book Came to Be


Chapter I: Down The Rabbit-Hole

Chapter II: The Pool Of Tears

Chapter III: A Caucus-Race And A Long Tale

Chapter IV: The Rabbit Sends In A Little Bill

Chapter V: Advice From A Caterpillar

Chapter VI: Pig And Pepper

Chapter VII: A Mad Tea-Party

Chapter VIII: The Queen’s Croquet-Ground

Chapter IX: The Mock Turtle’s Story

Chapter X: The Lobster Quadrille

Chapter XI: Who Stole The Tarts?

Chapter XII: Alice’s Evidence

How This Book Came to Be

There were three little girls in the boat - three little girls and a mathematical lecturer. But the three little girls were not studying fractions. They were listening to the fascinating chronicle of a little girl called Alice and her remarkable adventures under ground.

One of the little girls in the boat was herself an Alice - Alice Pleasance Liddell. Beside her sat her sisters, Lorina and Edith Liddel. Their father taught Greek - an even more formidable subject than mathematics. Conjoined with that of still another teacher named Scott, the name of Liddell is likely to enjoy as permanent a repute in Greek lexicography as those of Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster will in English.

The mathematical lecturer was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The scene was the river Cherwell, not far from Oxford. The date was July 4, 1862. Mr. Dodgson noted it carefully in his diary.

Mr. Dodgson, who was actually the Reverend Mr. Dodgson but did not work at it, liked his little story so well that he later wrote it down, supplying some crude illustrations for it - thirty-seven of them, to be exact. At the bottom of the last page of text he pasted a photograph of Alice Liddell - a photograph which he himself had taken, for he was one of the earliest amateurs of the art. He gave the manuscript to Alice.

Sixty-six years later, in 1928, when Alice Liddell had become the widow of Reginald Hargreaves and the mother of three sons of whom two had fallen in the World War, she sold the manuscript at auction in London for 15,400 pounds. Next morning the event was front-page news in New York, and not wholly for the reason that the purchaser was an American, Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach of Philadelphia. Subsequently the manuscript became the property of Eldridge R. Johnson of Camden, New Jersey, who permitted its exhibition throughout the United States. Millions of Americans, of all ages and conditions, gazed at it enthralled, moved in a fashion in which a Gutenberg Bible or a Declaration of Independence could not have moved them.

In 1935 Mrs. Hargreaves herself came to America to take part in the centennial celebration of the birth of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. For a few days she was the house guest of Morris L. Parrish of Pine Valley, New Jersey, whose superb collection of the writings of Dodgson’s alter ego, Lewis Carroll, is only one of the marvels of a home full of books out of which have come many enduring contributions to the bibliography of nineteenth-century English literature. Some months later I was a guest of Mr. Parrish and enjoyed the high privilege of occupying the room that had been assigned to Mrs. Hargreaves during her visit. The gentle little lady left the world of men before the horror of 1939 burst upon it.

Mr. Dodgson did not dismiss his little story from his mind when he gave the manuscript to Alice Liddell. He expanded the idea into a longer story, and regarding the title of the expanded version he was for a time highly uncertain. On June 6, 1864, he wrote his friend Tom Taylor (Mr. Dodgson took a picture of him, too, and caught on his sensitized plate one of the most dashing pair of moustachios ever photographed), and described the debate he was having with himself. He listed an array of titles - listed them, too, in precisely the manner in which a mathematical lecturer would list them: Alice’s Adventures Under Ground Alice’s Golden House Alice Among the) Elves ) Goblins (Hour) Alice’s (Doings) in (Elf-Land (Adventures) (Wonderland

Of all these, he wrote Taylor, I prefer ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.?(tm)

It was on Taylor’s advice that the author sought out John Tenniel for his illustrator. Tenniel, Dodgson’s senior by fifteen years, had begun his half-century affiliation with Punch in 1850. Knighthood and his great fame as a cartoonist lay ahead, but already Tenniel was well known as humorist and illustrator and had embellished a great variety of books, sometimes singly, sometimes in collaboration with notable artists of his day whose fame has since acquired an archaic pallor alongside Sir John’s effulgent permanence. An agreement between Tenniel and Dodgson was consummated on April 5, 1864.

The collaboration thus effected was one of the most significant and durable in literary history. Many hands have attempted to illustrate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland since the 1860’s and have produced in the main competent, striking, and beautiful drawings - until their work has been placed alongside Tenniel’s. Tenniel illustrated Alice once and forever, just as he did Through the Looking-Glass six years later.

The author was a moderately exacting taskmaster. He knew what he wanted and how he wanted it done. Moreover Tenniel had the unprofessional Under Ground drawings to guide him. Of the forty-two illustrations which he made for Alice, twenty translated into brilliant effectiveness the author’s primitive conceptions as delineated in the Under Ground manuscript, which Alice Liddell lent for the occasion.

Whether Tenniel used a model for his Alice is a question that has not been resolved with such clarity as one might desire. The preponderance of evidence is that he did. Certainly it was not Alice Liddell. Most authentic claimant to the honor was little Mary Ellen Badcock. But Dodgson some years later wrote: Mr. Tenniel is the only artist who has drawn for me who resolutely refused to use a model, and declared he no more needed one than I should need a multiplication-table to work a mathematical problem.

If Tenniel said that, the less artist and less logician he. This is not to question that he did say it, but one may well question whether he intended it to apply to everything he did. It is certain, for instance, that he used a model for the Duchess - a portrait by the Flemish painter Quentin Metsys, executed a century and a half after her death, of that unlovely Duchess of Carinthia and Tyrol (1318-1369) who became the heroine of Lion Feuchtwanger’s The Ugly Duchess.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appeared early in July, 1865 - probably on the 4th, exactly three years after the recital on the river. The title-page announced the work as by Lewis Carroll, a Latinized-Anglicized transmogrification and transposition of Charles Lutwidge. From Charles to Carolus to Carroll was sound procedure, but from Lutwidge to Ludovicus to Louis to Lewis was at best a devious etymology. Not that it mattered, or ever will.

The edition comprised two thousand copies, and exemplars of it would to-day be rare enough, in all conscience, even had the edition gone out into the world in that quantity, to be read to tatters by young people who took no thought for to-morrow’s book auctions, or for older (though still unborn) people like Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Parrish. But only forty-eight copies of the original 1865 edition made their way into public circulation in the form in which they were created. As many of these forty-eight as could be traced were called back almost immediately because author and artist were dissatisfied with the reproductions of the illustrations.

Responsibility for this action is usually laid at Lewis Carroll’s door. The evidence is a statement in the official biography by his nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, who does not support it with documentary proof. It seems more likely that Tenniel was the louder protestant. And to back this assumption is an undated letter from Tenniel to Edward Dalziel in the Amory Collection at Harvard in which the illustrator declares: Mr. Dodgson’s book came out months ago, but I protested so strongly against the disgraceful printing that he cancelled the edition.

But all was not to be lost. The publishers, Macmillan and Co., shipped 1952 copies of the sheets plus a thousand title-pages for binding - in to the New York house of D. Appleton and Co. Not good enough for home consumption, but good enough for the Yankees? The question inevitably poses itself, though it is probably unjust. Any one who to-day examines a copy of the 1865 Alice or its American twin - a sort of Siamese twin, since the sheets are identical - and sets it alongside a copy of the London edition of 1866 is likely to find little to choose between them. The publishers may have decided, probably did decide, that the overfussiness of the author and the illustrator of a child’s book should not be allowed to stand in the way of salvaging the edition. It is entirely likely that the situation was explained to the Appletons, and that the copies crossed the ocean at a bargain, with the consignees knowing exactly what they were getting and why. Whether author or illustrator was made aware of the action taken is not known. It would seem, at this late date, as if it would have been difficult to keep the fact from them.

The new edition was published November 14, 1865, although the title-page was dated 1866. Edition after edition was called for, and has been called for ever since. French and German translations were available in 1869, and an Italian three years later. The title of the

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