'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' and 'Through The Looking Glass' were books of such imagination that they will probably always remain timeless.
Great as Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' books were, the drawings of John Tenniel were just as important. Beautifully striking black and white illustrations, they just multiplied the impact of Carroll's vivid stories.
There is an adult appeal to the stories, and they have an essence of Grimm about them. The trial in 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' is quite dark, if humorous at the same time, with the White Rabbit and Bill the Lizard playing a key role in proceedings.
The humour of 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' is superb, especially the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and there's so many wonderful moments which move and enchant in equal measure: the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, the Cheshire-Cat, and the giant Caterpillar and the tale of Father William.
'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' was originally published in 1865, and this was followed by 'Through The Looking Glass (with the often added subtitle: 'And What Alice Found There') in 1872.
Believed by many to being the superior 'Alice' book, 'Through The Looking Glass' is packed with fantastic characters such as Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Knight, the Red Queen, the White Queen, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Lion and the Unicorn, the Sheep, the Frog, talking flowers, a talking Gnat, the cat Dinah, her kittens Kitty and Snowdrop, the Mad Hatter again, and, of course, the fearsome Jabberwock, made famous in the famous nonsense poem, 'Jabberwocky'. It's not surprising that Monty Python's Terry Gilliam used the latter poem as a title for one of his films, as this book is really Pythonesque - though without the rude bits!
Amidst the mayhem this book has high brow references in a light-hearted way, with mentions of Anglo-Saxon history, portmanteau words, and the book opens with a poem, the characters listed as if from a play with chess characters, followed by a chessboard laid out with Alice's moves. It should be remembered that Lewis Carroll was a very bright individual.
Both books are really saying: "READ ME!"
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com
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Alice in Wonderland
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