Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
numbered from 1 to 1,000
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, manuscript by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll, known also by his real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was both a professor of logic at Christ Church college, Oxford, an Anglican deacon and author of mathematical works on algebra. Yet it was in writing the extraordinary Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that he finally let his vivid imagination run wild. Colourful characters unfold from Carroll’s pen on pages filled with his neat handwriting, which is conventional in comparison to the whimsical adventure he weaves: a talking mouse, a smoking caterpillar, a raging queen of hearts and an army of playing cards. At the centre of the tale is a little girl who grows and shrinks with every swallow or wish she makes, until she is no longer surprised to find herself playing croquet with a group of flamingos. The manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, originally titled Alice's Adventures Under Ground, marks the first exploration of both an extraordinary heroine and of a masterly writer.
An unforgettable work of literature, written on the water
On 4 July 1862, a peaceful boating scene on the Isis river - a tributary of the Thames in north-west London - was to become the genesis of one of the most legendary novels in the history of literature. Aged barely thirty, Lewis Carroll was on the oars, rowing a teaching colleague and three little girls excited to be going for a sunny picnic. One of the three sisters was Alice, who would serve as the model for the best-selling tale three years later in 1865.
Alice, Edith and Lorina were the daughters of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church college (University of Oxford), a celebrated Greek scholar and a friend and superior of Lewis Carroll. To amuse them, Carroll made up a story about a vivacious and curious child who abandons her dull and unimaginative lessons to chase a white rabbit. Alice proceeds to fall into a bottomless rabbit-hole leading to a mysterious realm filled with peculiar and hitherto unseen creatures. This was the Under Ground, which would later become wonderland.
An illustrated manuscript gifted to the real Alice
Alice was enchanted by the heroine of the tale who bore her name, and she and her sisters were blown away by the reach of Lewis Carroll’s imagination. Carroll himself was born into a family of eleven children and raised by an Anglican pastor. Deaf in one ear and suffering from a stutter, an austere manner concealed both his shyness and enormous creativity. From his teenage years he contributed to literary magazines, sharpening his particular interest in portmanteau words and nonsense. An equally talented director, he composed plays and once had a puppet theatre built by the carpenter in his family village.
After listening to Alice’s adventures, the youngest Liddell begged her friend to write it down and illustrate it. He wrote it out in a notebook embellished with 38 childlike drawings. His elegant handwriting relates the twists and turns of the plot, offering a portal through which children can escape. The drawings were seemingly done afterwards, and he then found a place for them within the pages. There were four chapters in total, written under the name Lewis Carroll.
The first page of the manuscript is illustrated with a delicate floral box containing the title, while on the second page is written the following: “A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer Day.” Carroll gave it to Alice in November 1864.
A remarkable bestseller
London-based publisher Macmillan & Co released the book in 1865 under the title Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with two extra chapters featuring scenes with the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Although Carroll’s drawings in the manuscript are exquisite, Macmillan wanted another artist to complete the illustration. Lewis Carroll settled on Sir John Tenniel, who took inspiration from the author’s sketches. The publication was an immediate success, so much so that the author continued Alice’s adventures with Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There in 1872, followed by The Hunting of the Snark in 1876.
Over 150 years later, Carroll’s work is still acclaimed by audiences young and old. The story has been adapted hundreds of times in film, theatre, television and cartoons. In 1998, a copy of the first printed edition sold for a record $1.5 million. There are only about twenty copies of the first 1865 edition left on the rare book market.
A document kept at the British Library
Due to financial difficulties, the adult Alice was forced to sell her treasured manuscript at Sotheby’s. An American collector purchased it for £15,400. However, a group of benefactors donated the manuscript to the British Museum in 1948, as a token of gratitude for Britain's role in World War II.A limited, large format, luxury edition
Hand-numbered from 1 to 1.000, each book is presented in a 14x10 inch slipcase, bound, and sewn using only the finest materials. The slipcase and cover ornamentations are gilt embossed, and the pages are printed using vegetal ink on environmentally friendly paper.
Numbered from 1 to 1,000, this carmine red edition is presented in a large format handmade slipcase.
Printed with vegetal ink on eco-friendly paper, each book is bound and sewn using only the finest materials.
Thanks to a new reproduction of the only full draft of Mrs. Dalloway, handwritten in three notebooks and initially titled “The Hours,” we now know that the story she completed — about a day in the life of a London housewife planning a dinner party — was a far cry from the one she’d set out to write (...)
Eric Karl Anderson (@lonesomereader) shares an enlightening
video about Mrs. Dalloway. Thank you!
The original hand-written manuscript of Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is to be published for the first time, revealing numerous changes the author, pictured, made to one of her most famous works. (...)
Mrs Dalloway by Parisian publisher SP Books brings together Virginia Woolf's three handwritten notebooks in which she wrote the classic text in one luxury hand-bound edition. The volume represents a return to 'slow reading' in a digital age, offering an intimate insight into the wnter's mind and thought-process, and giving new life to a well-loved classic (...)
Virginia Woolf’s handwritten notebooks in which she penned Mrs Dalloway are being published as a facsimile manuscript for the first time by Parisian press SP Books. Her draft for the classic novel was written between June 1923 and October 1924. It reveals substantial editing, re-writing and corrections, including her original intention to have Mrs Dalloway commit suicide. (...)
The draft, which was penned in purple ink in three notebooks between June 1923 and October 1924, shows she changed the title from the original name The Hours and also altered the first sentence to eventually read: “Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”
It shows the pencil margin she drew on each page of the notebooks, in which she recorded the date, word count and personal memos and notes for her essays. (...)
The manuscript shows the pencil margin she drew on each page of the notebooks, in which she recorded the date, word count and personal memos and notes for her essays. (...)
The volume represents a return to ‘slow reading’ in a digital age, offering an intimate insight into the writer’s mind and thought-process, and giving new life to a well loved classic. (...)
A new edition of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway released in handwritten manuscript form for the first time by independent Parisian publishers SP Books. (...)
SP Books is publishing this month the first and only full-length draft of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, bringing together a facsimile manuscript of the three notebooks in which she drafted, edited, re-wrote and corrected the novel. (...)
SP Books, a Parisian publishing house specialising in the publication of classic manuscripts, has announced that it will publish the original handwritten manuscript of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. (...)