Lewis Carroll’s manuscript for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Who would have been able to predict that a tale invented in a little boat on the Thames, on a warm summer’s day in the nineteenth century, would become such a worldwide success ? From the premiere of Walt Disney’s animation in 1951 to Tim Burton’ s feature film in 2010, and with innumerable adaptations in between, it looks as if the curious little girl is destined to run endlessly after the White Rabbit.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, was born in Daresbury, England, in 1832. He began writing at a young age, taking as a pseudonym the name Lewis Carroll. On the 4th of July, 1862, he took a boat trip down the river with the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church – Lorina, Alice and Edith Liddell. During the outing, he began to weave the adventures of a child who falls through a rabbit’s burrow into an enchanted world at once astonishing and frightening, where mice swim as caterpillars deliver wisdom, where the Gryphon dances the Lobster Quadrille with the Mock Turtle and where white roses must be painted red.
The “real” Alice, who was ten years old at the time, was delighted with the tale and begged Carroll to write it down for her with illustrations. Eager to please, he laboured over the task, and in November 1864 eventually presented the young Alice with a notebook entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, accompanied by 37 drawings.
The tale became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when Macmillan published it in 1865 with the addition of two new chapters, further characters, extended passages, and illustrations by John Tenniel. The public was immediately seduced by its originality and poetry. In 1871, Lewis Carroll penned a sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.
Because of financial difficulties, the “real” Alice was forced to sell the precious original manuscript at Sotheby’s some years later. An American collector purchased it for the sum of £15,400. In 1948, this original document was returned to the British Library as thanks to the country for its role during the Second World War.
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.
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