Alice in Wonderland – Illustrated Bookshelf Tour
I love Alice, and the video linked above is an illustrated tour of my (ridiculously extensive) Alice in Wonderland collection. I’ve also prepared another of my illustrated bibliographies for Alice, which includes all of the books in the video as well as many more that I ran out of time to include in the tour. This list also gets regularly updated as new special versions are released.
If you’re interested in a bit of history, Reverend Charles Dodgson was a mathematics tutor at Christ Church, Oxford in 1856 when he first met Alice Liddell and her siblings, who were the children of the Dean of the college. Dodgson’s friendship with the children led him to create one of the most famous and enduring children’s stories, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The story, which began life as ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’, was first told to Alice and her sisters, Lorina and Edith, on a trip down the river on 4 July 1862. The children enjoyed the story so much that Alice asked Dodgson to write it down for her. Written in sepia-coloured ink and including 37 pen and ink illustrations (and a coloured title page) the manuscript was presented to Alice as an early Christmas present on 26 November 1864. (You can borrow or buy a facsimile copy of the manuscript – it is adorable – or you can see the original at the British Library if you happen to be in London.)
When Dodgson was encouraged by friends to publish his manuscript, he made some changes to the story, removing some of the family references included for the amusement of the Liddell children. Dodgson added two new chapters, ‘Pig and Pepper’ and ‘A Mad Tea-Party,’ and sought out an artist to create the illustrations. That artist was John Tenniel, and his illustrations are the iconic ones that most people think of when they imagine Alice (well, Tenniel or Disney I suppose!).
However, in the more than 150 years since Alice was first published, many more brilliant artists have been inspired by Wonderland and have put their own interpretation on the story, giving us blonde Alices and brunette ones, an Alice from Aboriginal Australia, surreal and otherworldly Alices, photographic Alices, movie versions, and many more.
► Once you’ve watched the video, jump on over to the Alice illustrated bibliography, which includes links and descriptions for all the most beautiful editions, so I hope you find the right book (or books!) for you there.