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The Making of Lewis Carroll's Alice and the Invention of Wonderland

"We're all mad here."

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and ‘Through the Looking-Glass‘ are two of the most famous, translated and quoted books in the world. But how did a casual tale told by Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), an eccentric Oxford mathematician, to Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, grow into such a phenomenon? Peter Hunt cuts away the psychological speculation that has grown up around the ‘Alice’ books and traces the sources of their multi-layered in-jokes and political, literary and philosophical satire.

He first places the books in the history of children’s literature – how they relate to the other giants of the period, such as Charles Kingsley – and explores the local and personal references that the real Alice would have understood. Equally fascinating is the rich texture of fragments of everything from the ‘sensation’ novel to Darwinian theory – not to mention Dodgson’s personal feelings – that he wove into the books as they developed.


This book is suitable for young adults over 14 years old.

Illustrated with manuscripts, portraits, Sir John Tenniel’s original line drawings for the first editions, and contemporary photographs, this is an innovative look at two remarkable stories. The Making of Lewis Carroll’s Alice and the Invention of Wonderland takes us on a guided tour from the treacle wells of Victorian Oxford through an astonishing world of politics, philosophy, humor, and nightmare.

Peter Hunt is professor emeritus of English and children’s literature at Cardiff University. He is the author of The Making of “The Wind in the Willows.”

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