Although there have been many illustrated editions of Alice, rarely has one been done in Lewis Carroll's own visual medium of photography. Abelardo Morell, quickly gaining recognition as one of the major American photographers of our time, is the ideal artist to take on this challenge. His early photographs of illustrated books are striking images of worlds within worlds that in their alterations of an illustration's space and shape have the distinct flavor and mystery of Wonderland. So too do his oversize camera obscura images--magical, cityscape projections that have received national attention--mirror Carroll's own passion for upside-down and multiple worlds. For Alice, Morell goes further, photo-graphing the Tenniel characters and then staging them in evocative three-dimensional settings. In his fascinating introduction, historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus offers a glimpse into the intriguing connection between Lewis Carroll's pioneering efforts as a photographer and his timeless contributions to the world of nonsense. Marcus shows in what ways Lewis Carroll and Abelardo Morell are kindred spirits in the fierce delight they take in the crazy patchwork quality of life and in their shared belief that nonsense makes the best sense of all.
Source of legend and lyric, reference and conjecture, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
is for most children pure pleasure in prose. While adults try to decipher Lewis Carroll's putative use of complex mathematical codes in the text, or debate his alleged use of opium, young readers simply dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, pursuing "The dream-child moving through a land / Of wonders wild and new." There they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter, among a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical, and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser," seemingly without moral or sense.
For more than 130 years, children have reveled in the delightfully non-moralistic, non-educational virtues of this classic. In fact, at every turn, Alice's new companions scoff at her traditional education. The Mock Turtle, for example, remarks that he took the "regular course" in school: Reeling, Writhing, and branches of Arithmetic-Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. Carroll believed John Tenniel's illustrations were as important as his text. Naturally, Carroll's instincts were good; the masterful drawings are inextricably tied to the well-loved story. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter