This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Edition™ includes a glossary and reader’s notes to help the modern reader contend with Lewis Carroll’s language, themes, and symbols. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, first published in 1865, is usually thought of as a simple fantasy tale for children, enjoyable for its fun and whimsy. Through the years, though, the book has grown to become one of the most popular novels in literature, both for children and adults. Deeper than mere fantasy, Alice is a text rich in symbolism, satire, and thematic levels of meaning. The rigid and often nonsensical society filled with odd situations, incomprehensible rules, and unforgettable characters that Carroll allows us to enter is one that readers will fondly remember for the rest of their lives.
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