Alice’s Influence over 150 Years

by on July 2nd, 2015

It’s the 150th anniversary of the publication of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and we’re marking the occasion with a display of books and movies influenced by the book. You’ll find titles like “Alice in Zombieland” and “Alice in Quantumland” as well as graphic novels featuring characters from Wonderland, movies with allusions to Alice, music CDs, and non-fiction books about the real Alice Liddell.

aliceNot all of the nonsense in the story is baseless, as I learned after I bought a 1966 copy of “The Annotated Alice” in a used bookstore in Hay-on-Wye (a small town in Wales famous for its dozens of bookshops, claiming the highest ratio of books per person on earth).

For years, I’ve enjoyed pretending that the “For copyright reasons, this edition is not for sale in the U.S.A.” note on the back cover meant that I was the only American with access to the excellent footnotes explaining all the math jokes, cultural allusions, and more. Well, of course not. Preparing for this display, I learned that a new edition was widely published in the year 2000 as “The Annotated Alice: the definitive edition,” and I invite you to out-footnote me with one of ICPL’s two copies. More speculations about the “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” riddle have accrued in between editions — for example, “Because a writing-desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens” — even though I know from the same footnote that Carroll intended it as a riddle with “no answer at all.”

Revisit an old favorite in a new form or have a crack at reading the book for the first time during this special anniversary year.

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