Monday, March 08, 2010

Alice, Alice Everywhere

In case you haven’t had a surfeit of Alice in Wonderland, what with a wild-eyed Johnny Depp and the deliciously creepy Helena Bonham Carter staring at you from every bus stop and billboard in town, here are some other avenues to explore, both contemporary and not.


Alice I Have Been is a new novel exploring life beyond the rabbit hole, trying to piece together the history of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice. The author, Melanie Benjamin, has researched the sometimes sketchy facts of Alice’s and Charles Dodgson’s lives, and extrapolated a story that follows Alice from her childhood as Dodgson’s muse to the age of 80, when she looks back on a life burdened by a very public but fictional identity.

Frank Beddor has reimagined the Alice legend for teens, beginning with The Looking Glass Wars in 2006. In his books, Wonderland is real, and Alyss Heart is heir to the throne until evil Aunt Redd usurps it and chases her out of her kingdom into Victorian England, where she is adopted by the Liddells. Royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan searches the world for Alyss so she can return to Wonderland and reclaim her kingdom. The second and third books are Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy. Find these in Juvenile Fiction.


The Mystery of Lewis Carroll, by Jenny Woolf, analyzes contradictory aspects of Charles Dodgson’s character, exploring recently discovered sources to place him in context in Victorian England and to assess his relationship with Alice Liddell. (Find this at 828 C3191W WOOLF.)

Who Were They Really? is the story behind the story of some of the most well known and best loved fictional children’s book characters. Susan Beth Pfeffer discusses the inspiration behind Alice, Christopher Robin, the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and more. For children in grades 4-6. (Find this at J 813 PFEFF in the Children’s section.)


The first movie version of Alice in Wonderland was made in 1903—a silent film produced just eight years after the inception of cinema—and lasted 12 minutes. Only one copy of this film, severely damaged, survives, and it has been restored (to the best of their ability) by the British Film Institute. (It now runs about nine minutes.) The “special effects” of Alice growing larger and smaller as she eats and drinks her pills and potions are quite creative!

THE REAL THING:And of course, if you have never read Alice, the library has multiple versions in book and movie form for you to explore!

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