Monday, November 16

Finding Alice’s ‘Wonderland’ in Oxford


This is the article which we discussed on Saturday. You remembered the natural history museum where we saw the dodo. I'm not sure if you remember the Christ church college where we went 2 years back when dada was being interviewed or the dining room which is mentioned here. 

What a lovely backstory about Alice. She was real! And she had kids. It brings that story alive. I think we need to read the book again and also maybe go see the movie again. I think they've released a sequel again. I love the book and how the imagination runs riot there. 

You can ask dada when he's home today about the  colleges if you want :)

Hope you feel better today choti. Gives you a big hug and cuddle :)



Finding Alice’s ‘Wonderland’ in Oxford
(via Instapaper)

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Alice was Alice Liddell, the 10-year-old daughter of Henry George Liddell, the dean of Christ Church, the largest college of Oxford University. Mr. Dodgson was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church, a recently ordained deacon in the Church of England, brilliant logician and consummate storyteller.

He acceded to her request, and over the next few months recorded the story in a manuscript he eventually illustrated and gave to Alice as a Christmas gift in 1864.

Encouraged by friends, including the fantasy writer George MacDonald, he expanded the book, commissioned illustrations by the political cartoonist John Tenniel, and had it published at his own expense under the name Lewis Carroll. In the 150 years since the publication of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” it has influenced creations as varied as “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce, illustrations by Salvador Dalí and a mock turtle soup from the British chef Heston Blumenthal. The book and its author were remarkable: the one for its utter departure from moralistic children’s stories into a world of subversive nonsense, the other for talents as diverse as mathematics and logic, photography and poetry and an ability, nurtured in his childhood home of 11 siblings, to entertain and connect with children.

Fantastic as it was, “Wonderland” was rooted in the place Dodgson lived and worked: the city and environs of Oxford with its ancient university, its “dreaming spires” and its surrounding countryside. Oxford is a city teeming with tourists and traffic, whose shop windows, in the sesquicentennial year of “Wonderland,” overflow with Alice merchandise; but if one listens closely, if one ducks through stone arches, opens creaky oaken doors, and descends to quiet riverside paths, one can still find the Oxford of Charles Dodgson and Alice.

I set out to discover that place, beginning with the college of Christ Church, where Dodgson lived from 1851 until his death in 1898 at age 65 and Alice lived from the time she was 3 until her marriage in 1880.

Visitors enter the college through the Meadows Buildings, erected by Dean Liddell in 1862. Dodgson’s first rooms in the college were in the cloisters, and here I saw the great Norman doorway to the chapter house — now called the Queen Alice door after a similar doorway in Tenniel’s illustration of Queen Alice in “Through the Looking-Glass.”

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