The Authentic Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Manuscript, Handwritten & Illustrated By Lewis Carroll (1864)

On a sum­mer day in 1862, a tall, stam­mer­ing Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty math­e­mati­cian named Charles Lutwidge Dodg­son took a ship journey up the Riv­er Thames, accom­pa­nied by a col­league and the three younger daugh­ters of uni­ver­si­ty chan­cel­lor Hen­ry Lid­dell. To stave off tedi­um dur­ing the five-mile jour­ney, Dodg­son regaled the group with a sto­ry of a bored lady named Alice who finds adven­ture in probably the most unex­pect­ed locations. By the day’s finish, Liddell’s mid­dle daugh­ter, additionally named Alice, was so enthralled by this account that she implored the mathematics­e­mati­cian to write down the sto­ry down. Some three years lat­er, Dodg­son would pub­lish Alice’s Adven­tures in Gained­der­land below the nom de plume of Lewis Automobile­roll (the pen title is an Angli­cized ver­sion of “Automobile­o­lus Ludovi­cus,” the Latinized type of Charles Lud­widge). The peren­ni­al youngsters’s learn was imme­di­ate­ly pop­u­lar, rely­ing Oscar Wilde and Queen Vic­to­ria amongst its ardent followers, and has nev­er been out of print since its ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion in 1865.

Alice’s Adven­tures Below Floor, the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the ebook that Automobile­roll pre­despatched­ed to Alice Lid­dell in 1864, is current­ly housed within the British Library, which has gra­cious­ly made it freely avail­in a position on-line. You possibly can view it right here. The hand­writ­ten vol­ume contains 37 crisp ink illus­tra­tions, all per­son­al­ly drawn by Dodg­son. Dis­cern­ing Alice learn­ers will discover that these illus­tra­tions dif­fer from the icon­ic photos (and, to my eyes, very a lot supe­ri­or) cre­at­ed by famed Punch magazine­a­zine polit­i­cal automotive­toon­ist John Ten­niel.

Title and illus­tra­tions apart, the orig­i­nal man­u­script is con­sid­er­ably slim­mer than the ultimate ver­sion, con­tain­ing tough­ly 12,000 few­er phrases.

These want­ing to revis­it Alice’s adven­tures can achieve this on the British Library’s web site.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence author. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

See Sal­vador Dali’s Illus­tra­tions for the 1969 Edi­tion of Alice’s Adven­tures in Gained­der­land

Meryl Streep Shrooms Her Approach By Mod­ern Alice in Gained­der­land

The Actual Alice in Gained­der­land Cir­ca 1862, and Our Favourite Cul­ture Hyperlinks on the Net

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