Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Publication Date: April 29, 2003
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When Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was first published in 1865, it set critics awry: here was a book for children written for the pure pleasure of reading. It has since become one of the most famous children's books ever, translated into many different languages, performed as a play, and made into a popular Disney animated film.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a man of diverse interests - in mathematics, logic, photgraphy, art, theater, religion, medicine, and science. He was happiest in the company of children for whom he created puzzles, clever games, and charming letters.
As all Carroll admirers know, his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), became an immediate success and has since been translated into more than eighty languages. The equally popular sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, was published in 1872.
The Alice books are but one example of his wide ranging authorship. The Hunting of the Snark, a classic nonsense epic (1876) and Euclid and His Modern Rivals, a rare example of humorous work concerning mathematics, still entice and intrigue today's students. Sylvie and Bruno, published toward the end of his life contains startling ideas including an 1889 description of weightlessness.
The humor, sparkling wit and genius of this Victorian Englishman have lasted for more than a century. His books are among the most quoted works in the English language, and his influence (with that of his illustrator, Sir John Tenniel) can be seen everywhere, from the world of advertising to that of atomic physics.
Hugh Haughton is a senior lecturer at the University of York. He edited Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass for Penguin Classics.