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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, cover 1865.jpg
Cover of the original edition (1865)
Author Lewis Carroll
Illustrator John Tenniel
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's fiction
Publisher Macmillan
Publication date
26 November 1865
Followed by Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 fantasy novel written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.[1] It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre.[1][2] Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential[2] in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.


 Page from the original manuscript copy of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, 1864
Page from the original manuscript copy of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, 1864

Alice was published in 1865, three years after Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed a boat up the Isis on 4 July 1862[3] (this popular date of the "golden afternoon"[4] might be a confusion or even another Alice-tale, for that particular day was cool, cloudy, and rainy[5]) with the three young daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13, born 1849, "Prima" in the book's prefatory verse); Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10, born 1852, "Secunda" in the prefatory verse); Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8, born 1853, "Tertia" in the prefatory verse).[6]

The journey began at Folly Bridge in Oxford and ended 3 miles (5 km) north-west in the village of Godstow. During the trip, Dodgson told the girls a story that featured a bored little girl named Alice who goes looking for an adventure. The girls loved it, and Alice Liddell asked Dodgson to write it down for her. He began writing the manuscript of the story the next day, although that earliest version no longer exists. The girls and Dodgson took another boat trip a month later when he elaborated the plot to the story of Alice, and in November he began working on the manuscript in earnest.[7]

To add the finishing touches, he researched natural history for the animals presented in the book, and then had the book examined by other children—particularly the children of George MacDonald. It was also MacDonald, and Henry Kingsley, who encouraged him to publish the story.[8] Carroll added his own illustrations but approached John Tenniel to illustrate the book for publication, telling him that the story had been well liked by children.[7]

On 26 November 1864, he gave Alice the handwritten manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, with illustrations by Dodgson himself, dedicating it as "A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer's Day".[9] Some, including Martin Gardner, speculate that there was an earlier version that was destroyed later by Dodgson when he wrote a more elaborate copy by hand.[10]

But before Alice received her copy, Dodgson was already preparing it for publication and expanding the 15,500-word original to 27,500 words,[11] most notably adding the episodes about the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Tea-Party.


Chapter One – Down the Rabbit-Hole: Alice is feeling bored and drowsy while sitting on the riverbank with her older sister, who is reading a book with no pictures or conversations. She then notices a White Rabbit wearing a waistcoat and pocket watch, talking to itself as it runs past. She follows it down a rabbit hole, but suddenly falls a long way to a curious hall with many locked doors of all sizes. She finds a small key to a door too small for her to fit through, but through it she sees an attractive garden. She then discovers a bottle on a table labelled "DRINK ME", the contents of which cause her to shrink too small to reach the key, which she has left on the table. She eats a cake with "EAT ME" written on it in currants as the chapter closes.

Chapter Two – The Pool of Tears: Chapter Two opens with Alice growing to such a tremendous size that her head hits the ceiling. Alice is unhappy and, as she cries, her tears flood the hallway. After shrinking down again due to a fan she had picked up, Alice swims through her own tears and meets a Mouse, who is swimming as well. She tries to make small talk with him in elementary French (thinking he may be a French mouse) but her opening gambit "Où est ma chatte?" ("Where is my cat?") offends the mouse and he tries to escape her.

Chapter Three – The Caucus Race and a Long Tale: The sea of tears becomes crowded with other animals and birds that have been swept away by the rising waters. Alice and the other animals convene on the bank and the question among them is how to get dry again. The Mouse gives them a very dry lecture on William the Conqueror. A Dodo decides that the best thing to dry them off would be a Caucus-Race, which consists of everyone running in a circle with no clear winner. Alice eventually frightens all the animals away, unwittingly, by talking about her (moderately ferocious) cat.

Chapter Four – The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill: The White Rabbit appears again in search of the Duchess's gloves and fan. Mistaking her for his maidservant, Mary Ann, he orders Alice to go into the house and retrieve them, but once she gets inside she starts growing. The horrified Rabbit orders his gardener, Bill the Lizard, to climb on the roof and go down the chimney. Outside, Alice hears the voices of animals that have gathered to gawk at her giant arm. The crowd hurls pebbles at her, which turn into little cakes. Alice eats them, and they make her smaller again. Upon leaving the house, she comes upon a puppy, with whom she plays for a while before finding a mushroom with a hookah-smoking blue Caterpillar.

Chapter Five – Advice from a Caterpillar: The Caterpillar questions Alice and she admits to her current identity crisis, compounded by her inability to remember a poem. Before crawling away, the caterpillar tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller and the other side will make her shorter. She breaks off two pieces from the mushroom. One side makes her shrink smaller than ever, while another causes her neck to grow high into the trees, where a pigeon mistakes her for a serpent. With some effort, Alice brings herself back to her normal height. She stumbles upon a small estate and uses the mushroom to reach a more appropriate height.

Chapter Six – Pig and Pepper: A Fish-Footman has an invitation for the Duchess of the house, which he delivers to a Frog-Footman. Alice observes this transaction and, after a perplexing conversation with the frog, lets herself into the house. The Duchess's Cook is throwing dishes and making a soup that has too much pepper, which causes Alice, the Duchess, and her baby (but not the cook or grinning Cheshire Cat) to sneeze violently. Alice is given the baby by the Duchess and to her surprise, the baby turns into a pig. The Cheshire Cat appears in a tree, directing her to the March Hare's house. He disappears, but his grin remains behind to float on its own in the air, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.

Chapter Seven – A Mad Tea-Party: Alice becomes a guest at a "mad" tea party along with the March Hare, the Hatter, and a very tired Dormouse who falls asleep frequently, only to be violently woken up moments later by the March Hare and the Hatter. The characters give Alice many riddles and stories, including the famous "Why is a raven like a writing desk?". The Hatter reveals that they have tea all day because Time has punished him by eternally standing still at 6 pm (tea time). Alice becomes insulted and tired of being bombarded with riddles and she leaves, claiming that it was the stupidest tea party that she had ever been to. She makes her way back to the hallway and, using the pieces of mushroom, manages to get the key, unlock the door and enter the garden.

 Alice trying to play croquet with a Flamingo.
Alice trying to play croquet with a Flamingo.

Chapter Eight – The Queen's Croquet-Ground: Alice comes upon three living playing cards painting the white roses on a rose tree red because The Queen of Hearts hates white roses. A procession of more cards, kings and queens and even the White Rabbit enters the garden. Alice then meets the King and Queen. The Queen, a figure difficult to please, introduces her trademark phrase "Off with her head!", which she utters at the slightest dissatisfaction with a subject. Alice is invited (or some might say ordered) to play a game of croquet with the Queen and the rest of her subjects, but the game quickly descends into chaos. Live flamingos are used as mallets and hedgehogs as balls, and Alice once again meets the Cheshire Cat. The Queen of Hearts then orders the Cat to be beheaded, only to have her executioner complain that this is impossible since the head is all that can be seen of him. Because the cat belongs to the Duchess, the Queen is prompted to release the Duchess from prison to resolve the matter.

Chapter Nine – The Mock Turtle's Story: The Duchess is brought to the croquet ground at Alice's request. She ruminates on finding morals in everything around her. The Queen of Hearts dismisses her with the threat of execution and she introduces Alice to the Gryphon, who takes her to the Mock Turtle. The Mock Turtle is very sad, even though he has no sorrow. He tries to tell his story about how he used to be a real turtle in school, which the Gryphon interrupts so that they can play a game.

Chapter Ten – Lobster Quadrille: The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon dance to the Lobster Quadrille, while Alice recites (rather incorrectly) "'Tis the Voice of the Lobster". The Mock Turtle sings them "Beautiful Soup" during which the Gryphon drags Alice away for an impending trial.

Chapter Eleven – Who Stole the Tarts?: Alice attends a trial in which the Knave of Hearts is accused of stealing the Queen's tarts. The jury is composed of various animals, including Bill the Lizard; the White Rabbit is the court's trumpeter; and the judge is the King of Hearts. During the proceedings, Alice finds that she is steadily growing larger. The dormouse scolds Alice and tells her she has no right to grow at such a rapid pace and take up all the air. Alice scoffs and calls the dormouse's accusation ridiculous because everyone grows and she cannot help it. Meanwhile, witnesses at the trial include the Hatter, who displeases and frustrates the King through his indirect answers to the questioning, and the Duchess's cook.

Chapter Twelve – Alice's Evidence: Alice is then called up as a witness. She accidentally knocks over the jury box with the animals inside, and the King orders the animals to be placed back into their seats before the trial continues. The King and Queen order Alice to be gone, citing Rule 42 ("All persons more than a mile high must leave the court"), but Alice disputes their judgement and refuses to leave. She argues with the King and Queen of Hearts over the ridiculous proceedings, eventually refusing to hold her tongue. The Queen shouts her familiar "Off with her head!" but Alice is unafraid, calling them out as just a pack of cards, just as they start to swarm over her. Alice's sister wakes her up from a dream, brushing what turns out to be some leaves, and not a shower of playing cards, from Alice's face. Alice leaves her sister on the bank to imagine all the curious happenings for herself.


Lists of characters

The following is a list of main characters in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Character allusions

 Mad tea party. Theophilus Carter has been suggested as a model for the Hatter. Illustration by Charles Robinson
Mad tea party. Theophilus Carter has been suggested as a model for the Hatter. Illustration by Charles Robinson

In The Annotated Alice, Martin Gardner provides background information for the characters. The members of the boating party that first heard Carroll's tale show up in Chapter 3 ("A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale"):[12]

  • Alice Liddell (portrayed as the character Alice) herself is there
  • Carroll is caricatured as the Dodo (Dodgson stuttered when he spoke, and common lore suggests that he sometimes pronounced his last name as Dodo-Dodgson)
  • The Duck refers to Canon Duckworth
  • The Lory and Eaglet refer to Alice Liddell's sisters Lorina and Edith.
  • Bill the Lizard may be a play on the name of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.[13] One of Tenniel's illustrations in Through the Looking-Glass — the 1871 sequel to Alice — depicts the character referred to as the "Man in White Paper" (whom Alice meets as a fellow passenger riding on the train with her) as a caricature of Disraeli, wearing a paper hat.[14]
  • The illustrations of the Lion and the Unicorn (also in Looking-Glass) bear a striking resemblance to Tenniel's Punch illustrations of Gladstone and Disraeli.[15]
  • It has been suggested by some writers that The Hatter is a reference to Theophilus Carter, a furniture dealer known in Oxford. Tenniel apparently drew the Hatter to resemble Carter, on a suggestion of Carroll's.[16] However, it is unlikely that Carter was the model for The Hatter, and there is no evidence that Carroll ever invited Tenniel to Oxford for any purpose.[17]
  • The Dormouse tells a story about three little sisters named Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie. These are the Liddell sisters: Elsie is L.C. (Lorina Charlotte), Tillie is Edith (her family nickname is Matilda), and Lacie is an anagram of Alice.[18]
  • The Mock Turtle speaks of a drawling-master, "an old conger eel", who came once a week to teach "Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils". This is a reference to art critic John Ruskin, who came once a week to the Liddell house to teach the children drawing, sketching, and painting in oils. (The children did, in fact, learn well; Alice Liddell, for one, produced a number of skillful watercolours.)[19]

Poems and songs

Carroll wrote multiple poems and songs for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, including:

Writing style and themes


Some of the book's adventures may have been based on or influenced by people, situations, and buildings in Oxford and at Christ Church. For example, the "Rabbit Hole" might have been inspired by the actual stairs in the back of the main hall in Christ Church. A carving of a griffon and rabbit may have provided inspiration for the tale, as seen in Ripon Cathedral, where Carroll's father was a canon.[21]

Carroll was a mathematician at Christ Church, and it has been suggested[22][23] that there are many references and mathematical concepts in both this story and Through the Looking-Glass; examples include:

  • In chapter 1, "Down the Rabbit-Hole", in the midst of shrinking, Alice waxes philosophical concerning what final size she will end up as, perhaps "going out altogether, like a candle"; this pondering reflects the concept of a limit.
  • In chapter 7, "A Mad Tea-Party", the March Hare, the Hatter, and the Dormouse give several examples in which the semantic value of a sentence A is not the same value of the converse of A (for example, "Why, you might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see'!"); in logic and mathematics, this is discussing an inverse relationship.
  • Also in chapter 7, Alice ponders what it means when changing seats around the circular table places them back at the beginning. This echoes a classic circular combinatorics problem, possibly dating from antiquity.
  • Again in chapter 7, Alice is asked whether she wants "more tea", and objects that she can't have more because she hasn't had any. The Hatter corrects her: "You mean you can't take less: it's very easy to take more than nothing." This is a play on the allowability of inference in comparatives without "than".
  • The Cheshire cat fades until it disappears entirely, leaving only its wide grin suspended in the air, leading Alice to marvel and note that she has seen a cat without a grin, but never a grin without a cat. This echoes ancient questions in logic about substances and predicates.

There have been attempts to reinterpret Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as having a coded submersive layer of meaning, as is common in other examples of children's literature (such as the gold standard reading of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)). For example, literary scholar Melanie Bayley asserted in the magazine New Scientist that Dodgson wrote Alice in Wonderland in its final form as a scathing satire on new modern mathematics that were emerging in the mid-19th century.[24] However, such views are not widely held.

Several people (e.g., Martin Gardner and Selwyn Goodacre,[22]) have suggested that Dodgson had an interest in the French language, choosing to make references and puns about it in the story. It is most likely that these are references to French lessons—a common feature of a Victorian middle-class girl's upbringing. For example, in the second chapter, Alice posits that the mouse may be French. She therefore chooses to speak the first sentence of her French lesson-book to it: "Où est ma chatte?" ("Where is my cat?"). In Henri Bué's French translation, Alice posits that the mouse may be Italian and speaks Italian to it.

Pat's "Digging for apples" could be a cross-language pun, as pomme de terre (literally; "apple of the earth") means potato and pomme means apple, which little English girls studying French would easily guess.[25]

In the second chapter, Alice initially addresses the mouse as "O Mouse", based on her memory of the noun declensions "in her brother's Latin Grammar, 'A mouse – of a mouse – to a mouse – a mouse – O mouse!'" These words correspond to the first five of Latin's six cases, in a traditional order established by medieval grammarians: mus (nominative), muris (genitive), muri (dative), murem (accusative), (O) mus (vocative). The sixth case mure (ablative) is absent from Alice's recitation.

In the eighth chapter, three cards are painting the roses red on a rose tree, because they had accidentally planted a white-rose tree that The Queen of Hearts hates. Red roses symbolised the English House of Lancaster, while white roses were the symbol for their rival, the House of York. This scene is an allusion to the Wars of the Roses.[26]

Eating and devouring

Carina Garland notes how the world is "expressed via representations of food and appetite", naming Alice's frequent desire for consumption (of both food and words) her "Curious Appetites".[27] Often, the idea of eating coincides to make gruesome images. After the riddle "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?", the Hatter claims that Alice might as well say, "I see what I eat… I eat what I see" and so the riddle's solution, put forward by Boe Birns,[28] could be that "A raven eats worms; a writing desk is worm-eaten"; this idea of food encapsulates the idea of life feeding on life, for the worm is being eaten and then becomes the eater  – a horrific image of mortality.

Nina Auerbach discusses how the novel revolves around eating and drinking, which "motivates much of [Alice's] behaviour", for the story is essentially about things "entering and leaving her mouth".[29] The animals of Wonderland are of particular interest, for Alice's relation to them shifts constantly because, as Lovell-Smith states, Alice's size-changes continually reposition her in the food chain, serving as a way to make her acutely aware of the "eat or be eaten" attitude that permeates Wonderland.[30]


 One of the author's own illustrations.
One of the author's own illustrations.

The manuscript was illustrated by Dodgson himself who added 37 illustrations—printed in a facsimile edition in 1887.[9] John Tenniel provided 42 wood engraved illustrations for the published version of the book. The first print run was destroyed (or sold to the United States[31]) at Carroll's request because he was dissatisfied with the quality. The book was reprinted and published in 1866.[9]

Neither Dodgson's nor John Tenniel's illustrations of Alice portray the real Alice Liddell, who had dark hair and a short fringe as in the Charles Robinson illustration pictured above.

Alice has provided a challenge for other illustrators, including those of 1907 by Charles Pears and the full series of colour plates and line-drawings by Harry Rountree published in the (inter-War) Children's Press (Glasgow) edition. Other significant illustrators include: Arthur Rackham (1907), Charles Robinson (1907) Willy Pogany (1929), Mervyn Peake (1946), Ralph Steadman (1967), Salvador Dalí (1969), Graham Ovenden (1969), Max Ernst (1970), Peter Blake (1970), Tove Jansson (1977), Anthony Browne (1988), Helen Oxenbury (1999), Lisbeth Zwerger (1999), DeLoss McGraw (2001), Robert Ingpen (2009) and Yayoi Kusama (2012).

Reception by reviewers

The book Alice in Wonderland failed to be named in an 1888 poll of the most popular children's stories. Generally, it received poor reviews, with reviewers giving more credit to Tenniel's illustrations than to Carroll's story. At the release of Through the Looking-Glass, the first Alice tale gained in popularity and, by the end of the 19th century, Sir Walter Besant wrote that Alice in Wonderland "was a book of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete".[32]

Publication history

 Title page of the original edition (1865)
Title page of the original edition (1865)

Dodgson's tale was published in 1865 as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by "Lewis Carroll" with illustrations by John Tenniel. The first print run of 2,000 was held back because Tenniel objected to the print quality.[33] A new edition was quickly printed, released in December of the same year but carrying an 1866 date. The text blocks of the original edition were removed from the binding and sold with Dodgson's permission to the New York publishing house of D. Appleton & Company. The binding for the Appleton Alice was virtually identical to the 1866 Macmillan Alice, except for the publisher's name at the foot of the spine. The title page of the Appleton Alice was an insert cancelling the original Macmillan title page of 1865, and bearing the New York publisher's imprint and the date 1866.

The entire print run sold out quickly. Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria[34] and the young Oscar Wilde.[35] The book has never been out of print. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages.[36] There have now been over a hundred English-language editions of the book, as well as countless adaptations in other media, especially theatre and film.

The book is commonly referred to by the abbreviated title Alice in Wonderland, which has been popularised by the numerous stage, film, and television adaptations of the story produced over the years. Some printings of this title contain both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Publication timeline

The following list is a timeline of major publication events related to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

  • 1865: First UK edition (the second printing).
  • 1865: First US edition (the first printing of above).[37]
  • 1869: Alice's Abenteuer im Wunderland[38] is published in German translation by Antonie Zimmermann.
  • 1869: Aventures d'Alice au pays des merveilles[39] is published in French translation by Henri Bué.
  • 1870: Alice's äfventyr i sagolandet[40] is published in Swedish translation by Emily Nonnen.
  • 1871: Dodgson meets another Alice during his time in London, Alice Raikes, and talks with her about her reflection in a mirror, leading to another book, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, which sells even better.
  • 1872: Le Avventure di Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie[41] is published in Italian translation by Teodorico Pietrocòla Rossetti.
  • 1879: Соня в царстве Дива. First Russian edition of "Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" – in Russian.
  • 1882: Selchow & Righter publishes The Game of Alice in Wonderland, the first game based on the book.
  • 1886: Carroll publishes a facsimile of the earlier Alice's Adventures Under Ground manuscript.
  • 1890: Carroll publishes The Nursery "Alice", a special edition "to be read by Children aged from Nought to Five".
 Cover of the 1898 edition
Cover of the 1898 edition
  • 1899: 鏡世界. First Japanese edition of an Alice in Wonderland novel. Despite being the first Japanese version of an Alice in Wonderland novel, it is actually a translation of Through the Looking-Glass.
  • 1905: Mrs J. C. Gorham publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland retold in words of one syllable in a series of such books published by A. L. Burt Company, aimed at young readers.
  • 1906: First translation into Finnish by Anni Swan (Liisan seikkailut ihmemaailmassa).
  • 1907: Copyright on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland expires in UK, and so the tale enters the public domain. At least 8 new editions are published in that year alone.[42]
  • 1910: La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando is published in Esperanto translation by E. L. Kearney.
  • 1915: 'Alice in Wonderland " A Dramatization of "Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" A dramatic screenplay script rendering of Alice in Wonderland by Alice Gerstenberg; Actress Vivian Tobin; copyright A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago 1915, Produced by The Players Producing Company of Chicago (Aline Barnsdall and Arthur Bissell), at the Fine Arts Theater, Chicago, 2/11/1915, Booth Theater, New York, 3/23/1915.
  • 1916: Publication of the first edition of the Windermere Series, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Illustrated by Milo Winter.
  • 1923: Аня в стране чудес. ("Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland") is published in Russian translation by Vladimir Nabokov.
  • 1928: The manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground that Carroll wrote and illustrated and that he had given to Alice Liddell was sold at Sotheby's on 3 April. It sold to Philip Rosenbach for £15,400, a world record for the sale of a manuscript at the time.[43]
  • 1945: The animated picture book of Alice in Wonderland, with illustrations and paper engineering by Julian Wehr is published.[44]
  • 1960: American writer Martin Gardner publishes a special edition, The Annotated Alice, incorporating the text of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. It has extensive annotations explaining the hidden allusions in the books, and includes full texts of the Victorian era poems parodied in them. Later editions expand on these annotations.
  • 1961: The Folio Society publication with 42 illustrations by John Tenniel.
  • 1988: Carroll and Anthony Browne, illustrator of a new edition from Julia MacRae Books, win the Kurt Maschler Award, or the Emil, for the year's best British "work of imagination for children, in which text and illustration are integrated so that each enhances and balances the other."[45]
  • 1998: Lewis Carroll's own copy of Alice, one of only six surviving copies of the 1865 first edition, is sold at an auction for US$1.54 million to an anonymous American buyer, becoming the most expensive children's book (or 19th-century work of literature) ever sold, up to that time.[46]
  • 1999: Carroll and Helen Oxenbury, illustrator of a new edition from Walker Books, win the Kurt Maschler Award for integrated writing and illustration, as did Anthony Browne and the 1988 Julia MacRae edition.[45]
  • 2007: For the 50th anniversary of the British Kate Greenaway Medal (1955–2005), a panel of experts names the 1999 Walker Books edition illustrated by Helen Oxenbury one of the top ten Medal-winning works, composing the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.[47]
  • 2008: Folio Alice's Adventures Under Ground facsimile edition (limited to 3,750 copies, boxed with The Original Alice pamphlet).
  • 2009: Children's book collector and former American football player Pat McInally reportedly sold Alice Liddell's own copy at auction for $115,000.[48]


Anti-drug film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland from 1971 entitled 'Curious Alice'

Cinema and television

The book has inspired numerous film and television adaptations which have multiplied as the original work is now in the public domain in all jurisdictions. The following list is of direct adaptations of Adventures in Wonderland (sometimes merging it with Through the Looking-Glass), not other sequels or works otherwise inspired by the works (such as Tim Burton's 2010 film Alice in Wonderland):

Comic strips and comic books

The book has also inspired numerous comic book adaptations:

Electronic media

Live performances

 University of Bielefeld, before the CITEC-building.
University of Bielefeld, before the CITEC-building.

As the book and its sequel are Carroll's most widely recognised works, they have also inspired numerous live performances, including ballets, musicals, operas, plays, and traditional English pantomimes. These works range from fairly faithful adaptations to those that use the story as a basis for new works. Additionally, over the years, many notable people in the performing arts have been involved in Alice productions.

 José de Creeft, Statue of Alice in Central Park, 1959
José de Creeft, Statue of Alice in Central Park, 1959


Alice has inspired numerous songs and albums, including:

  • Jerome Kern's "Alice in Wonderland," from The Girl from Utah (1914).[64]
  • "Alice in Wonderland'" by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard appears on the Bill Evans trio album Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961).[80]
  • Jefferson Airplane's song "White Rabbit", written by Grace Slick and included on their psychedelic album Surrealistic Pillow (1967). An Arabic version of this song for the soundtrack of the American Hustle film (2013) was sung by Mayssa Karaa.
  • Chick Corea's album The Mad Hatter released in 1979, which is conceptually derived from events that unfold in the book.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees named their label inside Polydor Wonderland in 1983.[81]
  • Tom Waits' album, Alice (2002), is loosely based on Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell and themes from the novels.[82]
  • Marilyn Manson described his album Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) as "[his] version of Alice in Wonderland."[83][citation needed]
  • Egypt Central's song "White Rabbit", written by Skidd Mills, was released on the studio album White Rabbit (completed 2010) and to radio stations on 15 February 2011 and made available on iTunes on 1 March 2011.[84]
  • In 2011, Perttu Haapanen composed a vocal work entitled "Readymade Alice", which is described as "Alice in Wonderland being reworked for cyber-space"; this work was commissioned by the 4th International Harald Andersén Competition and most recently performed on 30 September 2015 by the BBC Singers at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.[85]
  • Taylor Swift's song "Wonderland," from the deluxe edition of her 1989 album.
  • AKB48's B-side song, "First Rabbit", which is later also performed by JKT48
  • Australian composer Leon Coward's "Beautiful Soup" (2014) a lament for piano and string orchestra, premiered by Camerata Academica of the Antipodes.[86]
  • Melanie Martinez, "Mad Hatter" off the album Cry Baby.
  • Adam Lambert, "Down The Rabbit Hole" off the album For Your Entertainment.
  • Violinist Lindsey Stirling released a music video called "Hold My Heart" which was inspired by Alice in Wonderland which was included in her album Brave Enough.
  • "Her Name is Alice" by American rock band Shinedown.
  • The 1979 album "One of a Kind" by rock band Bruford, led by drummer Bill Bruford, included the track "Fainting in Coils", the title taken from a speech by the Mock Turtle
  • Valérian MacRabbit's music video "The Man who became a Rabbit" (2018), directed by Lalkrishnan is an Indian realistic version of "Alice in Wonderland" with MacRabbit playing the all the characters with different make-up[87].


The book has inspired several parodies, including:

  • The Westminster Alice (1902) by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki), illustrated by Francis Carruthers Gould
  • Alice's London Adventures in Wonderland (2015) by Lewis Carroll and Sarah Elizabeth Beaumont, illustrated by Sarah Elizabeth Beaumont after Sir John Tenniel (Two Monkeys Publishing, London)


Several radio adaptations have been aired, including:

Web Series

  • Diaries from Wonderland (2014-2015), a psychedelic retelling of Alice in Wonderland from the perspective of a young drug user. 13 episodes directed by Katherine Sainte-Marie. [91]

Works influenced

Alice and the rest of Wonderland continue to inspire or influence many other works of art to this day, sometimes indirectly via the 1951 Disney movie, for example. The character of the plucky yet proper Alice has proven immensely popular and inspired similar heroines in literature and pop culture, many also named Alice in homage.

Illustrations by different artists

See also


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  • Carpenter, Humphrey (1985). Secret Gardens: The Golden Age of Children's Literature. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-35293-2. 
  • Gardner, Martin (2000). The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04847-0. 
  • Goodacre, Selwyn (2015). Elucidating Alice: A Textual Commentary on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Evertype: Portlaoise. ISBN 978-1-78201-105-7. 
  • Lindseth, Jon A.; Tannenbaum, Alan, eds. (2015). Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations of Lewis Carroll's Masterpiece 1–3. New Castle: Oak Knoll Press. ISBN 978-1-58456-331-0. 
  • Ray, Gordon Norton (1991). The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-26955-8. 
  • Weaver, Warren (1964). Alice in Many Tongues: The Translations of Alice in Wonderland. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. 

External links

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