Monday, March 26, 2007

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

What a classic! Everyone knows the story of Alice in Wonderland, made even more popular by Disney years ago. All I knew of Alice was the Disney cartoon and the artwork of Tenniel and Rackham. What I didn't know was the brilliant writing style of Lewis Carroll, the author who created Alice and her Wonderland.

Carroll is one of the most clever writers I have read. I kept thinking to myself as I read this book, "how the hell did he come up with this?" The dialogue is pure genius. I loved every minute of the Mad Hatter and his tea party.

The story is very short and without much of a plot, but that is what can be expected of a dream. It's sort of just a walk down the rabbit hole and through wonderland. But in that walk, we meet fascinating creatures; creatures and objects present in the real world, but with a fantastical twist.

What I loved more than anything was the book itself. I got a beautiful edition of this book through Dreamhaven, published by Firefly. It was a $30 on sale for $7.95. It's hardcover, clothbound, with thick, high quality paper and illustrations that I've never seen before for Alice.

The illustrations are done by Ralph Steadman. His work looked familiar and I found out that he is the artist from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I didn't know what to think of the images at first, but I liked them by the end. They are definitely geared towards a more adult audience, but then again, I forget what it's like to be a kid. He adds a certain edge to the characters. The characters become menacing and bizarre. He gives a great introduction in the book and explains why he drew each one of the images the way he did.

The book was read for the banned books challenge. Once again, I'm not exactly sure why the book was banned, but I would guess that it would be banned due to some suggestive drug-influenced scenes and the crazy queen who wants to cut everyones head off. It's amazing how many wonderful books people have attempted to keep away from the public's eyes. Amazing and sad.

Some interesting Alice news, Marilyn Manson is currently shooting a movie that he wrote called Phantasmagoria which is a biopic of Lewis Carroll as he wrote Alice in Wonderland. Manson will play the Queen of Hearts.

I leave you with a fun quote from the Duchess taken from her and Alice's conversation on where exactly mustard comes from:

"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise"

Who comes up with this stuff?!


Bookfool said...

I just recently read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I loved Alice in Wonderland - felt much like you did, that he was so utterly clever and I had to wonder how he came up with all that stuff. Through the Looking Glass sort of gave me a headache, though!

Chris said...

It really was a great book. I'll probably get around to Through the Looking Glass eventually. Thanks for stopping by!