Excellent Article in WSJ on David Del Tredici’s ‘Child Alice’

As the article says:  “David Del Tredici’s ambitious ‘Child Alice’ reveals a complicated vision.”

More importantly, the performance was recorded, to be released in 2017. What I like about this article is its stance on the establishment’s take on difference – even when that establishment is nontraditional.  The atonal powers-that-be dismissed this out of hand, and we all know that (especially in the world of Carroll) most everything is nontraditional.  There are no boundaries, and every adaptation, homage, new work, or revival should be evaluated not only as a derivative of Carroll, but also on its own merits, regardless of the context or even preceding work of the artist.  Well done, Allan Kozinn.

Annotated Sylvie & Bruno Volume 3

Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded “removed from its distracting asides, to be presented initially for specialist scholars, as a simpler and annotated didactic new edition” with notes by Ray Dyer, PhD, was published as two volumes in one, as we announced here (it will be reviewed in the spring issue of the Knight Letter). The third volume, dealing with the frame story, has just been published as Lady Muriel: The Victorian Romance.

Order from Troubador Press here. They have kindly offered a 25% discount to LCSNA members by entering “CARROLL15” in the discount code box. Or Amazon here.

Down Under (Ground)

A Kickstarter-funded group in the Antipathies (aka Australia aka Down Under aka Oz) has come up with a fine facsimile edition of the Under Ground ms., complete with a pair of white cotton gloves. For just AU$500 (US$375) you can get a hand-bound leather boxed edition; for AU$60 (US$45) a machine-bound bonded leather one. Check it out here. Or see the original online at the British Library site.

Mary Kline-Misol: The Alice Cycle – Selected Works Now Available as Giclée Prints

Mary Kline-Misol, the fabulous Alice artist who hosted the 2006 meeting is now offering selected images from her Alice Cycle as fine art giclée reproductions.  Images from the series include:

2.Apotheosis of Alice
3.Curiouser and Curiouser
4.Brothers Tweedle
6.Fetish for Cheshire Cat

Print size is 20X18 on archival paper. Priced at $180.00 per image unframed and $350.00 framed plus shipping.  You can contact her through her webpage or directly through her gallery.

Artisan Gallery 218
218 5th street
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Elementary, My Dear Dodgson

Holmes and Dodgson/Carroll? It is not terribly surprising that these two 19th-century literary icons with ontological dilemmas* sometimes appear together as dual protagonists in fiction and drama. From novels like In Pursuit of Lewis Carroll (1994), Sherlock Holmes and the Alice in Wonderland Murders (2000), and Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Deadly Illusion (2013), short stories like “The Case of the Detective’s Smile” and “Alimentary, My Dear Watson” from Sherlock Holmes in Orbit (1995), through Sherlock Through the Looking-Glass (2013), a play, these two have been amusingly intertwined.

A new novel joins the fray: Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Grinning Cat by Joseph W. Svec III. “When the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter turn up at 221-B Baker Street to enlist the help of Sherlock Holmes in locating Alice, who is missing from Wonderland, and Lewis Carroll himself, who is also nowhere to be found, there begins an adventure more stranger and curious than anything Sherlock ever encountered.” The book will be reviewed in an upcoming Knight Letter.

* Sherlockians insisting on treating him as having actually existed, and, at least in the latter part of his life, Dodgson’s denial that he was Carroll (if not he, who?).

Alice in Wonderland as Dessert

From Blouinartinfo comes this tasty article about a new dessert restaurant  by chef Sarah Barber in London making Alice themed desserts, but these desserts are an artform unto themselves:

Here, desserts are as desserts should be: much, muchier, muchness.  For a start, Berber has orchestrated a series of tasting menus to take you down the rabbit hole. These range from the three-course Childhood Memories menu with evergreen favorites like rhubarb and custard, to what looks like the dessert restaurant’s crescendo: the five-course Sarah in Wonderland menu.  Opt for the latter, and a mere £42 will go an awfully long way to pleasing you and/or a dinner companion. Beginning with the savory Milky Way of goat’s cheese, wild honey and beetroot snow; and Chicken Foie with quince and brioche, so as to prepare the palate for a playful full-on assault of sweet plates, optional wine flights can also accompany each menu (think a bubbly glass of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene with the Milky Way). It only gets curiouser and curiouser with Berber’s fantastical Alice in Wonderland-inspired dessert creations. There is the Queen of Hearts, a concoction of raspberries, champagne and, yes, roses; the Mad Hatter, expertly assembled with black forest gateau, kirsch and cherries; and finally, Eat Me, Drink Me, made with Snickers and a chocolate malt shake you can simultaneously bite into and drink up.  Guests who know exactly what they want can go for the four-course Pick n Mix menu that lets them select from both a sweet menu and a savory one, including the White Rabbit with Acapella cheese, artichokes and black truffle; and Salmon Tart with silky avocado.

For those interested the restaurant is just off Piccadilly Circus.

A Study in Scarlett

The divine Scarlett Johansson reads the unabridged Adventures in audiobook format, sadly only available in Amazon’s Audible app. But you can get a free sample to listen to on your smartphone or computer, or get the whole book free with a trial membership. I listened to the sample; she reads very well (not attempting an English accent), but the pauses from the editing were annoyingly noticeable, and occurred at least once a sentence. If you’re doing something else at the time, such as driving or buzzing around the house, that might not be a problem.

A Matter of Con-CERN

ALICE is the acronym for A Large Ion Collider Experiment, one of the largest experiments in the world devoted to research into the physics of matter at an infinitely small scale. Hosted at CERN, the European Laboratory for Nuclear Research in Geneva, this project involves an international collaboration of more than 1500 physicists, engineers, and technicians probing into fundamental questions of matter. While it is not certain they named it after our Alice, they do use language such as “you are invited to tumble down the rabbit hole into the wonderland of ALICE” on the site, and she is definitely a universal symbol for surreal encounters with the unknown. Read all about it here. They have lots of nice swag; unfortunately, it is only available on site as they don’t do mail order.

Russian Animation from 1981

Lithuanian artist Natalie Shau (many of whose Alice-inspired illustrations can be found in her book Lost in Wonderland; a post about her is forthcoming) turned me on to this Russian-language animation of Wonderland, a series of three nine-minute episodes produced in the Soviet Union in 1981, by order of the USSR State Committee for Television and Radio, by the Kievnauchfilm Studio in Kiev. It was produced and directed by Yefrem Pruzhansky from a script by Yevgeny Zagdansky based on the translation by Nina Demurova, who consulted on the film. The music is by Vladimir Bystryakov, but some was, ah, borrowed from a few uncredited composers (e.g., Mozart, Respighi and Boccherini) and pop groups. Voice talents are by some of the USSR’s best actors; Alice was voiced by Marina Neyolova. The complete episodes can be found on YouTube: Part I, Part II, Part III. These are not subtitled or dubbed, but you can get a flavor of it in a subtitled Part I here. According to its Russian Wiki entry, it has been released on DVD several times.

The same studio and cast followed up with a four-part Looking-glass a year later: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

The Book the Most People Have Lied about Reading

A BBC survey of the reading habits of 2,000 Britons disclosed that the book most likely to be claimed to have been read, yet wasn’t, was … War and Peace? Lord of the Rings? No, our Alice!

It also found that “one in four bluffed about reading a classic when a TV adaptation of it was shown, with the most popular reasons being not wanting to miss out on the conversation and wanting to appear more intelligent.”

But the good news is that the survey also “found that film and television adaptations actually encourage viewers to pick up the original text, with 44 per cent saying they would be tempted to pick up a book if it had been deemed worthy of an all-star dramatisation.”

Glad tidings, we suppose, although whether the recent (and forthcoming) Disney debacles could be called “adaptations” is somewhat moot.

(The painting above is Alice in Wonderland by George Dunlop Leslie, 1879.)