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.)
From our Russian correspondent we have news of a fantastic exhibition in Moscow including a statue of Lewis Carroll! From the Moscow Times:
The exhibition “Alice in Wonderland” is dedicated to the anniversary of the famous book by Lewis Carroll. It opened recently in Saltykov-Chertkovs mansion. The location for the exhibition is not accidental. The famous writer, mathematician, logician, philosopher, deacon and photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) spent his whole life, without leaving his native England. However, there is one country for which he made an exception, and that was Russia. In 1867 Lewis Carroll made his first and only trip abroad – to Russia. He visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Sergiev Posad. He came to our country with the mission of supporting cooperation between the Anglican and Orthodox churches. In Moscow he visited the famous library in the mansion Chertkov on Myasnitskaya Street. After a century and a half, an exhibition dedicated to his “Alice” was opened at this museum.
The Moscow exhibition is made on the principle of “opening episodes”, each visitor will be able to look at the story told by Carroll more volume. In addition to illustrations of produced for the book throughout the years, the exhibition will have the honor of presenting the beautiful stained-glass windows by British artist Geoffrey Webb for the first time, which decorate the chapel in Daresbury, Cheshire, in the cherished home of the famous writer.
On a show space of 1500 square meters, fantasy worlds come alive for both children and adults. As soon as visitors step into the old mansion they will feel that it is not just a house, but a real place of wonders. There is a seven-meter mirror, the ‘looking glass’ through which Alice entered a different world, a “hanging” library, a “disappearing garden”, the largest kaleidoscope in Europe, the throne room of the Red and the White Queen, a room of dreams, Alice’s lawn, a Jabberwock skeleton, and of course the White Rabbit’s house. In addition, visitors can relax on cushions in the cinema and see restored fragments of the original silent film “Alice in Wonderland”, which was directed in the UK by Cecil M. Hepworth in 1903. In the Gothic hall, visitors will see the first multi-illusion “100 Stories” illustrations for “Alice in Wonderland” by Sir John Tenniel, which are now recognized canonical pieces.
Visit this site for details and tickets. Runs through March 1st, 2016.
Make your travel plans, put in for personal days, block off your calendars! The Spring LCSNA meeting will be April 14 through 17, in the Baltimore/Washington area. We are being treated to a mini-conference by the member/collector/scholar families who live there: the Imholtzes, the Crandalls, and the Schaefer/Salinses. Highlights include events at the Library of Congress; the landmark Imholtz exhibition at the U of Maryland; hearing from Ellie Schaefer-Salins, Diane Waggoner, Michael Dirda, and George Walker; and an exhibition of Disneyana mounted by the Crandalls. We will also be welcomed to these members’ homes for social events each day. Don’t miss this opportunity for more of the kind of learning, inspiration, and camaraderie you enjoyed–or wish you had–in New York last fall! Members should look for your meeting notice to arrive via email/snail mail in early March, and nonmembers can check the LCSNA website to register then as well. Looking forward to being with the Carroll community soon!
Vote for Central Park’s most beloved statue!
This Valentine’s Day weekend, celebrate your love of Central Park’s sculptures!
Central Park Ice Festival
Saturday, February 13: 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Naumburg Bandshell (Mid-Park from 66th to 72nd Streets)
Witness ice-carving artists from Okamoto Studio use electric chain saws, chisels, and picks to transform more than 6,000 pounds of ice into a glistening replica of one of the Park’s most iconic statues. As night falls, revel among colorful lights as the Mall becomes a vibrant silent disco with live DJs, all to celebrate Central Park Conservancy’s preservation efforts.
But which of four iconic Central Park statues will be carved? Vote here. For Alice, of course! (Anyone can vote, whether or not you plan on attending the festival.)
Whilst we’re on the topic, pick up one or both of G. A. Mudge’s fine books on the topic: Alice in Central Park: Statues in Wonderland and/or Two Alice Statues in Central Park [website on the way; currently available at Barnes & Noble or via email from Fotobs Books at firstname.lastname@example.org].
Our own Christopher Morgan, editor of the Puzzles and Games volume of our Pamphlets series and the newly crowned editor of the Knight Letter, will be speaking about Carroll’s puzzles and games at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia this Thursday evening, January 21. Click here for more information. It is part of the Rosenbach’s ongoing “Down the Rabbit Hole” celebration of Alice150. Many more events are listed throughout April.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory released this image on November 23, 2015, of a group of galaxies nicknamed the Cheshire Cat. Some of the features of the “cat” are distant galaxies whose light has been stretched and bent by gravitational lensing, an indication of large amounts of mass between us and these distant galaxy, and, Chandra says, most of that mass exists in the form of dark matter. “…the mass that distorts the faraway galactic light is found surrounding the two giant ‘eye’ galaxies and a ‘nose’ galaxy. The multiple arcs of the circular ‘face’ arise from gravitational lensing of four different background galaxies well behind the ‘eye’ galaxies.”
The “cat” will disappear in around a billion years.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who became known as “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” to the Carrollian world due to some playfulness on the part of the Washington Post (story here), has taken his revenge on us by recording “Jabberwocky” for PoeticTouch.com,* posted to YouTube. Over Wagner in the background, he manages to mispronounce “borogoves” as “borogroves” twice! (Of course, as he is also famous for his inability to say the word “penguins” (starts at 3:17), perhaps this is a forgivable lapse.)
* website not available at this writing
Plenty, an Art and Motion Direction studio located in Buenos Aires, was commissioned to make a promotional video for online bookstore Good Books International, which donates all profits to Oxfam charities. We Need to Talk about Alice is the third in Good Books’ “Great Writers” series (previous hits were the much-awarded Metamorphosis, and Havana Heat) and was posted in September. A white-haired, tattooed, rather grown-up Alice attends a tea-party with Hunter-Thompsonian overtones in 3-D and conventional animation sequences. Click on the picture to experience it!
Ray Dyer, PhD, has taken the “fairy” story contained in Sylvie and Bruno and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, “here removed from its distracting asides, to be presented initially for specialist scholars, as a simpler and annotated didactic new edition.” The frame story will be dealt with in Lady Muriel: A Victorian Romance, to be published next March. There is some precedent for this division: The Story of Sylvie and Bruno was published by Macmillan in 1904, with only those parts concerning the titular characters.
Order from Troubador Press here. They have kindly offered a 25% discount to LCSNA members by entering “CARROLL15” in the discount code box.