Exploring the Influence of Lewis Carroll’s Trip to Russia on His Photography

Art History November 2013One of our mimsy minions has alerted us that a recent issue of Art History journal includes an article entitled “Shopping in St Petersburg: Lewis Carroll’s Photographs and Icons”  Here’s a brief excerpt, courtesy of our minion:

“While critics have paid scant attention to Carroll’s Russian visit, maintaining it had little impact upon him since he never again travelled abroad, the rich visual experience of religious icon and secular photographic ‘type’ meant that after 1867, in revisiting Chinese and other costume photographs, Carroll contrived scenarios both formally and conceptually different from that realized in Lorina and Alice Liddell of 1860. Most noticeably he combined the distinctive material forms and metaphysical resonances of ‘photograph’ and ‘icon’ in his increasing preference for photographing individual female children dressed in ethnic costume posed in interiors devoid of the decorative trappings of nineteenth-century portrait studios.”

Issues of the journal are hosted by the Wiley Online Library.  If you do not have access to the site through the institution for which you work, they also offer an option of renting access to the article for 24 hours.

The article appears in Volume 36, Issue 5, pages 968–993, November 2013.  To learn more, click me.

A Professor Ponders The Mysteries of the Alice Books

Tenniel Looking-Glass TrainOur mimsy Knight Letter magazine editor has alerted me that Adam Roberts, a Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, is teaching a new course on Children’s Literature.  Currently Roberts is examining the Alice books with his students, presumably with his binoculars facing the correct way.  He has begun posting his theories and musings about the two books on his blog.  He also teases out a few entertaining ideas for a sequel of his own.

The link I’m providing sorts his blog posts by “Alice” so you should read from the bottom of the page up, if you wish to explore his thoughts in chronological order.

To read these Carrollian posts, click me.

Professor Roberts also teaches Creative Writing, and is the author of several science fiction novels, among other things.  To read more about him, click me.

New Book of Dutch Essays on Lewis Carroll

This just in from one of our well-traveled mimsy minions:

Netherlands literary critic Carel Peeters has written, in Dutch of course, a fine series of essays, Het wonderland van Lewis Carroll, dealing with “seventeen sides of Carroll’s personality in his life and work.” You can find out more at:

http://www.deharmonie.nl/uitgave/uitgavedetail.asp?id=1203

And you can order a copy from info@deharmonie.nl.

A Site About Wonderland on the Web

they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapotRecent Carleton College graduate Lauren Millikan has created a web site called “Curiouser and Curiouser: The Evolution of Wonderland.”  Here is a brief description of the site’s purpose, from the “About” page:

“The internet is a pretty crazy place. It’s very easy to get lost in it. Many of the people that you meet are very rude. Most of the things you see and read don’t make any sense. And even though it can’t make you grow taller or shorter, (except perhaps by spine compression if you sit in front of a computer for too long) the internet is a lot like Wonderland. This site is dedicated to exploring two questions: 1) how the experience of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) changes when experienced through the medium of the internet and 2) how this medium can be used to track how Wonderland has evolved in readers’ imaginations.”

To visit Lauren’s site, click me.

The LCSNA Spring Meeting is next month!

The Spring Meeting is galumphing towards us! Join us in Winston-Salem, North Carolina from April 19-21, 2013, for a three-day Carrollian carnival. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

  • The world premiere of Dan Singer‘s new play, A Perfect Likeness, about a meeting between Dodgson and Dickens
  • Members of the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players performing a concert of Lewis Carroll’s favourite songs
  • Talks by a range of Carroll experts from academia and beyond, including Jett Jackson, Mark Richards, Mora O’Neill, and Stephanie Lovett
  • A Victorian Choral Evensong service featuring a sermon by Mark Goodacre based on an outline by Rev. Dodgson
  • Keepsakes including an updated version of Charlie Lovett’s article “Lewis Carroll and His Hammond Type-Writer,” including a piece of Carrollian verse typed on Carroll’s own typewriter!

All are welcome to attend. For full details of events, accommodations, and meals, please read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the official program (PDF, 445 KB).

Please note the following deadlines:

Friday, March 29: Last day Holiday Inn is guaranteeing our reservations and rates.

Monday, April 1: Last day to confirm special dining arrangements. Please see the official program.

Wednesday, April 10: Last day to register for meeting and pay for meals.

Winston-Salem will be very crowded that weekend with other festivities. We strongly recommend you make plane, rental car, and other arrangements at your earliest convenience.

We hope to see you there!

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?

 

Anonymous Donation of First Editions to the University of Utah

What’s the next best thing to unexpectedly inheriting first editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass? A public institution near you receiving them in an anonymous donation, that’s what. Which is good news for Carrollians in Utah as last week just such a bequest was made to the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The value of the two books is estimated at $30,000. Read more here, or visit the books in person in the George S. Eccles Special Collections Reading Room on level 4 of the J. Willard Marriott Library, 295 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City. Visitors are welcome.

Alice in Wonderland Mural Discovered at San Diego State University

A lost mural of Alice in Wonderland and the archaeologist determined to bring it to light were the subjects of an interesting tale told by San Diego public radio station, KPBS, yesterday.

Seth Mallios, head of the anthropology department at SDSU, had been hunting down murals, once common all over campus, when he heard about the Alice mural from Evelyn Kooperman, a retired librarian.

When she was a little girl in the 1950s, her mother used to take her to see two murals tucked away in Hardy Tower. One featured the character of Odysseus. The other, was the “Alice in Wonderland” mural. “I just thought they were wonderful,” says Kooperman. “They were big and bright and colorful. And I just loved them and every year I would say to my mother, ‘I want to go see Alice! I want to go see Alice!’”

Read about Mallios’s discovery of the mural, and of the artist who painted it, on the KPBS website. You can also see an old photograph of the mural and listen to the original radio broadcast.

Virtually Unknown Alice Card Game Rediscovered

The Game of Alice in Wonderland. Selchow & Righter, 1882.

The Game of Alice in Wonderland. Selchow & Righter, 1882.

Most Alice collectors will tell you that the very first Alice card game was Thomas De La Rue Co.’s The New & Diverting Game of Alice in Wonderlandprinted in 1899. Thanks to research of Rob Stone, a game designer and game store owner in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we can now set the record straight.

When Stone set out to design his own Alice game he decided, most responsibly, to examine every Alice card game ever released “since the publication of the book.” In doing so he came across The Game of Alice in Wonderland, published by Selchow & Righter in 1882.

The game consists of 52 cards divided into two sets of 16 numbered picture cards and one set of 20 cards bearing numbers alone. The Lilly Library at Indiana University has the game and the images in this post, along with several more, are posted on their website. Unfortunately, as Stone discovered, the Lilly Library does not have the rules—those he eventually discovered at Kent State University.

Stone has posted a full transcript of the rules to The Game of Alice in Wonderland, along with the story of his most interesting quest, on his blog Game Lab. Thanks for some great research, Rob!

Cards from The Game of Alice in Wonderland. Selchow & Righter, 1882.

Cards from The Game of Alice in Wonderland. Selchow & Righter, 1882.

“Picturing Alice” at the San Francisco Public Library

Draw Me a Story at the San Francisco Public Library

Draw Me a Story at the San Francisco Public Library


The San Francisco Public Library has teamed up with the nearby Cartoon Art Museum for Draw Me a Story: A Century of Children’s Book Illustration, an exhibition of children’s book illustration featuring 12 books and 41 original works of art by artists from Ralph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway to twentieth century innovators of illustration including W.W. Denslow, William Steig and Chris Van Allsburg.

The exhibition opened in September and will run until December 2, but the best day to go will be Thursday, October 25, when LCSNA President Mark Burstein will be delivering the talk “Picturing Alice,” in which he will explore art inspired by Alice from the 1860s to the present. The talk will be at 6:30 p.m. in the main library and will be followed by a book sale.

A Little Something Alice for the Weekend

Then She Fell

“Then She Fell”; photo by Adam Jason Photography

If you are wondering what you could do this weekend that might bring a little more Wonderland into your life, permit us to offer the following suggestions:

If you live in New York, you could try to get last minute tickets to Then She Fell, a creepy trip down the rabbit hole staged in an abandoned hospital and described by the New York Post as “a fiendishly clever immersive theater piece.” If the show is all sold out, you could console yourself by booking tickets to AliceGraceAnon at the Irondale Center between October 21 and November 9. The play depicts an emotional collision between three girls: Carroll’s fictional Alice, the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, and the anonymous narrator of Go Ask Alice, the diary of drug taking that caused sensation in 1971. Reviewers say it is seriously trippy…

If you live in Seattle, you could try and gate-crash the 110th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association at Seattle University to see Amanda Lastoria of Simon Fraser University deliver a paper called “Selling Wonderland: How Lewis Carroll Built his Alice Empire.” In her paper Amanda will advance her thesis that Lewis Carroll was a publishing dynamo whose considerable business savvy has been little recognized.

If you live in Manchester, England, you could see Gaynor Arnold speaking at the Manchester Literary Festival about her new book After Such Kindness, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. The event will be held at the Portico Library on Saturday at 6.30 p.m.

And if you live anywhere else, well, isn’t it time you started planning your Alice-themed Halloween costume? A good source of ideas might be this this photo slide show of recent and not-so recent big-budget, Alice-themed events. The slide show reveals both what a strange assortment of organizations decide on an Alice in Wonderland theme for their event (OfficeMax is one) and that the Canadian Cancer Society knows how to throw a good party.

Happy Friday to all.