We recently received the following note from Mabel Odessey, an American artist living in France:
I am contacting you about my current exhibition/installation at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. the exhibition opened on Alice Day July 6 and will run till the end of August so there is still time to catch it!
The subject of these pinhole photographs are marionnettes made by the English artist Margaret Littleton Cook (1940s). They explore the characters as representations of psycological states and Alice’s dream of wonderland as a spiritual journey. To come upon images in the garden unexpectedly much like Alice was confronted by characters in the books will give her psychological journey a geographic sense.
Each character Alice encounters on her journey represents a disturbing emotion that must be transformed in order to reach enlightenment. Carroll calls the Queen of Hearts the embodiment of anger. Lewis Carroll the logician brings up many philosophical debates in the books. He uses nonsense to explore concepts such as time, perception, impermanence, duality, identity and the role of language. Using marionettes as subjects echoes this playful approach.
Using the historic process of pinhole photography give the images a particular resonance and there is no denying the connection between the upside down back to front world behind the looking glass and the positive and negative in photography. Not to mention Carroll’s interest in perception and photography.
The installation considers the qualities of different spaces in the garden and uses the shady places for the darker more mysterious photographs, and more open spaces to echo the images of understanding and clarity. Visitors will have a unique experience of the images as the light and the garden change throughout the day and season.
So, if you’re in the Oxford vicinity and enjoy gardens, marionettes, and/or Alice-themed art, you have until the end of August to view this al fresco exhibit.
Here’s a belated nod to LCSNA member Cathy Rubin’s HuffPost article about this year’s Alice’s Day at Oxford. While the event was held on July 6th, you might still enjoy reading a bit about its history, and following the links to read about the events that were held this year. To read the article, click me.
The LCSNA’s own Charlie Lovett (a former president) will be in New York City to promote his recently published novel The Bookman’s Tale. Charlie will talk about, read from, and sign his book (which does contain Carrollian references) at Barnes and Noble on the Upper East Side (86th and Lexington) at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday June 26. The Bookman’s Tale is the current Barnes & Noble Recommends title, was in the New York Times Extended Bestseller List in its first week of release, and has been recommended by People Magazine, Parade Magazine, The LA Times, and many other publications. For more information, check out Charlie’s website: www.charlielovett.com. Charlie is hoping to see a great LCSNA turnout at the New York signing!
The New York Public Library has a new exhibit entitled The ABC of it: Why Children’s Books Matter that explores both the importance and potency of children’s literature. The exhibit draws from books over time and around the world, combining both well-known classics with lesser-known gems. Lewis Carroll’s famous “Beggar Girl” photograph of Alice Liddell is one of the items on display, and is also part of the slideshow for this NY Times article about the exhibit.
If you attend the exhibit, add a Comment to this post and tell us what you thought!
There is a new exhibit at the Issy les Moulineaux (in the suburbs of Paris) with the theme of cards and games in Lewis Carroll’s works. Stylezza.com offers an article describing the exhibit. The article has been translated into English, so the word choice is sometimes less than ideal, but you’ll get the gist of it. The article also includes a brief slideshow. To view the article, click here. If anyone is in the area and goes to the exhibit, please send us a paragraph about it!
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?
The expedition ship Discovery in the Antarctic bearing the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901–04, and two book by Lewis Carroll
We like to celebrate the fact that the Alice books have been enjoyed all over the world, but did you know that includes Antarctica? Last week, in a story reported by the UK national paper the Telegraph, we learned the interesting and quite touching fact that “Britain’s toughest explorers, who took part in Scott’s gruelling three-year journey to discover the Antarctic, whiled away the freezing dark nights by reading children’s story Alice in Wonderland…” (Read the story in full here.)
Well-travelled Alice books, Bonham’s Auction 19952, Lot 63
The books formed part of the library on board the Discovery, the ship that carried Captain Scott’s successful expedition to the Antarctic regions between 1901 and 1904. These travel-stained copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, which once sat among more likely-sounding titles such as Sir Walter Raleigh’s Discovery of Guiana and Marco Polo’s Voyages and Travels, are to be auctioned by Bonham’s in their Polar II Sale, December 4, with an estimated price of $3,200 – $6,400.
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.
The Isis from Godstow Lock
Amid all the fireworks, flag-waving, and hot dog eating, another anniversary celebration is taking place today. 150 years ago this very afternoon, Lewis Carroll first extemporized the story of Alice’s adventures to three little girls in a rowing boat. Could we argue this event had cultural implications on a par with the Declaration of Independence itself? I think we could.
In celebration of the milestone, Oxford’s annual Alice’s Day, coordinated by the Oxford Story Museum, will be bigger than ever before and for the first time will include a raucous caucus race in Christ Church Meadow. Tish Francis, co-director of the museum, spoke about the event in Oxford Mail: “It is going to be wonderful, holding the race on a field overlooked by the windows of Christ Church, where Alice Liddell would have sat and looked out. We have got singers, dancers, circus performers. In the words of the Dodo, the best way to explain it is just to do it.” More on Alice’s Day and the Caucus Race can be read in C. M. Rubin’s article for the Huffington Post: Alice – - Join in the Race!
Ted Gioia, author and blogger, has commemorated the occasion in the post How Alice Got Into Wonderland in which he suggests that Carroll’s story may never have been meant just for children and asks “did a little-known Anglican
minister play a bigger role than the real-life Alice in the creation of this classic work?”
While Fourth of July celebrations may be taking center stage here in America, we hope that lovers of the Alice books will find their own ways to mark the day. (If you happen to be in Vallejo, California you could tip your hat to the Hatter as he drives by in their Fourth of July parade.) Here are some suggestions:
- Take any opportunity to quote Alice. For example, if asked whether you like the potato salad, you could answer: “Thank you, it’s a very interesting dance to watch and I do so like that curious song about the whiting!”
- Greet all newcomers to your local fireworks display with a languid “Who are you?” Refuse to be satisfied with their answer, whatever it is.
- If you should happen to fall asleep at your family reunion, upon waking tell everybody all about your curious dream in which you chased a rabbit down a rabbit-hole, grew, shrunk, went for a swim, had a drink, kicked a lizard, et cetera, and ending up signing the Declaration of Independence.
If you have any more ideas, or news of other celebrations that are taking place, please tell us about them in the comments below.
Here’s to that golden afternoon!
September may be a whole summer away, but plans for LCSNA Fall 2012 Meeting are already coming together. Confirmed speakers include Adam Gopnik on Sylvie and Bruno and Robin Wilson, who wrote Lewis Carroll in Numberland. The meeting will take place on Saturday, September 29 at the Fales Library in New York University (home of the fabled Berol collection).
In the meantime be sure to check out two Lewis Carroll book sales currently underway. Thanks to the generosity of some of our members both will benefit the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.
First, we have a selection of Carrollian books donated by former member Lynn Steveson.
Secondly, several items (mostly, but not only books) donated by member Barbara Mall. These items were first offered for sale a couple of years ago and those that did not sell are now available at a savings of (for most items) 50%. The prices listed are the new prices.
Please enjoy looking. To purchase, contact email@example.com.