Alice Liddell has made the front page of the New York Times again! This time, it’s an image of Alice as the mythical figure “Pomona,” as photographed by Lewis Carroll’s contemporary, Julia Margaret Cameron. The Metropolitan Museum in NYC has opened a new exhibit of 38 Cameron images. The exhibit runs through January 5th, 2014. To read more, click me.
Playwright (Red) and screenwriter (Skyfall, Hugo, Sweeney Todd, etc.) John Logan has written a new play inspired by the fact that in 1932, Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for Peter Pan, at the Bumpus bookshop in London as part of a centenary tribute to Carroll. Logan wondered what the two immortal inspirations might have said to each other. Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw play the leads; it is directed by Michael Grandage and currently playing at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. More information can be found on LCSNA member Cathy Rubin’s blog by clicking here.
Alice Liddell as a Beggar Maid, now at the Carnegie Museum of Art
Two of the most famous photographs Dodgson made of Alice Liddell have been promised to the Carnegie Museum of Art: “Alice Liddell as a Beggar Maid” (1858, albumen print) and “Alice with Garland” (1860, glass negative).
The gift, from the collection of William Talbott Hillman, also includes key works by Roger Fenton, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Alfred Stieglitz and represents “an exceptionally important addition” to the museum, in the words of Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photographs. “Indeed” she continued “they may pave the way for further collecting of iconic works by such recognized masters of the medium.”
I haven’t been able to find an image of “Alice with Garland” online. If anyone reading this knows where to find one, could you link to it in the comments below?
Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench (also known as Queen Elizabeth I and ‘Q’ from the next James Bond movie). What might they have talked about?
Yes, our website is salvaged from savage pirates, and we have a lot of news to catch up on. Speaking of pirates… Peter Pan! (Sorry, that was a horrible transition. We’re a little rusty.) John Logan has written a play about Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the muse for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) and Peter Llewelyn Davies (the Peter who inspired J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan). It’s called Peter and Alice. What might they have said to one another when they were older? We’ll find out in March 2013 on the London stage, where the roles will be played by Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. The playwright won an Academy Award for writing the movie Gladiator, so hopefully Alice and Peter will fight lions! Or, have tea and discuss“questions about how people cope with being hurled into the public eye as children.”
“Of course that’s how it begins: a harmless fairy tale to pass the hours”
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.
Judi Dench plays Alice and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which went on to win six Tony Awards in 2010.
Director Michael Grandage Set and Costume Designer Christopher Oram Lighting Designer Paule Constable Composer and Sound Designer Adam Cork
Art preview from CBR for Raven Gregory's forthcoming Alice in Wonderland.
Graphic novelist Raven Gregory has now written several installments in the Wonderland universe, beginning with Return to Wonderland (2007) and followed by various Tales and Escapes. The original Return to Wonderland followed Alice Liddell’s granddaughter Calie, but according to Comic Book Resources, “the fate of Wonderland’s original protagonist has been remained untold, until now.” So the prequel, called Alice in Wonderland, will star an Alice Liddell bustier and blonder than you’ve ever seen her. Zenoscope will release it in December with covers by Artgerm, Eric Basaluda and Nei Ruffino.
CBR News: Raven, before “Alice in Wonderland,” you had sent your time following the escapades of Alice’s granddaughter Calie in Wonderland. In fact, this is the first time you’ve actually visited the original character of Alice. What prompted the change in focus?
Raven Gregory: We’d been talking about doing the “Alice” story for quite some time, but we all agreed we’d only do it if we had a really good story to tell. After how well the “Wonderland” trilogy turned out, the last thing we wanted to do was to run this thing into the ground. We decided the only way to do it was to wait for the right story to come along, one that would be able to stand on its own merits yet also play into this massive mythology we’ve developed over the last five years. [continue reading.]
Simon Winchester, author of the excellent book The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, is back with a book about Lewis Carroll and the Liddell family called The Alice Behind Wonderland. The new book uses Carroll’s famous 1958 photograph of Alice as a beggar-girl as a launching point for the discussion. Former director of New York’s Morgan Museum and Library, Charles E. Piece, Jr., reviewed it in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago:
To my surprise, Mr. Winchester does not appear much interested in the influence that Alice Liddell might have had on Dodgson’s creation of the heroine of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and, six years later, “Through the Looking-Glass.” He simply relates the well-known story of how Dodgson took the Liddell girls on a picnic on July 4, 1862, during which he told them the tale of a little girl who had fallen down a rabbit hole. Alice, captivated by the tale, made Dodgson promise to write the story down and give it to her as a gift. In November 1864, he fulfilled that promise.
Mr. Winchester instead focuses on the odd estrangement between the Liddell family and Dodgson in the late 1860s, a breach that has remained largely unexplained. The most dramatic fact is that Dodgson and Liddell never saw each other again after he took the 18-year-old’s photograph in 1870.
Thanks again to Adriano Peliano at the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, and her lively blog AliceNations, for posting pictures from this beautiful exhibition at the Biblioteca de Andalucía en Granada, Spain, from 2009. It’s called “Alice’s Adventures under Ground. 75 Aniversario de la muerte de Alice Liddell” by Leonor Solans. There are more images at the AliceNations blog, and she also embedded this video of the show set to the great Tom Waits song “Alice”:
[…] Y aunque la sombra de un suspiro
quizá lata a lo largo de esta historia,
añorando esos «alegres días de un estío de antaño»
y el recuerdo desvanecido de un verano ya pasado…
no rozará con su infeliz aliento
el mágico encanto de nuestro cuento.
We all know that the original Alices of John Tenniel are to rigid and formal to allow flows of subjectivity, body sensations, subtle feelings, vital experiences. These Alices of Leonor Solans welcome Alice in her dive in the potency of life. The exhibition is sweet and delicate, the song of Tom Waits fits perfect.
Paramount’s Alice in Wonderland (1933), directed by Norman Z. McLeod, has been mentioned a lot in the past few weeks, as the first big Hollywood all-star blow-out adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s books (with such stars as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and W.C. Fields.) Slightly lost amongst the thousands of other Alices being released this month was the fact that this film, which was never released on VHS or DVD, is finally available (list price $19.99). Why is it being released as Universal Homes Entertainment? Our source from inside Paramount answers that question:
Back in 1957, Paramount sold most (but not all) of its pre-1948 film library to Universal for some quick cash (at the time, Paramount was ailing, financially). Thus, a number of Paramount films are now distributed by Universal, under their corporate and home video label [...] Paramount no longer owns the rights to these films.
Also released on DVD on March 2nd is the SyFy miniseries Alice (list price $19.99), which originally aired last December. Jonathan Miller’s 1966 adaptation was issued on DVD (featuring John Gielgud, Peter Cook, Peter Sellers; list price $14.98). I noticed that Amazon has a deal selling all three for $38.97, the price of which won’t even get a family of three into the IMAX to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D.
There’s more: Hallmark’s “overblown” 1999 television special of Alice in Wonderland (with Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short and Christopher Lloyd) is being reissued on DVD (list price, $19.99) along with its companion Through the Looking Glass (with Geoffrey Palmer and Ian Holm; list price only $9.98!)
Now, several tie-ins to the Disney movie were also released March 2nd: several hot new video games for Nintendo Wii(list price $39.99), Nintendo DS (list price $29.99), and a Disney Interactive computer game for PC ($19.99). The movie soundtrack by Danny Elfman was released on March 2nd (list price $18.98). And merchandise, merchandise, merchandise, too much to mention here.
Did you know Alice stories can also be purchased in a book form? Many editions of this “book” were released in conjunction with the big movie premiere, but the only book rolled out on March 2nd (to keep true to the theme of this post), was one called “The Real Alice in Wonderland: A Role Model for the Ages” by C.M. Rubin and Gabriela Rubin (list price, $29.95), from AuthorHouse. A day after it was released, it appears to already be out of stock. From the product description:
In 2006, award-winning author C.M. Rubin and her daughter, Gabriella Rubin (who are related to the Liddell family), began an incredible journey to create the ultimate book about the original Alice in Wonderland’s life. Their grand pictorial, biographic vision for the book involved collecting photographs spanning two centuries, reaching out to many celebrated Alice in Wonderland artists (including Vik Muniz, Annie Liebovitz, Mark Steele, Lizzy Rockwell, Helen Oxenbury, Frances Broomfield, Jeanne Argent, David Cooper, Bruce Fuller, Tatiana Ianovskaia, Jewel, and Tom Otterness), and connecting with museums, libraries and schools around the world. The Real Alice in Wonderland book is told using never before seen pictures along with prominent voices from Alice’s lifetime and from the present day. C.M. Rubin and her daughter Gabriella explore the theme of inspiration. Behind every great person there is the person who inspires and believes in him or her. The person who motivates them to realize their dreams. This magnificent cross-atlantic epic will fascinate you — it will make you think again: what does it mean to inspire?
The Real Alice In Wonderland book is dedicated to all those who inspire the minds and souls of human beings.
However, don’t miss Simply Read Books edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, no longer out of print, with Iassen Ghiuselev’s unique and beautiful illustrations, reissued in hardcover on March 1st (list price, $24.95).
Yesterday the internet was thick with the news that Alice Liddell’s own copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were be sold at auction. What few sites mentioned was that alongside these books, the auction house catalog is advertising a veritable who’s who, or what’s what, list of early Alice printed collectibles:
not one, but two editions of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, one of which is a first edition, presentation copy inscribed by the author to the mother of Edith Blakemore.
a first edition of The Nursery “Alice”, one of twelve specially bound as samples for the American market
a first edition of the Wonderland Postage Stamp Case, inscribed to “Miss Wordsworth [great niece of William Wordsworth], from the Inventor. May, 1891.” (A potential steal, listed at $1,000 -$1,500. Don’t you wish you had bought one for a shilling when you had the chance?)
An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves “Alice”, inscribed to Edith Blakemore from Lewis Carroll. “Four-page pamphlet written on the celebration of Easter for young readers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
and of course lot 28: “Through the Looking-Glass, First Edition, the Dedication Copy, presented to the original Alice by Lewis Carroll and signed by her …with misprint “wade” for “wabe” on page 21.”
an original ink drawing of Edith Blakemore by Dodgson, “in a bathing costume, holding a bucket and spade, leaning against the wheel of a bathing machine.”
a letter from Dodgson sending a specimen of his stamp case “…Would you kindly furnish me with the addresses of any Stationers (doing a good amount of business) to whom it would be worth my while to send a specimen-copy of my new Stamp-Case…?”
another first edition of Through the Looking-Glass, this one with two original pencil drawings by Tenniel on the half-title signed “Ever yours, JT”.
#743 of 1,500 copies of the 1932 Limited Editions Club print of Wonderland and Looking-Glass, signed “Alice Hargreaves”
Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing, inscribed by Lewis Carroll to Alice Blakemore, the mother of one of his child-friends.
and finally, an original John Tenniel drawing of the sleeping Gryphon (list price $60,000-$80,000!)
The items are being auctioned by Profiles in History on December 16th, the same Hollywood memorabilia dealer selected to auction Michael Jackson’s be-gemed and illuminated glove. Full descriptions and images of all the Alice items can be viewed in a pdf of the catalog, available on their website.
The book uses new information to unravel the reason why Carroll’s friendship with Alice Liddell’s family came to an end.
* It shows that Alice Liddell was not the “Alice” of the books, although she was the reason that they were written. * It gives clues to a secret which dominated (and in some ways ruined) Carroll’s personal life. * It shows how a supposedly minor acquaintance got Carroll into major trouble – trouble which never appeared into his diaries. * It explains how Carroll’s love of little girls, though unusual, was not paedophiliac.
Her site’s blog, From Somewhere in Time, has interesting insights into the rigmarole of publishing a Lewis Carroll book. Like, the most recent post is a discussion on what color the clouds on the cover will be:
I’d prefer a pink or blue background- grey looks too gloomy.