One of our mimsy minions reports that the UK publication The Guardian includes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as one of the 100 best novels.
I would, however, readily dispute the author’s description of Alice as “a story about a quite bad-tempered child that is not really for children.” The minute a writer claims the Alice books aren’t for children, I know that he or she has never actually put one of the books in front of a child of the right age to appreciate it! Just because adults can appreciate the writing doesn’t mean that children can’t. In fact, if he were really to look at why the two books have become timeless, it’s due in large part to the fact that they speak to all ages.
And I’m not sure where he gets the idea that Alice is “bad-tempered.” Is it a sign of ill temper to let other people know when they’re behaving badly? I’ve always admired Alice for being strong-minded enough to set her own limits with the denizens of Wonderland. The average Victorian heroine wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes in Wonderland! And I’m quite sure her behavior delighted the Liddell girls, as it continues to delight many of us today.
I will also note that in the comments below the article, the author rightly praises The Hunting of the Snark but makes the misguided statement that “It’s not really a book, but a long poem….” Hmmm….last time I checked my first edition, it looked like a book. It really did.
To read the article, click me.
As you likely know, January 27th was the birth anniversary of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. The UK publication The Guardian posted a quiz in honor of his birth.
To take their fun Alice Quiz, click me.
Image from Atomic Antelope's Alice iPad app
There’s more discussion on the Alice pop-up book app for the iPad (originally mentioned here in the post Through the LED Screen). The Atomic Antelope app ($9, or a free demo) is the original Carroll text with interactive animated illustrations based on Tenniel. Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy is ruminating on all of this over at the Guardian this week.
…But this is nothing compared to Alice for the iPad. You can throw tarts at the Queen of Hearts, help the Caterpillar smoke his hookah pipe, make Alice grow as big as a house and then shrink again. You can watch as “the Mad Hatter gets even madder”, and throw pepper at the Duchess. Over the 52 pages of the app there are 20 animated scenes. Each illustration has been taken from the original book and has been made gravity-aware, responding to a shake, tilt or the touch of a finger. The story is never the same twice, because users are Alice’s guide through Wonderland. The Caterpillar will smoke his hookah in a new way when you tilt your iPad, or you can throw more pepper the second time around.