The New York website Woman Around Town has a series of articles about Alice this week, two quoting Lewis Carroll Society of North America president Andrew Sellon. From Charlene Giannetti’s obligatory round-up of Alice movies, “Lewis Carroll’s Alice—A Favorite for Film Makers”:
When Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland opens on Friday, March 5, the film will join many others that have sought to bring Lewis Carroll’s tales to the screen. “In terms of adapting [these books], it’s tricky,” says Andrew Sellon, President, Lewis Carroll Society of North America. “As written, they are not right for the medium.” Sellon explains that Carroll’s characters don’t encounter enough conflict to create the action necessary for a production on stage or in a film.
And from the same author’s “Alice in Wonderland—Timeless as the White Rabbit’s Watch”, which delves deeper into artistic and cultural influence:
The visual imagery as well as a cast of quirky, colorful characters, makes Alice’s story an attractive takeoff point for artists. The basic story is a familiar one: a young girl is lost far away from home and must find her way back. Along the way, Alice, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, meets some interesting personalities, uses her wits to survive, and, in the process, learns a lot about herself and what she holds dear. There’s a timelessness to that story that continues to draw people in, generation after generation.”This child enters these adult realms and sees adults behaving badly, handles herself quite well, and gains some measure of control over her life,” says Andrew Sellon, President, the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. “At some time we’ve all felt like Alice. What is this place we’re in and why are people doing this and who is making the rules? You can apply that almost anywhere.”
Mark Richards, Chairman of the Lewis Carroll Society, agrees. “Although it is easy to see [Alice in Wonderland] as a Victorian story, the conversations and characters are timeless and we can easily see them as being of our own time.” Richards adds that people are captivated by “the way in which Alice observes her surroundings and feels emotions throughout the book. The sense of wonder is very strong in the books and is felt by the reader.”
It continues with Sellon’s observations about reading the book to children and the perennial drug question.