Evertype re-publishes the first German translation, Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are, I understand, to be published for the first time in German. When I first learned this important fact, it surprised me for a moment, for I had thought that both these classics had by this time passed into all civilized tongues; but after some little reflection, I soon realized that if they had been popular in Germany, we should have known about it. It is not difficult to imagine what will happen when the Alice books are well known there, for we know what happened to Shakespeare. A cloud of commentators with gather, and a thousand solemn Teutons will sit down to write huge volumes of comment and criticism; they will contrast and compare the characters (there will even be a short chapter on Bill the Lizard), and will offer numerous conflicting interpretations of the jokes. After that, Freud and Jung and their followers will inevitably arrive upon the scene, and they will give us appalling volumes on Sexualtheorie of Alice in Wonderland, on the Assoziationsfähigkeit und Assoziationsstudien of Jabberwocky, on the inner meaning of the conflict between Tweedledum and Tweedledee from the psychoanalytische und psychopathologische points of view.

-J.B. Priestley, “A Note on Humpty Dumpty”, 1921.

While Priestley was prophetically correct about the imminent psycho-analysis of Wonderland (and, obviously, not just by Germans), he was incorrect about that being the first German translation published in the 1920s. Antonie Zimmermann’s translation of Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland was published in 1869, the first ever translation of Alice into another language. Michael Everson is taking the considerable risk (according to Priestley) exposing the classic tale to Germans once again by re-publishing the original Zimmermann. (His wonderful Evertype publishing house released nine Carroll titles in 2009, and is so far sparing no moments this year with some new fascinating versions, parodies, and rare translations – – more at alice-in-wonderland-books.com.) Aus dem Klappentext:

Lewis Carroll ist ein Pseudonym. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson war der eigentliche Name des Autors; er war Dozent für Mathematik am Christ Church College in Oxford. Dodgson begann die Geschichte am 4. Juli 1862 bei einer Ruderpartie auf der Themse in Oxford, zusammen mit Pfarrer Robinson Duckworth, mit Alice Liddell (zehn Jahre) – der Tochter des Dekans der Christ Church –, und mit ihren beiden Schwestern Lorina (dreizehn Jahre) und Edith (acht Jahre). Wie man dem Gedicht am Anfang des Buches entnehmen kann, baten die drei Mädchen Dodgson um eine Geschichte und, zunächst widerwillig, begann er, ihnen die erste Version dieser Geschichte zu erzählen. Es gibt im Text des Buches, das schließlich im Jahre 1865 veröffentlicht wurde, viele versteckte Bezüge zu den fünf Personen.