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.
One thought on “Guardian List of 100 Best Novels Includes Alice in Wonderland”
Yes, The Hunting of the Snark is a book. The title is often quoted, but only a few seem to have read it carefully enough. The poem is a challenge. To me, as a German, it is even more challenging than to readers who learned English already in their childhood.
The book isn’t only a long poem, but also a challenging picture book. Take a closer look at Henry Holiday’s illustrations.
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