Welcome to the LCSNA’s blog, where you can read regular updates about Lewis Carroll’s influence on all aspects of life. Please keep in mind that these posts are informational only; we do not endorse any link, statement or product cited below unless we specifically state that within the post. Also, the bloggers do not speak for the LCSNA as a whole. We hope you’ll visit often to review the posts and add comments.
The 2-hour 1970 ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française) production, described in The Annotated Alice 150 as a “burlesque with stunning visual and auditory overlay” has recently been found on YouTube by Adriana Peliano, to whom we give thanks. With English subtitles. Nine-year-old Marie-Véronique Maurin stars as Alice.
Adriana says she loves it, calling it “not impeccable but very creative,” and goes on to say that it was “directed by the provocateur Jean-Christophe Averty, a purveyor of French video art and director of experimental films such as Ubu Roi (1965) and Salvador Dali: A Soft Self-Portrait (1970). It features a moving collage of live action, animation, graphic design, and puppetry, creating psychedelic kaleidoscopes. The color palette is also original, clashing with iconic references. This Wonderland is more challenging and bewildering than most Alice movies, and at the same time the Alice character is less naïve than usual. Instead, she is often angry and moody, defying the disturbing characters and obstacles she encounters, including discussions with herself as a double. Averty’s Alice may not be wonderful—it has technical and aesthetic limitations that make it dated—but it is curious and stands out for its alicedelic daring creativity.”
We all remember the legendary photographer’s fashion spread using Wonderland imagery for the December 2003 Vogue. Her new book, Wonderland, a collection of her fashion photography, will be released by Phaidon on November 17, and not only includes that spread, but the book “was built on it,” according to a review in the New York Times.
The above article pretty much says everything else we know thus far, and includes the quote, “The book also reawakened memories of [Liebovitz’s partner Susan] Sontag. Leibovitz reminisced about the time Sontag read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to her. ‘We had blankets under a tree’ she said. ‘It was such a beautiful day, and Susan had such a wonderful voice.’”
Quick: what, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, is the fastest-growing constructed language in the world? Esperanto? Elvish? No, Klingon!
Klingon translations of works of world literature have been published, among which are The Epic of Gilgamesh, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Tao Te Ching, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and The Little Prince.
And now, at long last, Lieven L. Litaer has translated Wonderland into Klingon, QelIS boqHarmey, and even provided a back-translation into English, along with an appendix about the process.
The “Alice in Wonderland”–themed cover of the September 18–24 issue of The Economist led to an article investigating the weird world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies, and blockchains. On October 26th the auction of an NFT of that cover raised 99.9 ether, equivalent to nearly $422,000! It will be donated to The Economist Educational Foundation, an independent charity that teaches young people to analyze current affairs.
Our sister society in the Netherlands, the Lewis Carroll Genootschap, will be producing a facsimile of the first Dutch Alice, Lize’s Avonturen in het Wonderland, in 300 numbered copies, bound with dust jacket (72 pages), with essays in English and Dutch. It can be ordered here (€40 +€20 postage to the U.S.), but won’t be mailed until after the launch on October 29 (below). Reserve your copy today!
The book came out in 1875 in a truly stunning edition printed with chromolithography (up to a dozen layers of color printing, impossible to duplicate today). It was seriously abridged (20 pages), but we celebrate this facsimile, as there are only a very few known complete copies in the world. This was, after all, the very first Alice published in full color anywhere!
Peter J. Solomon, that is, whose exhibit “Animals Are Us: Anthropomorphism in Children’s Literature” celebrates his recent, generous donation of material from the Peter and Susan Solomon Collection of Children’s Literature to the newly renovated Houghton Library at Harvard and runs September 1, 2021–January 7, 2022.
As he puts it in his introduction, “As I became more adventuresome, I acquired a copy of the virtually unobtainable 1865 ‘suppressed’ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and a first edition of Through the Looking Glass with thirty-eight bound-in original drawings by John Tenniel, as well as a number of other books, letters, and drawings by Carroll and Tenniel. The exhibit includes Carroll’s nine ink drawings—the copies of Tenniel’s illustrations he created for Alice Liddell so she could see them prior to the book’s publication. I even bought the pocket watch owned by Oxford don Charles Dodgson.”
Of course, those items represent a very small fraction of the exhibit, the superb catalog of which is available to read here or download as a .pdf. Or take a virtual-reality tour of the exhibit here.
Of course we all remember Morpheus saying, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes” from the first Matrix classic film. Well, if you watch the trailer for the latest sequel (Matrix Resurrections, coming in December), many more Carrollian references abound, at least according to this Vanity Fair post (which IMHO stretches things a bit, although some of the references—going through the mirror, the song “White Rabbit,” a glimpse of a copy of Wonderland/Looking-Glass, etc.—cannot be denied). But there’s more!
Many of you knew my beloved dad, Sandor, a major Carroll collector, medical scholar, and president emeritus of our Society. For the last 17 years of his life he lived in a lovely dwelling on Vallejo St. in San Francisco. The movie trailer (and perhaps the movie?) opens on a shot of this very house!!!! Where else would a movie about the Wonderland of dueling realities take place?
A few seconds later, the psychiatrist (Neal Patrick Harris) in profile, looks out our living room window. When they filmed at and around the house for five days in February, 2020, we had no idea if we’d end up on the cutting-room floor, much less that it would be so prominent! (Not to mention that Grace Slick, who sings the song, was a patient of Dad’s during the time in which the song was recorded. And my stepmother, Beth, still lives in the house.)
The French company Opéra national du Rhin Ballet will be presenting Alice from Feb. 11-13 (2022) in Mulhouse and Feb. 18-19 in Strasbourg. “With a new score by Philip Glass, a figurehead of American minimalism, choreographers Amir Hosseinpour and Jonathan Lunn reimagine and reinvent Carroll’s fantastical world. Freed from the original narrative, the dancers of the OnR Ballet play a new gallery of contemporary creatures and characters, joined by actor Sunnyi Melles.” More info here.
(As we speak, their blurb contains the unfortunate phrase “Lewis Carroll dreamt up a strange and wonderful world where … silkworms are opium addicts …” and I have written to them about it.)
A £5 coin marking the sesquicenTenniel of Through The Looking-Glass has been launched by the Royal Mint to complement one depicting a Wonderland scene released in July. You can get them individually (£13 for monochrome; £20 for colored; £65 for silver; £650 for ¼ oz. gold; £2,440 for 1 oz. gold ) or as a set.
And these I do not sell for gold Or coin of silvery shine …