1. The original title of Alice in Wonderland is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was written by Charles Dodgson, whose pen name was Lewis Carroll.
2. The protagonist of the story was modelled on Alice Lidell, the daughter of a friend. She and her sisters were on a boat trip with Dodgson, when he started telling the story. The girls liked it so much that they asked him to write it down. In February, 1864, he wrote a manuscript, Alice’s Adventures Underground, but its whereabouts are not known. Later that year, Dodgson presented Alice Liddell with another manuscript that he had illustrated himself, as a Christmas gift. He was asked to publish it by a family friend, so he worked on it and expanded it. The title was changed to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was published by Macmillan & Co in 1865, but the illustrator disapproved of the print quality, so copies were recalled. Finally, it was published in November, 1865, though the publishing date was marked as 1866.
3. Dodgson used the pen name, Lewis Carroll because his name was associated with more serious and scholarly work. His full name was Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and he was a mathematician and logician, lecturing at Oxford. He was also a deacon, hence the title Reverend.
4. The artist who illustrated the published book was Sir John Tenniel. He was a renowned illustrator and was a cartoonist for Punch magazine. He was knighted by Queen Victoria for his artistic achievements.
5. In 1889, the story of Alice was re-written for very young children. Tenniel’s illustrations were enlarged and printed in colour.
6. The story does not follow a set format; it is, instead, replete with strange occurrences, and Alice finds herself in bewildering situations. The anthropomorphic characters seem to resemble people we meet in our everyday lives, but the things they say twist familiar truisms to mean something quite different.
7. Themes in Alice in Wonderland have been discussed by readers and critics alike. Alice’s constantly changing size is thought to represent the changes that take place during the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. Alice finds the creatures in Wonderland illogical and irrational. This may signify a child’s confusion when confronted with the rules and regulations of the adult world. The story mentions a number of games, the rules of which Alice must master. This is a necessary part of growing up.
8. Lewis Carroll’s use of puns and play on words are clever and amusing. This also shows how language can be confusing, or unclear. The parodies of poems popular at the time are so well written that most of them are now better known than the originals. How Doth the Little Crocodile is standard fare in schools but Against Idleness and Mischief, the original poem, has all but been forgotten. Similarly, The Lobster Quadrille and Turtle Soup are remembered only on their own merit. Many of the poems in Victorian times were meant to instruct children; perhaps that is why they found the comic rhymes of Lewis Carroll so delightful.
9. In 1871, Lewis Carroll published Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. In this book Alice climbs through a mirror. This book is also filled with memorable characters, and contains the famous poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter. The two books are often published in a single edition.
10. Though the literary reviewers in the Victorian era did not give Carroll’s books rave reviews, the public appreciated them, and they have never been out of print. The influence of both books on current literature and films is very strong. They are still enjoyed by children as well as adults.