Join Kate’s VIP Club Now!

Follow Me

FacebookPinterestTwitter

Kate's Blog

Subscribe RSS

BOOK REVIEW: THE ALICE BEHIND WONDERLAND by Simon Winchester

Thursday, March 17, 2016




THE BLURB:

Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics at Oxford, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of Christ College dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London. It was summer, 1858.

Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image--as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation--as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature.

Dodgson's love of photography framed his view of the world, and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" than meets the eye. 

Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

On a summer's day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, a shy and half-deaf mathematician named Charles Dodgson photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with his new camera. 

She was barefoot and dressed in rags, posing as a beggar-girl, and looks at the camera with a look of preternatural worldliness. Her dress has been pulled from her shoulder to show one small nipple. 

Eight years later, Charles Dodgson became Lewis Carroll and his book Alice in Wonderland became a publishing sensation.

Simon Winchester has used this famous and troubling photograph as a launch pad for an exploration of the life and work of Lewis Carroll, his fascination with photography, and the ongoing speculation about the nature of his relationship with Alice Liddell.

It’s a fascinating account, beautifully written, and an excellent entry point for anyone interested in the story behind Alice in Wonderland.

I'D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:



Subscribe RSS

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive


Blogs I Follow