One golden afternoon on 4 July 1862, Charles Dodgson, an Oxford don, took the 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating picnic up the River Thames from Folly Bridge in Oxford. To amuse the children he told them a story about a little girl, sitting bored by a riverbank, who finds herself tumbling down a rabbit hole into a topsy-turvy world called Wonderland.
The story so delighted Alice that she begged him to write it down – the result was the 1864 handwritten manuscript Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. This original manuscript, which was prepared as a gift for Alice Liddell, is now in the British Library and is available to view on their website. The following year the manuscript was published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland under the pen name Lewis Carroll, with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. A sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, was published in 1871.
Alice’s Day commemorates an important moment for children’s literature and for Oxford. Alice became one of the most popular, most widely quoted and most widely translated children’s book ever written, with editions even in Esperanto and shorthand. It marked the birth of modern children’s literature. After Alice, children’s books became less stuffy and more entertaining. Oxford became a world centre of children’s stories and inspirational home to many authors and illustrators.
The next Alice’s Day will take place on Saturday 1 July 2017
What better place to celebrate the original masterpiece of illogic and nonsense?
If what's happening at the union wasn't happening to real people's lives who'd believe it. "... curiouser and curiouser ..."