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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!

Today, January 27, is Lewis Carroll's birthday. If he were alive today, he'd be 182 years old. Mathematician(some of his jokes in Alice are maths-based), humorous writer, photographer (though that's him in the above pic, with a family he was friendly with, so someone else took it) - he was multitalented. 

I first read Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass when I was in Grade 1 and named my first doll Alice after the heroine. I know a lot of the jokes went over my head, having read the books again as an adult, and when I did, I thought, how very Victorian! But kids have loved it for a long time. It has been turned into plays, musicals, cartoons, movies, you name it.

While he wasn't exactly the Terry Pratchett of his day, I think these two masters of the absurd would have a lot to say to each other, perhaps over a pint.

When I was in England once, I went to Oxford to visit a friend. She'd been caught in a staff meeting, as I later learned(this was before mobile phones)so after waiting an hour, I decided that I'd just plunge into the streets of Oxford and see what I could find as a tourist. 

What I found was Christ Church College, where Lewis Carroll worked, and, across the road, the shop on which Tenniel, Carroll's illustrator, based the shop run by the sheep in Through The Looking Glass, now an Alice-themed souvenir shop called Alice's Old Sheep Shop.

My day was not wasted.

If you haven't read the Alice books, why not borrow one from the library? Download them from Project Gutenberg? I'm going to do a reread in honour of the day. 


Sheeprustler said...

I first read Alice at the age of 5 with the original illustrations. I loathe the Disneyfied versions but have enjoyed some wonderful Surrealist films by other people. I think the madness of Alice has always stuck with me - at the age of 5 that just seems like another version of normal and it never left me.

Sue Bursztynski said...

True. And there's something very dreamlike about all of it, which makes sense because it all *is* a dream.