Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.[1] It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The tale is filled with allusions to Dodgson’s friends. The tale plays with logic in ways that have given the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children.[2] It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the “literary nonsense” genre,[2][3] and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential,[3] especially in the fantasy genre.

Alice was written in 1865, exactly three years after the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed in a boat up the River Thames with three young girls:[4]

  • Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13, born 1849) (“Prima” in the book’s prefatory verse)
  • Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10, born 1852) (“Secunda” in the prefatory verse)
  • Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8, born 1853) (“Tertia” in the prefatory verse).

The three girls were the daughters of Henry George Liddell, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church as well as headmaster of Westminster School. Most of the book’s adventures were based on and influenced by people, situations and buildings in Oxford and at Christ Church, e.g., the “Rabbit Hole” which symbolized the actual stairs in the back of the main hall in Christ Church. It is believed that a carving of a griffon and rabbit, as seen in Ripon Cathedral, where Carroll’s father was a canon, provided inspiration for the tale.[5]

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