Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

1. Introduction

There are several reasons why I have chosen the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as the topic for my term paper. The main reason is that I have been fascinated by Alice’s adventures as a series on TV since I was about six years old. I was curious about the overworked rabbit, racked by brain about how Alice would only be able to reach the golden key on the table and I got even more nervous when I saw the Queen than the Knaves of Hearts did. What I did not understand then was that Alice has fallen asleep in the beginning and all she is experiencing is “only” a dream. However, my illusion has been destroyed when I first read the book at the age of about 12 and I must admit it was then when I lost some of my fascination for Alice.

As I read the book again as a preparation for the Proseminar a few months ago I soon started to focus on a certain aspect which I could not let go of and which brought back my fascination for Alice’s Adventures. It is also the reason I have chosen this topic for my term paper: I am very much interested in the circumstances of the time, in this case the Victorian Age, and the various influences on a person like Lewis Carroll in connection with his ability to create such a powerful, imaginative and attractive idea of a wonderland. I would like to know what kind of person can make up such a story? I have chosen the title “Inventing Wonderland”, which is the name of a book by Jackie Wullschläger, because it precisely expresses the focus of my term paper.

I think the reason why I am interested in this aspect is the following: About three years ago I stayed one year as an Au Pair for a family in Rhode Island. It took me a while to discover how to attract the attention of a 4-year-old, his name was Carter, when the situation required it to be calm. But: I placed young Carter as an additional friend of his favourite character Winnie the Pooh in the centre of a new Pooh-plot and tried to invent an exciting story with dangerous adventures as he sat on my lap listening more carefully than he had ever done before. I was successful, but of course and without understatement my stories were not in the least as fanciful and imaginative as Carroll’s, not to mention were they worth publishing.

And it was exactly this situation, Carter sitting on my lap, that I ...

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As I have already claimed above, I think it is important get at least some idea of the “Zeitgeist”, in which a book was written, in order to understand its significance. From my point of view, being interested in the background factors of an author’s life and era not only helps to get a better understanding of the meaning of a book, but it also makes me appreciate it more. I think everyone acts and speaks according to what he or she is influenced by. If this is determining for the value a book is another question, but I think it is important that it is up to everyone if he or she would like to know more about the author.

7. Bibliography

Blake, Kathleen. Play, Games, and Sport. The Literary works of Lewis Carroll. London: Cornell University Press. 1974.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1984.

http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net . 25/01/05

Schwab, Gabriele. The Mirror and the Killer-Queen. Otherness in Literary Language. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Wullschläger, Jackie. Inventing Wonderland. The Lives of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, J.M. Barrie, Kenneth Grahame and A.A. Milne. Rev.ed. London: Methuen, 2001.

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