CMRUBINWORLDAUTHOR


C. M. Rubin Writer Producer The Real Alice In Wonderland book and film www.cmrubin.com

Ask me anything

Submit Posts

Alice - Tea in Chicago

2013-09-08-cmrubinworldaliceteainchicago400.jpg"It’s a party in which the child within can play again and run with the imagination."— Ayala Leyser

I am going to a Mad Hatter Tea Party in Chicago. I’ll be sipping tea and talking utter nonsense with the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse, Alice and all the other fantastical characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. I’ll be surrounded by sculptures, 3D photography, paintings and prints - the wacky, whimsical and multi-media creations of wonderful participating artists, including JoJo Baby, Hans Ulrich, Marianna Buchwald, Scott Becker, Lynn Chalupa, Andrew DelaRosa, Jeff Hughart, Peter Jones, Ayala Leyser and Rainbow Kitty. It’s all happening in Chicago, Alice fans, and it begins September 14th at 6pm at the Out of Line Art Gallery. Perhaps I’ll tell them about the story behind this story.

On November 26, 1864, Lewis Carroll gave my relative, Alice Pleasance Liddell, a book he had written for her. He called the book Alice’s Adventures Underground after considering titles such as Alice’s Golden House, Alice Among the Elves, Alice Among the Goblins, and Alice’s Doings In Wonderland. Carroll had spent over two years writing and illustrating the book for Alice. It consisted of ninety-two pages covered with his print-like writing as well as thirty-seven of his own pen and ink drawings. The book given to Alice Liddell would change her life forever. The book would also change Carroll’s life, but it might never have happened if a young girl had not inspired the previously unpublished children’s book author to write the greatest children’s book of all time. Did you know that there are over 20,000 books, films, operas, plays and video games based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There? It is estimated that over 8 billion people have read or seen presentations of the “Alice” books. Lewis Carroll is behind only the Bible and Shakespeare in the number of quotations from the “Alice” books that appear in published discourse. In addition to the new adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll’s and Liddell’s lives continue to inspire numerous new books, works of art, and film projects. I think about this amazing legacy every time I’m invited to a tea party. I’m curious to explore the latest wonders created by world famous artists inspired by “a book given.” Ayala Leyser, artist, curator and owner of the Out of Line Gallery in Chicago, agreed to chat with me about them.

2013-09-08-cmrubinworldaliceteainchicago2500.jpg"Visitors can get into the story, a Wonderland experience, as they step through the door, greeted by the Red Queen, handed a Carroll’s quote card."— Ayala Leyser

What did Lewis Carroll’s Alice books mean to you when you were growing up?

Growing up in a different part of the world (Israel), the book swept me into an “exotic” sphere. Wonderland bewitched me, as it was full of surprises and magic. Yet there was something scary about Alice’s journey to an unfamiliar land. I admired this girl (my age then) for her curiosity and adventurous spirit. I wanted to be like her. I wondered how she overcame her fears while making her way through the rabbit hole and interacting with some wonderful odd characters so naturally, all the while being herself. Perhaps Alice played a part in the way I grew up. Always curious and intrigued by unfamiliar cultures and people, I studied social anthropology, later psychology, traveled extensively in different parts of the world and became a psychotherapist and an artist later on in life.

2013-09-08-cmrubinworldaliceteainchicago5400.jpg"Carroll’s books are some of the most fascinating multi-dimensional storybooks one can find. His boundless imagination, aesthetic, picturesque appeal, an implicit invitation for one’s own interpretation." —Ayala Leyser

Why do you believe Carroll’s books continue to inspire artists the world over?

Carroll’s books are some of the most fascinating multi-dimensional storybooks one can find. His boundless imagination, aesthetic, picturesque appeal, an implicit invitation for one’s own interpretation, the magic, defying an attachment to familiarity or to the rules of logic, the endless paths one can take from somewhere to nowhere, the allegories pertaining to humanity alluding to ambiguity, rather than to a binary order…ironically coming from a math professor!

What can visitors to The Mad Hatter Tea Party exhibit expect to discover when they come?

Visitors can get into the story, a Wonderland experience, as they step through the door, greeted by the Red Queen, handed a Carroll’s quote card. They are asked to use it at least once, perhaps reading it aloud while addressing someone else. They will walk through art objects spread throughout the gallery, and when they make it through to the end, they will reach the bar counter manned by the March Hare.

2013-09-08-cmrubinworldaliceteainchicago3500.jpg"As it always has been, imagination is the key to human progress." — Ayala Leyser

What does this exhibit mean to you? What are your personal favorites in the exhibit and why?

This exhibit is more of a participatory show; it’s a party in which the child within can play again and run with the imagination. I was thrilled by the passion and playfulness of all the participating artists who had fun while we curated the space. The closest thing to my heart is my sculptural tea party. It is a project of love that took me over a year to finish. My interpretation of the tea party was more benevolent than some other versions. My depiction of the various characters was as all different and unfamiliar to each other, yet displaying no fear, just having a good time. It’s my vision for humanity: no insiders/outsiders, only one pluralistic humanity. Something in me refuses to end this project, since I find myself continuously moving and altering the scene…

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s books. How do you imagine yourself as an Alice fan celebrating this global event?

I would have another participatory Wonderland costume party, with readings, plays, Alice movies, talks about the rich layers in Carroll’s writings, their historical meanings and their relevance today. Trying to do both: relive Wonderland once more, and also set it as a dream for a future of no fear of the unfamiliar, the ambiguous and the boundless. As it always has been, imagination is the key to human progress.

For more information on The Mad Hatter Tea Party in Chicago:http://www.outoflineartstudio.com/?p=269

2013-09-08-cmrubinworldayalaleyser300.jpgC.M. Rubin and Ayala Leyser

(All Photos are courtesy of Ayala Leyser)

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice in WonderlandLewis CarrollAlice's Adventures in WonderlandThrough the Looking GlassC. M. RubinChicago ArtsMad Hatter Tea PartyAlice LiddellWonderland

Alice - In Germany

Annelies Štrba - Nyima 438, 2009. Courtesy Annelies Štrba and Frith Street Gallery, London.© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

Ever since Lewis Carroll gave the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland to 10-year-old Alice Liddell as an early Christmas gift in 1864, the visualization of the story has been an integral aspect of the work. From the late 19th century to the present day, visual artists around the world have found their own ways to reflect and portray the imaginative dreamlike world first discovered by an extremely curious and courageous little girl. So what do Carroll’s “Alice” books mean to Germans young and old?

The Hamburger Kunsthalle is now presenting its own Alice in the Wonderland of Art exhibition, a considerably modified version of the Alice in Wonderland exhibits shown earlier this year at the Tate Liverpool (UK) and the MART Rovereto (Italy). The exhibit features many new works drawn from Hamburger Kunsthalle’s own collection as well as from other major international museums and private collections. I asked the Curator of the exhibit, Dr. Annabelle Görgen-Lammers, to take me down the rabbit hole and talk me through the fantastic experience that visitors to the Hamburger Kunsthalle have in store.

Thorsten Brinkmann - Bertha von Schwarzflug mit Zahmesdunkel, 2010.Courtesy Galerie Mathias Günther. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

What do Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” books mean to Germans young and old?

Most Germans seem to remember Carroll’s “Alice” from their childhood. Their parents have read it to them and they have read it to their children, or they have seen one of the multiple “Alice” films. Thus for most visitors, the first association with the exhibition is going back into their own childhood and rediscovering the childhood feelings and childhood questions. However, especially with the last popular film (by Tim Burton), “Alice” has become very popular with all people. Finally, with cult-films of the 1990s like Matrix referring to scenes from “Alice”, mid-life people started to rediscover the wide range of interpretations and different layers of the story. As “Alice” has become part of the collective memory worldwide, and this to a great degree based on the multiple films, we also placed an emphasis on film rooms with artistic interpretations of the story from the very first film (1903) onwards. We also added historical and recent popular theatre references — costumes and films — of productions our public in Germany remembers (e.g. a Robert Wilson show with music from Tom Waits).

What can visitors to the Hamburger Kunsthalle “Alice in the Wonderland of Art” exhibit expect to discover when they visit?

The broad range of media on show demonstrates the variety of approaches to this subject matter, and with a special mise-en-scene, the exhibition transforms itself into a striking visual wonderland. Visitors can thus expect to discover new information on the making and reception of the story and exhibits of the highest art-historical quality. In addition, they also can expect to dive emotionally and psychically into a wonderland themselves. They are confronted with very sensual art works, film rooms and whole room installations, in which their own bodies will seem to have shrunk together or expanded like Alice’s. With these corporal experiences they can start to understand in an emotional way all the metamorphoses Alice had to go through. They actually can experience what it is like to be confronted with repeated metamorphoses of the rooms, the language, the images, and their own bodies, and thus they can experience what it means to be confronted like Alice with the constant metamorphoses of your very self.

Pipilotti Rist - Das Zimmer, 1994. Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof.© Courtesy Pipilotti Rist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Stefan Rohner.

What will make the Kunsthalle’s exhibit unique in contrast to the Mart and the Tate version?

The artistic reflections on the subject of Alice in Wonderland clearly show that hidden within this apparently simple children’s story is an intricate web of references to the history of ideas, principles of logic and philosophical concerns. At the same time it is a highly entertaining story that contains many absurd, alogical or nonsense elements, and it is also peppered with subtle wit and irony. The imaginative dream-like world of the narrative thus allows existential issues to be explored in a “playful way.” We took this “playful way” of experiencing highly philosophical questions “seriously.” We took it as a model for our additions and remodeling of the exhibition. We added more than 20 additional artistic positions. Amongst others, we added fascinating works of very well-known artists like Pipilotti Rist, Leonor Fini, and Sir John Tenniel. We added major works of well-known German artists such as Stephan Balkenhol, and room-installations of Stephan Huber, but we also included very playful, sensual works of unknown young artists such as an interactive installation of the Finnish artist Hanna Haaslahti. In addition, we arranged the exhibition in a completely new way. We quit the strict chronology and invented a course of metamorphoses that the visitor can experience himself. To help the public, which may not be completely clear anymore on the fascinating ideas and texts of the original book, we placed in every room one of the illustrations of John Tenniel, like a motto, introducing the specific topics and social or philosophical questions to which the artists displayed in the room refer.

Sir Peter Blake - Illustrationen für Through the Looking-Glass, 1970. Tate Collection.© Peter Blake 2002. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

Can you tell us about some of the German artists and writers that have been inspired by Lewis Carroll’s works? Are any of these important artists or their works featured in the Kunsthalle exhibit?

We added a lot of important works by international as well as German artists such as Max Ernst, Richard Oelze, Thorsten Brinkmann, Stephan Balkenhol, and Stephan Huber. Stephan Huber’s room installation for example consists of a tiny, secret door through which all visitors have to pass, to encounter behind this a giant hat of more than 2 meters size, which finally speaks to you, citing experiences that Alice had.

Do you think Germans are aware of the story behind the story, i.e. that Alice Liddell was Carroll’s inspiration for the story and also that many of the characters in the book were inspired by her family and her environment?

I think after the visit to the exhibition, which includes a lot of material on Dodgson and the Liddell family, the visitor’s view on Alice is enriched on not only this point. As I have already experienced in the first weeks of the exhibition, this information is of great interest to the public who want to learn more about the historical background of this most imaginative story. Finally, we even have a photo by Dodgson of Alice Liddell as our main marketing motif and thus everyone dives into the wonderland by first getting to know the context of its creation.

Kiki Smith - Pool of Tears II (after Lewis Carroll), 2000.© Kiki Smith/Universal Limited Art Editions, Inc.

What does this exhibit mean to you?

I think it is a great chance for every visitor to rediscover himself and his own childhood dreams — the fears as well as the hopes, the fantastic as well as the cruel sides of growing up. Thus it is a chance to reflect on one’s own life, in addition to discovering fascinating and historically prominent artworks. In the two years preparation, I myself had the chance by diving back into the book again to completely fall in love again with the story, its wit, and its deep content. Even if Wonderland is cruel in some parts, Carroll showed us that humor is a way to solve things. It is a highly philosophical book, which can be read on different layers like the exhibition we created about it and out of its spirit.

What are some of your personal favorites in the exhibits?

As I am a specialist on surrealist art, I highly respect and value the reflection of the book by the surrealists, such as in Max Ernst’s “Alice from 1941.” But I also love the room installations allowing the spectator to become a playful participant and forcing him or her to reflect on his or her own identity. I highly appreciate the fascinating art films on Carroll’s inventions, such as Jan Svankmeier’s film, Jabberwocky, or Gary Hills’ Come on Petunia. But indeed, as in Wonderland, it is not the single encounter or one single work which puts things into question, it is the whole deliberately incoherent flow of the story and thus the totality of our reworked exhibition which is my favorite.

For more information on the Hamburger Kunsthalle “Alice” exhibit

  Dr. Annabelle Görgen-Lammers and C. M. Rubin

All photos are courtesy of the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Alice Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 
Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice in the Wonderland of ArtAlice in WonderlandAlice in Wonderland art and filmsAlice LiddellAlice's Adventures in WonderlandC. M. RubinCharles DodgsonAnnelies StrbaKiki SmithLewis CarrollDr. Annabelle Görgen-LammersMax ErnstHamburger KunsthalleThe Real Alice in Wonderland bookSir Peter BlakeSir John Tenniel

Alice: Why July 7, 2012

Oxford, England’s historic city, and the surrounding area will be the great stage for considerably curious goings-on this July 7, 2012.

Why July 7, 2012?

"All in a summer’s afternoon full leisurely we glide; for both our oars, with little skill, by little hands are plied…" — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

July 7, 2012 is the beginning of a weekend of Alice-related events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first telling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Alice Liddell and her sisters. The Alice story begins at Christ Church, Oxford.

Why Christ Church in Oxford?

"And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

It was at Christ Church, Oxford that Charles Dodgson (pen name Lewis Carroll) first met the children of then-Dean Henry Liddell (head of the College). Their names were Harry, Alice, Lorina and Edith. Dodgson was photographing the College Cathedral from the Deanery garden. While in the process, he was approached by Alice and her two sisters who wanted to be photographed. A friendship blossomed and they became regular visitors to his rooms, and Dodgson to their nursery. During the long process of sitting to have their photographs taken, Dodgson would tell the children stories to keep them entertained. He was inspired by familiar things and people in the surrounding town when telling these stories. Hence, Christ Church College and other parts Oxford played a very important part in the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Since 2008, the Story Museum of Oxford has produced Alice’s Day to celebrate Carroll’s famous stories. “This year being the 150th anniversary, we have some special events lined up to make the weekend extra special,” said The Story Museum’s Marketing and Communications Director, Cath Nightingale. Special events such as performances by Curious Company.

Why Curious Company?

"Every time I perform I am inspired by the encounters I have with complete strangers, privileged encounters allowed only by the rules of fantasy and the imagination." 
— Louise Rennie, producer/performer/owner of Curious Company.

My daughter Gabriella and I first experienced Curious Company in 2008. And if you come to our book signing at Waterstone’s in Oxford on July 7, you will discover why we featured them in our book, The Real Alice in Wonderland. On Alice’s Day, Curious Company will be staging another one of its now famously innovative Alice in Wonderland themed performances on the streets and in other public spaces around the city of Oxford. This gem of a theatrical organization revels in bringing something magical and memorable to each presentation that guarantees to take everyone down the rabbit hole and show him a really good time. “We are gatekeepers to Wonderland,” explains Louise Rennie. “We make theater that wraps itself around the audience; they stop being audience if they even ever thought they were in the first place.” On July 7, performances are built around the themes of Cards and Croquet.

Why the Cards?

"Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose-tree and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find out, we should all have our heads cut off." 
— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Cards have a simple but important job to do in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and that is to paint the roses RED! The penalty for failure is fatal, so their motivation is strong. What can we expect from Curious Company’s 5-handed card game?

"Being cards as well as soldiers," explains Louise, "they perform complex and seemingly pointless marching routines all prompted by the language of card games, such as ‘cut’, ‘split’ and ‘shuffle’, and offer up card tricks to order. With healthy doses of slapstick, acrobatics, clowning and contemporary dance, the Cards animate all manner of spaces and will amuse all kinds of audiences."

The Cards will be dealt at The Story Museum in Oxford. All bids are raised as they split through the town to the Ashmolean Museum before shuffling across to the Museum of Natural History to play a game of Croquet with the Queen.

Why Croquet?

"The Queen! The Queen!" — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

On Alice’s Day when the Queen barks, “You DO play croquet!” members of the audience need to say “Yes!” and give her their best curtsey or bow. You will already know if you are a hoop or a hedgehog, so it is just a matter of whose team you are on. Either way, be prepared to keep the Queen happy. And if the Queen is in one of her moods (which is more than likely), you need to do what she tells you. Remember, the Queen likes to be flattered. Presents are good too.

The Rules of the Game?

"Rules? What rules?" says Louise. "Alice doesn’t have a chance!"

Why July 8, 2012?

"What is a Caucus Race?" asked Alice. — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

On Sunday, July 8, the day before the Olympic flame passes through Oxford, the organizers of Alice’s Day are turning convention on its head with their own eccentric forerunner to the Olympic Games. In the spirit of the original story, the Caucus Race is a…

"No room, No room!" cried the Editor.

Find out more about Alice’s Day in upcoming articles…

Photos courtesy of Curious Company.

Alice Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice In WonderlandAlice LiddellAlice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice's DayCharles DodgsonC. M. RubinCurious CompanyDean Henry LiddellChrist Church OxfordGabriella Rose RubinLewis CarrollOxfordThe Real Alice in WonderlandThe Story MuseumThe Ashmolean MuseumWonderlandOxford University Museum of Natural History

Alice — Victoria!

Welcome to the 2012 Victorian Extravaganza in Llandudno, the largest street entertainment event in Wales.

My Dearest Cousin Anne,

Have been invited to Llandudno in Wales first week of May to participate in the town’s annual Victorian Extravaganza celebrations. Shall also be doing book signings at Waterstones book store for my book, The Real Alice in Wonderland. Wondering if you would be interested in joining me?

*****

My Dear Cousin Cathy,

I’m in! I assume when you say Victorian Extravaganza, you’re referring to Victoria as in the British Queen (24 May, 1819 - 22 January, 1901); real name: Alexandrina Victoria; nickname: Drina. Born in England, only spoke German until age 3. Married first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, at age 16 (she had to propose to him because as Queen that was the protocol). Ascended British throne in 1837 at age 18. Had nine children who produced 42 grandchildren. Married them all off to members of European Royal families. Became known as the Great Grandmother of Europe(FYI, cousin — the present Queen, Elizabeth II and husband, Prince Phillip are both her great-great grandchildren!) Her 63-year, 7-month reign (the longest of any female monarch in history) is known as the Victorian Age, noted for great industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military innovation. Britain became most powerful country in the world, and Victoria, the ruler of one quarter of the world’s population. And she was only 5 feet tall! Hence her famous quote, “Everybody grows but me!”

*****

My Dearest Cousin Anne,

'Tis the one and same Victoria. I recall reading that a pair of her royal bloomers measured 50 inches around the waist (a 28 inch increase from her accession dress) in the 1890s. Alice in Wonderland might have commented, “Don't talk nonsense. You know you're growing too.”

Some historical trivia on the real Alice and Victoria: Alice Liddell and her family regularly spent holidays at their holiday home in Llandudno. Alice was actually romantically linked to Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold… it’s all in my book, The Real Alice in Wonderland!

On the subject of Llandudno, some interesting things two cousins should know: Kate and Wills (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) live close by in Anglesey. The town’s origins go back over 4000 years, thanks to some of the oldest and finest copper mines in the world. We could visit the oldest mine on Llandudno’s mountain, the Great Orme. We can take the tramway to the St. Tudno church at the summit, from which the town takes its name. The great Victorian transformation of the town into the largest seaside resort began in 1809. By 1864, it was known as “Queen of the Welsh Resorts.” Along its North Shore runs a wide curving Victorian promenade. An award-winning pier was built in 1878 (Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova appeared here). Building the pier had the same effect as building an airport. Holiday seekers begin arriving in droves to enjoy the beautiful scenery and breathe the clean sea air. We should check out Professor Codman’s Punch and Judy show, which opened in 1860 and remains open today near the entrance to the pier. The Happy Valley, originally a quarry that became an area of landscaped gardens (a gift to the town to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Victoria in 1887), has two miniature golf courses, a putting green and a popular open air theater. There are so many interesting hotels along the promenade. Where shall we stay cousin?

*****


My Dear Cousin Cathy,

Naturally, where the most famous have stayed. Some options…

The St. Georges Hotel: Past guests include Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), The Right Honorable William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98), The Right Honorable David Lloyd George (1863-1945), Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), and Lady Margaret Thatcher (1925 -). Other guests: French emperor Napoleon III and wife Eugenie, and Otto von Bismarck.

The Grand Hotel (featured in the film Yanks with Richard Gere): Past guests include Sir Winston Churchill, The Right Honorable David Lloyd George, Sir Oswald Mosley, The Right Honorable Clement Atlee, The Right Honorable Harold Wilson and Sir Edward Heath.

The Castle Hotel in Conwy: Past guests include the 18th-century author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, Victorian poet Charlotte Brontë and poet William Wordsworth.

What about the St Tudno? Alice Liddell and her family stayed there before building their holiday home, Penmorfa.

*****

My Dearest Cousin Anne,

Please surprise me! On other Victorian Extravaganza matters — some one million people are expected to descend on the town over the three day period. WE have been asked to join the town’s VIPs at the Queens Hotel for refreshments prior to commencement of the opening ceremony on May 5 and grand parade, after which WE shall be returning to the Queens Hotel for a light luncheon. Might I RSVP that WE shall indeed be honored to accept?

My Dear Cousin Cathy,

WE are honored to accept! Let street entertainers, steam engines, arts, crafts, vintage cars, parades, rides, theatrical performers, barrel organs, Victorian costumes and town criers transport us back in time to the age of Queen Victoria at the 2012 Victorian Extravaganza in Llandudno, Wales.

Are you nervous about having to speak at the opening ceremony Cousin?

*****

My Dearest Cousin Anne,

To answer your question, allow me to share one of my favorite Queen Victoria quotes:
"Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves."

See more of the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza

All photos are courtesy of Allan Cuthbertson.

With special thanks to Ffion Llwyd-Jones, Margaret Lyon, Cllr. Mayor Greg Robbins, Deborah Thompson, and Kimberley Barr.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice LiddellAlice in WonderlandC. M. RubinLlandudno WalesLewis CarrollPenformaQueen of Welsh ResortsThe Real Alice in Wonderland bookVictoriaVictorian AgeVictorian Extravaganza

Alice, Is This Cool?

"Johnny Depp has made it cool to like Alice," was Miss Alice Llandudno Nicol Thompson’s answer to my question — Why do children today still love Alice in Wonderland? With Johnny Depp’s 3-D visual spectacle of a movie currently standing at a worldwide gross of $1,024,299,904, I suspect he made Alice in Wonderland very cool for a lot of Disney executives too.

But what about serious Carroll fans? How do they view Disney’s 21st-century technological efforts to keep the legacy “cool”?

"Despite the errors and license used by Disney in the story, it is Disney that continues to bring Aliceto the children of today,” comments Lewis Carroll Society member Keith Wright (Chairman and Editor, Daresbury Chronicle). “Tim Burton’s Alice, although not an Alice that Lewis Carroll would recognize, did contain the Wonderland characters and used some of the text from the books.”

Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) wrote his Alice books for children. His inspiration for Alice, namely Alice Liddell, is the focus of a magnificent 160th birthday celebration in Llandudno, Wales on May 4, 2012.

"Charles Dodgson was a man who enjoyed teaching children; he liked a child with an inquiring mind but he was not a disciplinarian," adds Wright. And Alice Liddell was indeed a child with an inquiring mind. Her favorite expression was "Let’s pretend," and so it didn’t take long for her to become Mr. Dodgson’s favorite child. She adored the fun escape an undisciplined teacher offered in the disciplined world of Victorian life at Christ Church, Oxford during the mid 19th century. Mr. Dodgson would take Alice and her siblings on fun outings, which always included exciting storytelling. The most famous outing of all is the one credited with Dodgson’s first full telling ofAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This took place on Friday, July 4, 1862. Soon after hearing the story, young Alice pestered Mr. Dodgson to write it down for her. Thanks to Alice’s persistence, Mr. Dodgson (who had never written down any of his amazing tales) finally did create the book and presented it to her as an early Christmas gift on Nov. 26, 1864. The book, which took Dodgson 18 months to finish, and which he originally called Alice’s Adventures Underground, was handwritten and hand-illustrated by him.

      Miss Alice Llandudno, Nicol Thompson

Over 145 years later, artists and creators are still reaping huge rewards from adapting Lewis Carroll’s classic books for every form of media and for each new generation of audiences. Tim Burton and Disney opted to update the story so that it would be “cool” for today’s younger movie going audience. But how do literary societies such as the Lewis Carroll Society, which strive to preserve Carroll’s classics in their original format, feel about staying “cool” in terms of appealing to younger fans?

"There is no doubt that literary societies in the UK have their backs to the wall," explains Keith Wright. The younger generations do not join literary societies. They see them as elitist organizations, which does not help. Meetings containing research papers are not accessible to a generation brought up on getting their knowledge in a fairly unchallenging way — that is via TV or the Internet."

Mr. Wright is a good friend and in ways a teacher to Miss Alice Llandudno, Nicol Thompson, who admits she prefers “reading the book to watching the films.”

There are currently Alice weekends in many towns around England supported by the Lewis Carroll Society, including Oxford (where the book was born), Lyndhurst in Hampshire (where Alice Liddell lived after she was married), Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge, and of course Llandudno in Wales (where Alice Liddell vacationed with her family), which is preparing for its commemorative Alice affair on May 4, 2012. All these towns attempt to appeal to fans both young and old.

Llandudno has historically enjoyed a healthy tourist trade thanks to its connection to Alice Liddell. This connection grew stronger in the 1970s when local residents Muriel Ratcliffe and her husband Murray began to consider an idea for an Alice adventure.

The couple found a basement in a property in the town that was damp and often flooded. With the help of local tradesmen, they created and launched the Rabbit Hole. The Rabbit Hole tourist attraction complete with life-size models of the book’s characters remained very popular with tourists from 1990 until Muriel Ratcliffe decided to retire in 2009.

At this point the content was put up for sale and was purchased by entrepreneurs and owners of Alice In Wonderland Ltd., Barry Mortlock and Simon and Eileen Burrows.

Much like the approach taken by Burton and Disney, Mortlock and the Burrows saw an opportunity to build a bigger and grander Alice adventure, utilizing cutting edge technology to create a 21st-century experience that was both modern and educational for children of all ages.

They worked with local government to conceptualize a Llandudno Alice Trail, which would utilize key locations around the town, including a popular tourist spot known as Happy Valley.

"The upcoming Alice Day is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm the connection that Llandudno has with Alice, and also with the Alice Trail that the County and Town Councils have funded to be built in the town. This will feature sculptures, a giant pocket watch and a new bandstand in Happy Valley, which will have the various characters from the stories cast into it. We already have a Cheshire Cat in the Happy Valley!" says Llandudno’s Mayor, Greg Robbins.

Mortlock and the Burrows will continue development over the summer with a young creative team of 3D artists and technical wizards. Their big picture concept? A visual spectacle such as has never been seen before in any other attraction in the UK.

So what might Alice Liddell have said about these creative upgrades to her favorite story in her summer vacation town?

I don’t know for sure of course. I do know Alice was a talented artist herself whose favorite expression as a child was “Let’s pretend.” Hence I like to imagine she might be thinking “Cool!”

Photos courtesy of Alice In Wonderland Ltd. and Keith Wright

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice DayAlice LiddellLewis CarrollAlice's Adventures UndergroundC. M. RubinCharles DodgsonDaresbury ChronicleJohnny DeppKeith WrightDisney's Alice in WonderlandMuriel RatcliffeLewis Carroll SocietyMiss Alice Llandudno WalesNicol ThompsonTim BurtonThe Alice TrailThe Rabbit Hole

Alice — Meet Alice

"Without Alice there would be no Wonderland." — Ian Turner

"Magic, beauty, color, amusement, character, intrigue, questions, excitement, puzzlement, amazement, fear, suspense, fun and a happy ending" are the reasons why Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland is still a classic today, according to Ian Turner, celebrity host of Llandudno, Wales’ Alice Day on May 4, 2012.

And Turner’s favorite character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? “Why Alice of course. Without Alice there would be no Wonderland, no White Rabbit, no Mad Hatter, no Queen of Hearts, no Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, no March Hare and no Tea Party,” he comments.

Counselor Greg Robbins, Llandudno’s Mayor, explains that “the Town Council has kept the role of Miss Alice in a very special place.” The annual Miss Alice competition is an historical and distinguished Llandudno tradition. Girls aged between 8 and 10 years, who live in one of the 5 Llandudno wards — Craig-y-Don, Gogarth, Mostyn, Penrhyn, and Tudno — are all eligible to enter. Five judges preside over the entrants to the contest and the criteria for selection of the winner is based on the contestants’ knowledge of the Alice in Wonderland books, presentation and appearance on the day of the competition.

Once Miss Alice is appointed to this most prestigious of positions, her duties are fairly extensive. They include public appearances at the town’s most important events alongside the Mayor of Llandudno. This is after all the town where Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s original inspiration, spent her summer vacations. “Miss Alice not only reminds everyone of the link that Llandudno has to Alice Liddell but also to the Victorian heritage of our town,” explains Mayor Robbins.

Alice Day organizers at Alice in Wonderland Ltd. are planning to bring together all the Miss Alice’s from 1982 to the present day for a very special reunion tea party which shall take place during a Victoriana Extravaganza weekend immediately following Alice Day. May 4, 2012 itself, which would have been Alice Liddell’s 160th birthday, will have the spotlight firmly focused on the current Miss Alice.

So how does 9 year old Nicol Thompson feel about the most important day in her year? I was curious to meet Miss Alice and find out.

"The Town Council has kept the role of Miss Alice in a very special place." — Mayor Greg Robbins

When did you first discover the book Alice in Wonderland?

Mummy used to read it to me when I was tiny. It’s always been there. I must have about half a dozen different book versions (as I’ve handed on my baby versions now) plus about 4 different DVD versions. I prefer reading it to watching the films.

Why do you think the story is still so popular with children today?

Because it’s an adventure and children like to use their imaginations. It’s very popular with adults too and Johnny Depp has made it cool to like Alice!

Can you tell us what we can expect at your Mad Hatter’s tea party on Friday, May 4, 2012?

Lots of fun. The Town Band will be playing, there will be music, actors, street entertainers, birds of prey, art competitions, the Mad Hatter, Lewis Carroll (I mean Charles Dodgson, of course), Mayors and Mayoresses from all over the place, and 100s and 100s of guests. There will even be a Victorian fun fair in the town that weekend! And lots of cakes and jam tarts! I have even invited the Queen of Hearts - as long as she promises not to cut off anyone’s head! And the White Rabbit has promised not to be late for this very important date.

"The event I will remember forever is meeting the children from Chernobyl."— Miss Alice, Nicol Thompson

What are you most looking forward to on this special Llandudno day?

That’s a tough one. There are lots of things but probably most of all is to see everyone having fun.

Which event in your Alice year so far was your favorite and why?

Another tough one, as there have been so many things. It was great fun being arrested by the cards, and amazing getting a VIP tour of Christ Church in Oxford and seeing the Jabberwocky. Closer to home, my fear of dogs was cured when I had to judge 6 dog shows. The event I will remember forever is meeting the children from Chernobyl. They have been through so much, have so little and are so poor - but yet they remain so happy.

"My advice to the next Miss Alice is to enjoy every moment as it is a dream and that dream won’t last forever." — Miss Alice, Nicol Thompson

What has being Miss Alice and representing Llandudno meant to you? What have you learned during your year?

Llandudno is a beautiful place to live. I have always known this but being Alice has made it even clearer and has allowed me to share this with other people. Being Alice has also shown me that the things my Mummy and Dad have taught me, like good manners, politeness and speaking nicely are really important. How much nicer the world would be if everybody was like this! We’re lucky in Llandudno. Not only is it the Queen of Welsh resorts and the Daffodil Capital of Wales, it has also recently been voted the happiest place to live in Wales.

So being Miss Alice has meant the world to me - I was chosen to represent the town I love so much.

What advice will you give to the next Miss Alice who is to be appointed on May 26?

My advice to the next Miss Alice is to enjoy every moment as it is a dream and that dream won’t last forever. But at the same time, remember that you are representing Llandudno, your school, your family and yourself - make everybody proud!

Thank you Miss Alice Llandudno. You certainly make us curiouser and curiouser………..

For curious people:

www.wonderland.co.uk/wonderland-news

www.facebook.com/AliceinWonderlandLlandudno

   Nicol Thompson (Miss Alice) and C. M. Rubin

Photos courtesy of Deborah Thompson.

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld


Tagged: Alice In WonderlandAlice LiddellAlice in Wonderland LtdAlice's Adventures in WonderlandCharles DodgsonC. M. RubinChrist Church OxfordJohnny DeppLlandudno WalesMad HatterLewis CarrollMayor of LlandudnoMiss Alice of LlandudnoQueen of HeartsThe Real Alice in WonderlandWhite RabbitVictoriana Extravaganza

Alice —May 4, 2012

"One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others."— Lewis Carroll

Everybody’ s got Alice fever in Alice town — Llandudno, Wales — but no one is as curious or as excited as me!

That’s because on Friday, May 4, this famous seaside Welsh resort is launching a fantastical Wonderland event. It will celebrate what would have been the 160th birthday of my distant relative, Alice Liddell, the Alice behind what is arguably the greatest children’s book of all time —Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Liddell family, who were close friends of the book’s author, Lewis Carroll, owned a holiday home in this charming town recently voted the happiest place to live in Wales. Their home, formerly called Penmorfa, sat on the top of a high cliff at the West Shore. And to this town and to this family home came many celebrities of the day, including family friends Sir William Blake Richmond and British Prime Minister William Gladstone. It was here that Sir William painted his famous painting called The Sisters, featuring young Alice and her siblings. It was here that young Alice and her sisters learned that the great Mr. Gladstone suffered from vertigo. And so they tenderly guided him down the steep path to the beach with his eyes shut!

It is here that I shall be staying on May 4, 2012! 

The May 4 Alice Day event is the day before the town’s world famous Victoriana Extravaganza, which offers another three days of fun filled Victoriana themed festivities, stalls, shows, a grand parade, and streets brimming with talented entertainers. Talk about the best week in the year to head out to Llandudno in Wales!

Organizers at Alice in Wonderland Ltd. of the May 4 Alice Day birthday celebration have been inundated with young passionate Alices, White Rabbits, Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats requesting details of the Wonderland festivities planned, and begging to be involved in this highly anticipated event which will be launched on the town’s promenade at 12:30 pm promptly on the big day.

Llandudno’s charming and talented Miss Alice 2011-2012, Miss Nicol Thompson, whose public duties during the year have included public appearances at local and national events, has been very busy. She has been sending special Mad Hatter Tea Party invitations to dignitaries, including lucky old me. This means I shall have the great honor of sitting at Miss Alice’s top table for what promises to be the very best Mad Hatter Tea Party of all time! During the course of tea and jam tarts, Miss Alice has promised to reenact for us the first encounter between Alice and Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), a momentous occasion that the audience (including over 700 school children) are looking forward to seeing. Local hoteliers are busy importing extra tables and chairs to accommodate all the participants, and the town’s chefs have promised they shall not run out of jam tarts for the world record attempt for jam tart eating! Street performers, actors, art competitions, on-site illustrators, face painters, fancy dress, birds of prey and live music promise to keep families entertained throughout the day. Members of the Lewis Carroll Society will be dressing as characters from the Alice books.

The day will be hosted by the local celebrity Ian Turner, who is an Alice in Wonderland fan. His stage is already set with the backdrop of a 1910 Llandudno Victorian Tram.

So would you like a little more Alice Tea? Then why not join us at 12:30 p.m. on the Promenade in Llandudno! Bring a picnic, bring a friend, but most important, bring your passion and your curiosity for a children’s story with an enduring legacy.

For more information:

http://www.st-tudno.co.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/AliceinWonderlandLlandudno

Photos courtesy of the St. Tudno Hotel.

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

 

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Victoriana ExtravaganzaWonderlandAlice In WonderlandAlice LiddellC. M. RubinAlice's Adventures in WonderlandCharles DodgsonChrist Church OxfordDean Henry George LiddellIan TurnerLewis CarrollLlandudno WalesLewis Carroll SocietyMiss Alice Llandudno Nicol ThompsonMad Hatter Tea PartyMary PrickettMartin BlandPrime Minister William GladstoneSir William Blake RichmondPenmorfaSt. Tudno Hotel

Alice in Italy

      The Mart: the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto

Alice In Wonderland is the first exhibition to comprehensively focus on Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice” books and their enormous influence on the world of visual arts from the first publication ofAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 to the present day.

From the 25th of February to the 3rd of June 2012, the visual extravaganza (organized by the Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Mart di Rovereto and the Hamburger Kunsthalle) will take center stage at the Mart. Lewis Carroll was an active participant in the artistic scene of his time as both an innovative photographer and a scholar interested in art and artists. He kept company with talent like the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the sculptor Alexander Munro, and the artist Sir John Everett Millais. Paintings by Rossetti and Millais are part of the Mart’s Alice In Wonderland exhibition along with others by William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes about whom Carroll wrote in his famous diaries.

The timing of the exhibition is perfect of course since July, 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the first telling of the Alice in Wonderland story to Alice Liddell, Carroll’s inspiration for Alice. 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of Macmillan’s first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I asked Cristiana Collu, Director of the Mart, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto, to share her views on the exhibition and what Alice in Wonderland means to Italians.

                                           Annelies Strba - Nyima 445

What do Lewis Carroll’s Alice books mean to Italians young and old?

Carroll’s books are classics and form part of the Western collective imagination. I don’t know if there is a specifically Italian perception of Alice as character, but I am sure that there are numerous versions and translations, the last of which I have heard is A s´àtera ala de s´ispigru and su chi Alisedda b´at agatadu; in other words, a version in Sardinian (which is the region I come from myself). The example is a very significant one because it uses the tale of Alice to revive not only a language that has fallen into neglect but also to create neologisms, and finally to combine the richness of the culture of the place, founded on the intangible heritage of oral transmission, with codified literature. A process of recognition and appropriation is set into motion that says much if not all about the extraordinary strength of the Alice story.

         Paul Laffoley - Alice Pleasance Liddell

What can visitors to the Mart’s Alice in Wonderland exhibit expect to discover when they visit? What will make the Mart’s exhibit unique in contrast to the Tate’s version?

The exhibition is a world of marvels, just as is the museum, offspring of the wunderkammer (an encyclopedic collection of objects). In this sense, the marvel is not only that which surprises, astonishes and leaves us open-mouthed, but on the contrary that which functions as a veritable detonator of our creativity, our capacity for reaction and problem-solving, our willingness to see things in a different way and the world from new points of view; when all is said and done, it calls things into question. Having doubts for Alice is not synonymous with the fragility of her being but with her capacity for growth, for ‘muchness’. Our visitors will find this ‘muchness’ in the presentation of the exhibition, in the way the exhibition has been laid out, which we have sought to interpret with a precise visual identity corresponding to the reading of the references made between museum, literary work, works on display, interludes and scores held together by a graphic design that is able to maintain the weight of the whole throughout, without ceasing to lighten it with irony and freshness.

                   Max Ernst - Alice in 1941

Can you tell us about some of the Italian artists and writers that have been inspired by Lewis Carroll’s works? Are any of these important artists or their works featured in the Mart’s exhibit?

Carroll’s tales have enjoyed an extraordinary following in Italy too. We could draw up infinite lists of translations, free interpretations, adapted versions for children and freely inspired transpositions (including the fine one by Gianni Rodari, Alice nelle figure), and those for adults (Aldo Busi’s version, for instance) and for the film festival in Rome, “Alice nella città” and its logo, designed by Marti Guixé. I believe that Alice really is a sort of catch-all, an emblematic metaphor of which art and its various forms, from cinema to design, painting to sculpture and video art, have made use to ‘illustrate’ even the dark and dense part that the girl and her author have represented.Alice in Wonderland, however, does not contemplate works by Italian artists; we shall instead draw some in who will offer their personal vision, taking the suggestions offered by the exhibition in tune or opposition to their style so they may offer us their own personal vision.

                John Everett Millais - Waking

Do you think Italians are aware of the story behind the story, i.e. that Alice Liddell was Carroll’s inspiration for the story and also that many of the characters in the book were inspired by her family and her environment? Is this something that you believe will be of interest?

The Italian public is thus informed that the exhibition layout, which is also chronological, will offer a series of points enabling many to put together pieces of a puzzle that they already possessed, thus offering a complete and conscious vision of the history and of the world subtending all, together with what occurs behind the scenes. I have no doubt that even these aspects will be of considerable appeal and interest.

What does this exhibit mean to you? What are some of your personal favorites in the exhibits?

I prefer the exhibition as a whole. I loved the project and experienced the crucial part of the creation of its identity within the Mart. Together with all my collaborators who have shared this adventure with me, I am certain that we have created a testimonial of our change, a device that not only translates but implements our vision of the museum as a place of utopias, of possibilities, of a stereoscopic and at the same time timely view; a place in which we feel ourselves to be in ‘Wonderland’, elsewhere and yet at home.

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, the Mart, is one of the most important museums in Italy. For more information.

               Cristiana Collu and C. M. Rubin

Photos courtesy of the Alice in Wonderland Exhibition at the Mart, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto.

The Alice Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Aldo BusiAlexander MunroAlice in WonderlandAlice LiddellAlice nella cittaC. M. RubinAlice's Adventures in WonderlandAnnelies StrbaLewis CarrollLewis Carroll SocietyCristiana ColluThe Real Alice in Wonderland BookSir John Everett Millaissesquicentennial of Alices Adventures in WonderlandPaul Laffoleymuseo d'arte moderna e contemporanea di trento e roveretoMax ErnstMart di RoveretoDante Gabriel RossettiGianni Rodari

Alice

Alice Pleasance Liddell, Summer 1858. Courtesy of © National Portrait Gallery, London

In the year 2143, will we be able to say Harry Potter lives, Harry Potter is global, or even thatHarry Potter’s enduring legacy continues to inspire all age groups?

None of us really know for sure what will happen to Harry Potter between now and then. What you should know is that there is one book, which, 146 years after it was first published in 1865, has accomplished all these things and is also one of the most loved books in today’s world. The book to which I am referring is of course Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which I like to call “Alice.”

A great many people saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movie, which, despite its short theatrical window, grossed $1.02 billion worldwide. That was just an appetizer in comparison to the massive global run up to “Alice’s” 150th birthday in the fall of 2015.

Much like the closing ceremony of one Olympics and the heralding of the next one, the road to “Alice’s” sesquicentennial ceremony has already inspired a magnificent exhibition to be seen in some of the world’s greatest museums, with more exhibitions and events in the works along the way to the lighting of “Alice’s” torch in four years time.

As a passionate “Alice” fan and a relative of Alice Pleasance Liddell, the original inspiration for the book, I never tire of immersing myself in the rich culture that was born from Lewis Carroll’s fantastical dream world. In every age since the 19th century, “Alice” has inspired artists and scientists from the worlds of mathematics, fine arts, literature, puzzles, games, toys, film, dance, music, poetry, video games, photography, cartooning, and well, let’s just say you’ve got your work cut out, Harry Potter!

So now…… are you ready for a little more tea?

Come Away From Her (After Lewis Carroll) 2003 — Kiki Smith Acrylic on Paper. Courtesy of © ULAE, Inc.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Eleanor Clayton, Assistant Curator of the Tate Liverpool’s fantastical new Alice In Wonderland exhibition currently showing in England before heading out to other parts of Europe.

"Alice" lives on — Why is "Alice" so inspiring to all ages and to generation after generation?

One of the things we notice about “Alice” is that it is one of the few books that have never been out of print since it was first published. It has literally stayed in fashion the entire way since 1865. “Alice” just continues to appeal. I think that it’s the nature of the story. You have a child heroine. Alice is beset by trials and tribulations that she has to go through and yet she always remains calm. Whether it’s the Mad Hatter or the Queen (trying to chop off her head), she meets the challenge and prevails. There is something about Alice’s journey that everyone can relate to.

The other thing that we have actually focused a lot on in the exhibition is that when the original manuscript was created, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) included pictures. The pictures were an integral part of the story. There aren’t actually a lot of descriptions of the book’s characters including Alice. Instead, on the first page of the original manuscript, there is a picture of Alice. It doesn’t tell us that Alice wears this kind of a dress or has this kind of hair. It leaves it very open for generation after generation to reinvent Alice. In our exhibition there are Alices from the 1930’s, Alices from the 1960’s, and even more contemporary Alices. Each generation has been able to reinvent Alice in the style of that generation. This says something about the richness of the book too. Each generation finds it appealing and wants to contribute something new.

How many Alices do you have in total in the exhibition?

In just one room we have over 40 illustrated editions of the book from 1907 onwards. I would say we have over a hundred Alices (character depictions) in the exhibition.

"Alice" is global — How represented is "Alice" on a global basis throughout the exhibition?

We have illustrated editions from the western world but we also have Eastern European and Russian illustrated editions. We have work by an artist called Nalini Malani, who’s done a series called Living in Alice Time. She finds in Alice a figure that relates to the political situation in India and her work is representative of that. Unfortunately, we don’t have “Alices” from Australia and New Zealand but we do have most of the Northern Hemisphere covered.

Alice’s Adventures Underground, the original manuscript, was handwritten and hand illustrated by Lewis Carroll and presented to Alice Liddell as an early Christmas gift. How significant is this manuscript?

I think it is very significant. We’ve found it incredibly interesting as an early form of book art, which became hugely popular in the 1860’s and beyond. The images are such an integral part of the original manuscript that it is a visual work of art in itself. Even Carroll’s text has visual elements. In the 19th century, art was about paintings, and books were books, but when you look at the original manuscript it is definitely an art object in itself, which is why it is really significant. Later on after the “Alice” books were published, Carroll published a facsimile of the original manuscript.

Alice in Wonderland Magic Lantern Slides 1900 - 1925. Courtesy of © University of Exeter

The manuscript’s sale by Alice Pleasance Liddell in 1928 for £15,400 ($77,000) set a new auction record for a book at that time in history, not to mention the fact that the buyer was an American, Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach.

The book has now become so iconic that the original manuscript itself is almost like a relic. We are very lucky to be exhibiting it. It has only left the British Library once (for a trip to New York City) since it was presented as a gift to the British Library by a group of American businessmen. The security we have had to go through to protect it is incredible. It has to be kept in a metal (versus wooden) vitrine with glass that is thicker than 11 millimeters. It also has to have two special Abloy locks. Then there is CCTV on it and security guards. It’s this little book the size of a hand. People come into the exhibit and are drawn to it. Then they very quickly fall down the rabbit hole into all of these artifacts that have built up because of this one little book.

What will people like most about the exhibition?

Children will see the original manuscript, Tenniel’s drawings, toys and games that were around in the 19th century after the publication of the book. There are also beautiful paintings, colorful artworks from people like Max Ernst and Dali as well as other “Alice” art from the 1960’s. There is a reading area in the exhibition. There’s also a participative artwork by Allen Ruppersberg where visitors can make their own books.

Highlights or personal favorites of the exhibition?

One of the highlights is an opportunity to learn more about Dodgson’s photography. We have his photographic equipment and a number of his own beautiful photographs. Charles Dodgson was a writer but he was also an artist who thought in pictures, and it makes you realize why the imagery in “Alice” is so vivid.

A personal favorite is a beautiful oil painting called Alice by Max Ernst from 1941. In Ernst’s painting, Alice, we see the figure of Alice being reinvented for the first time as a young woman, no longer a young girl. Ernst started the artwork when he was a prisoner of war in France and then completed it in New York after he escaped; and so it brings out this important image of Alice as a symbol of hope.

My final favorite is the enormous painting of Wonderland by Luc Tuymans. When you stand in front of if you feel as if you could just walk into Wonderland. It was made in 2007, and it just shows again that even today, artists are still finding the idea of Wonderland such an inspiration.

For more information: Tate Liverpool

On January 29, 2012, Alice in Wonderland leaves the Tate Liverpool and travels to the MART (The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) in Trento and Rovereto, Italy before moving to the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany.

             Eleanor Clayton and C. M. Rubin

Alice Community Page

C.M. Rubin is the author of the widely read on-line series, The Global Search for Education, and is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: AliceAlice in WonderlandAlice in Wonderland's 150th BirthdayAlice Pleasance LiddellAlice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice's Adventures UndergroundC. M. RubinDr. A. S. W. RosenbachDaliCharles DodgsonLewis CarrollHarry M. RubinHarry PotterThe Global Search for EducationThe Real Alice in Wonderland BookTim BurtonEleanor ClaytonMax ErnstTate LiverpoolTenniel

How Will We Read? - The Book Given

      The book given by Lewis Carroll to Alice Liddell for Christmas

On November 26, 1864, Lewis Carroll gave my relative, Alice Pleasance Liddell, a book he had written for her. He called the book Alice’s Adventures Underground after considering titles such asAlice’s Golden HouseAlice Among the ElvesAlice Among the Goblins, and Alice’s Doings In Wonderland. Carroll had spent over two years writing and illustrating the book for Alice. It consisted of ninety-two pages covered with his print like writing as well as thirty-seven of his own pen and ink drawings. The book given to Alice Liddell would change her life forever.

It all began (as Carroll reminded his followers on a number of occasions) because of a 10 year-old girl who had encouraged Carroll’s storytelling for years, and in particular a story he told about Alice in Wonderland during a summer day’s picnic on July 4, 1862. Alice was continuously insistent that Carroll write the story down for her, which he eventually did and ultimately presented to her as an early Christmas gift. The book would also change Carroll’s life forever, but it might never have happened if a young girl had not inspired the previously unpublished children’s book author to write the greatest children’s book of all time.

There are over 20,000 books, films, operas, plays and video games based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. It is estimated that over 8 billion people have read or seen presentations of the “Alice” books. Lewis Carroll is behind only the Bible and Shakespeare in the number of quotations from the “Alice” books that appear in published discourse. In addition to the new adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll’s and Liddell’s lives continue to inspire numerous new books, works of art, and film projects. And all because of “a book given.”

If the book given to Alice in 1864 was given today, just imagine the variety of different ways a creative chap like Lewis Carroll might have presented it to his Alice. Quantum leaps in technology have completely changed the way we write, illustrate, publish, market, promote and consume books. I find myself (like Alice) constantly curious and excited about discovering all the new products in the digital books wonderland, while at the same time overwhelmed by all the new found freedoms the technology revolution promises to offer me. Is the device simple stupid enough for me to connect with quickly in my already complicated life? Is it time to buy this tablet or this e-reader? Will I look out of date to my bridge pals when the new updated version is released in 6 months time? I also wonder whether any of us will recognize the content of yesterday’s “book” once the revolution settles down. Will writing for Google become such an integral part of the book marketing culture that creative processes are dramatically changed?

                                  Amazon’s Kindle Fire

Between you and me, I yearn for some form of consolidation in all the craziness that would enable me to feel I can comment intelligently on what appears to be the longer term trends in the publishing model. One thing I know for sure: An entertainment business career which kept me moving through the theatrical, television, video, DVD, pay on demand and pay television formats taught me that we don’t stop watching great movies. As a passionate movie lover, I would argue that the changing technology enabled me to watch more great and even not so great movies than ever before, since I was able to do it more often thanks to a variety of formats that accommodated my ever-changing hectic lifestyle. In addition, those great movies that made that unforgettable connection and changed my life forever, I not only watched again and again, but I insisted on owning them in every possible format I could fit onto the living room shelf.

And so I don’t believe that passionate readers, like passionate movie lovers, will ever disappear. The way readers read will of course continue to evolve and change, but certain things about the cultural experience will not. For example, everything will still begin with the written word, and if that written word is to survive the test of time and change lives forever (like the book given to my relative in 1864), it will happen because of rare talent and creativity and innovative thinking in an age that is redefining how we shall read.

                  C. M. Rubin

(Photos courtesy of Amazon.com, Inc. and Henmead Enterprises, Inc.)

C.M. Rubin has more than two decades of professional experience in development, marketing, and art direction for a diverse range of media businesses. She is the author of the widely read on-line series, The Global Search for Education, and is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: Alice Pleasance LiddellAlice's Adventures in WonderlandBook AppsAlice's Adventures UndergroundE-BooksE-ReadersHow Will We Read?Lewis CarollReading TabletsThe KindleThe NookThe Real Alice in WonderlandThe Future of Books