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The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition [Hardcover]

Lewis Carroll , Martin Gardner , John Tenniel
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 18 1999
The culmination of a lifetime of scholarship, The Annotated Alice is a landmark event in the rich history of Lewis Carroll and cause to celebrate the remarkable career of Martin Gardner. For over half a century, Martin Gardner has established himself as one of the world's leading authorities on Lewis Carroll. His Annotated Alice, first published in 1960, has over half a million copies in print around the world and is highly sought after by families and scholars alike--for it was Gardner who first decoded the wordplay and the many mathematical riddles that lie embedded in Carroll's two classic stories: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Forty years after this groundbreaking publication, Norton is proud to publish the Definitive Edition of The Annotated Alice, a work that combines the notes of Gardner's 1960 edition with his 1990 update, More Annotated Alice, as well as additional new discoveries and updates drawn from Gardner's encyclopedic knowledge of the texts. Illustrated with John Tenniel's classic and beloved art--along with many recently discovered Tenniel pencil sketches--The Annotated Alice will be Gardner's most beautiful and enduring tribute to Carroll's masterpieces yet. Celebrating his eighty-fifth birthday in the fall of 1999, the redoubtable Gardner has been called by Douglas Hofstadter "one of the great intellects produced in this country in this century." With The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition, we have this remarkable scholar's crowning achievement.

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The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition + Annotated Brothers Grimm, The + Annotated Wizard Of Oz
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From Amazon

"What is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations!"

Readers who share Alice's taste in books will be more than satisfied with The Annotated Alice, a volume that includes not only pictures and conversations, but a thorough gloss on the text as well. There may be some, like G.K. Chesterton, who abhor the notion of putting Lewis Carroll's masterpiece under a microscope and analyzing it within an inch of its whimsical life. But as Martin Gardner points out in his introduction, so much of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is composed of private jokes and details of Victorian manners and mores that modern audiences are not likely to catch. Yes, Alice can be enjoyed on its own merits, but The Annotated Alice appeals to the nosy parker in all of us. Thus we learn, for example, that the source of the mouse's tale may have been Alfred Lord Tennyson who "once told Carroll that he had dreamed a lengthy poem about fairies, which began with very long lines, then the lines got shorter and shorter until the poem ended with fifty or sixty lines of two syllables each." And that, contrary to popular belief, the Mad Hatter character was not a parody of then Prime Minister Gladstone, but rather was based on an Oxford furniture dealer named Theophilus Carter.

Gardner's annotations run the gamut from the factual and historical to the speculative and are, in their own way, quite as fascinating as the text they refer to. Occasionally, he even comments on himself, as when he quotes a fellow annotator of Alice, James Kincaid: "The historical context does not call for a gloss but the passage provides an opportunity to point out the ambivalence that may attend the central figure and her desire to grow up." And then follows with a charming riposte: "I thank Mr. Kincaid for supporting my own rambling." There's a lot of information in the margins (indeed, the page is pretty evenly divided between Carroll's text and Gardner's), but the ramblings turn out to be well worth the time. So hand over your old copy of Lewis Carroll's classic to the kids--this Alice in Wonderland is intended entirely for adults. --Alix Wilber

From Library Journal

Clarkson Potter published The Annotated Alice in 1960, and Gardner published the sequel More Annotated Alice in 1990. Here, Gardner combines and expands both to produce The Definitive Edition. This presents the full texts of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and "The Wasp in a Wig," a "suppressed" chapter of Looking-Glass. Each of these texts is accompanied by a lengthy marginal commentary that identifies historical and literary references and allusions, explains Carroll's logical and mathematical puzzles, and interprets colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions. Gardner's commentary is sufficiently detailed to be informative without burdening Alice with excessive pedantic baggage. The Definitive Edition also includes Tenniel's original illustrations and an exhaustive annotated list by David Shaefer of Alice on the screen. This is a happy contribution to those who appreciate Lewis Carroll.
-Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, GA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?" Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Research March 10 2001
This is a wonderful book full of meanings and delightful little side details about Charles Dodgson. This book has the answers to many of your questions about the both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass; why did he do this, what did he mean by this... It also includes secret meanings, such as a name from one of his friends, or he did this because he had O.C.D. Annotated Alice is perfect for research papers (or reading for one's own pleasure) for it gives you some information on verses, his life...all those major details. For example, did you know that most if not all of his poems were a satire on another well-known nursery rhyme or poem. It is easy to tell in the following nursery rhyme what on what poem Carroll made a satire.
Twinkle twinkle little bat
How I wonder what you are at
Up above the world you fly
Like a tea tray in the sky
Twinkle twinkle little bat
How I wonder what you are at
This seems simple enough, but do you know of what rhyme, "Beat Your Baby When He Sneezes" is a parody? The original poem was a song for babies to go to sleep. You will find all this info. and more. Cheers!...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
You're right: I have no one to blame but myself. (Fool me twice, shame on me.) I'd read another book annotated by Gardner before, so I knew something about what his notes were like. Still, I thought, who better to explicate the puns, colloquialisms, and mathematical, logical, and philosophical references in _Alice_ than one of the great polymaths of our time, a connoisseur of puzzles, and an aficionado of Victorian literature? Plus, it's hard to deny that _The Definitive Edition_ is a handsome one.
Well, Gardner has really outdone himself this time. The notes go on and on and on, eclipsing the actual text in length. While Clavin might interrupt a conversation on the Bermuda Triangle to point out the little-known fact that it's really shaped like a tetrazidrhomboid, Gardner thinks that when a character uses an idiomatic expression involving ferrets it would be relevant to mention a get-together that ferret owners recently held in New York City's Central Park. Much of the inside information Gardner does provide is along the lines of telling us that this character is based on Alice Liddell's third cousin, once removed, or that that character is named after Dodgson's pet gerbil.
I think Gardner may have finally succeeded in turning me off of annotated editions for good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Wanted To Know About Alice... Dec 26 2000
Anyone who enjoys Alice's adventures will appreciate the care and detail that was taken in preparing this version of Carroll's tales. Gardner's annotations are superb and you realize they are just the tip of the iceberg when delving into the complexities of Carroll's Alice stories. Easy to follow annotations accompany excellent Tenniel reproductions. With the addition of the excised "Wasp in the Wig" episode this is a must for anyone who enjoyed these tales and would like to get more information about their creation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a "translation" of Alice for the masses Oct. 14 2003
I remember my frustrations with reading "Alice" when I was young. Apparently it was an interesting story about animals and weird things and so on, but very quickly my reading stumbled onto nonsense verses and things so strange I don't know what to make of them. As a child I quickly lost interest and put down my book, that is until I encountered this wonderful annotated version by Martin Gardiner. Having enjoyed Gardiner's countless mathematical books and Scientific American columns, I was intrigued by this book.
This is a book that actually delivers what it promises. The large format of the book makes it easy to read and pleasing to the eye. The original drawings for the book by Tenniel are included, making it quite interesting. In the wide margins, Gardiner makes clear the countless curiosities, verses, puns, and mathematical oddities. Some of those things were meant to be understood only by a select group of people living in Oxford at the time Lewis Carroll wrote his work. Gardiner therefore draws upon a wealth of research by Alice fans all over the world to come to an understanding of all these oddities. The result is a much more enriching experience and much more pleasurable reading of the story.
At any rate, I don't take the Alice story as seriously as some of the fans do, but I was pleased I read this annotated edition once. I plan to find again my old childhood copy and re-read the story without annotation for enjoyment. Note that the annotated Alice went through various editions, this ("Definitive annotated Alice" being the third, most up-to-date and most complete, including the original illustrations by Tenniel and both sets of annotations in the original "Annotated Alice" and in the "More Annotated Alice". This is the edition to buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strickly for real Carroll fans Dec 12 2002
In the case of Alice, we are dealing with a very curious, complicated form of nonsense, which explores the possibilities of the uses and abuse of language and is actually based on a profound knowledge of the rules of logic. In fact, most of Carroll's apercus and all his joked are inversions of the rules of logic or plays on words. Reason is here in service to imagination and not vice-versa. The wealth of material which Carroll presents for the illumination of his philosophy is almost without end. The more I read Alice, the more I realize the books are dense enough to defy complete exegesis. Carroll's genius lies in the ability to disguise charmingly the seriousness of his concerns and to make the most playful quality of his work at the same time its didactic crux. This annotation version helps by telling us about some aspects of the era and setting that Alice and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson lived in, about Christ Church, and Duckworth etc. but it misses the details about the main points of logic that are being made by Carroll. So far I haven't found a satisfactory text that does that. Perhaps I will have to write one myself.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely everything you could ever want to know about the ...
Absolutely everything you could ever want to know about the history, references,vernacular, jokes and puzzles contained in Lewis Carroll's beloved stories of Alice and her... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Donna Jean Oakes
5.0 out of 5 stars Very creative
The annotations are useful and very interesting. It's like getting comments from the inside and hearing the author's thoughts while he was writing the book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dayana Ferrer
5.0 out of 5 stars scholarly Jabberwocky
The title of this book says it all--more annotations than a Richard Posner book, and as definitive an edition as one can expect. Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2002 by PARTHO ROY
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't be too definitive
Not knowing what you do not know it tells you everything. This book appears to be stand alone logic and fun on the surface. Some may even think it is a children's book. Read more
Published on June 24 2002 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars ...Helpful or Harmful?
annotated alice was a very informative version of Alice in Wonderland, it had so many interesting inserts throughout the story. Read more
Published on May 30 2002 by zach craft
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice for Adults and other Thinking People
Martin Gardner has amassed an incredible amount of information about a book that amused or bemused many of us while we were growing up. Read more
Published on April 24 2002 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Master of Nonsense
The Annotated Alice provides a treasure chest of information on the two Alice books and on the man, Lewis Carroll who was responsible for their creation. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2002 by Bryan A. Pfleeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Earlier reviewer has it wrong
The so-called "Alice's Adventures Underground" was what "Alice in Wonderland" was initially called. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2001 by Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome Book
This to me is like a Nitpickers Guide to the Alice in Wonderland books. It goes through everything. All the poetry used in the stories, that Lewis Carroll had written, plus the... Read more
Published on Dec 3 2001 by Melissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and deep
This book is essential. It contains not only the Alice stories, but enough background to open up whole new aspects of Carroll's work. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2001 by John Clavis
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