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The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition Hardcover – Nov 23 1999
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"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)
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
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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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!...
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.
My point is that this book contributed more to my understanding of logic and wordplay than several semesters of college philosophy classes. If you've read this far then I am probably preaching to the choir but 'Alice in Wonderland' can hardly be classified as a childrens' book, dispite Disney's attempts to do so. The concepts Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner bring to this tale cover such areas as set theory, meta-language, Aristotelian logic, topography, game theory, several pre-Socratic logic paradoxes, and even quantum physics. Yet John Tenniel's original illustrations remain as an welcome tether to the original publication.
Gardner does a wonderful job of bringing all the various aspects of these two stories together as he illuminates layer upon layer of meaning that might not be evident to an American audience or, for that matter, a 21st century one. My favorite gems are the French and German translations of The Jabberwocky.
This book ranks in my top five favorite books of all time.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished 17 months ago by Donna Jean Oakes
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 morePublished on March 25 2013 by Dayana Ferrer
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... Read morePublished on June 27 2003
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 morePublished on Oct. 4 2002 by PARTHO ROY
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 morePublished on June 24 2002 by Bernie
annotated alice was a very informative version of Alice in Wonderland, it had so many interesting inserts throughout the story. Read morePublished on May 30 2002 by zach craft
This is my fifth tarot deck and I have to say that I just love it. It's quite clever to design a deck based on the classic "Alice in Wonderland. Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by Jim Gillespie
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 morePublished on April 24 2002 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on Jan. 14 2002 by Bryan A. Pfleeger