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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
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.
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 13 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
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 so-called "Alice's Adventures Underground" was what "Alice in Wonderland" was initially called. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2001 by Dale
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 morePublished on Dec 3 2001 by Melissa