on July 28, 2009
People tend to lump "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass (and What Alice Found There)" into one collection which has taken on the new title of "Alice in Wonderland". This is probably a product of the movies, which took bits and pieces from each and made a composite adventure. This was possible, because Lewis Carroll (a.k.a. Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) managed to make the stories so even in quality that they can be put together seamlessly. He also managed to keep the stories enough different, that one can still enjoy reading both of them one after the other, without the feeling that the second is just a retelling of the first.
To be sure, there are several ways in which the stories are similar, but not to the point where it detracts from the reader's enjoyment of the story. There are only three characters which appear in both books, one of which is Alice. The other notable characters (the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, etc.) are well distributed between the two books. Thus there is a looking-glass between the two, just as the looking-glass plays such a key role in the second book.
The Penguin Classics edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass" includes both books including the illustrations by John Tenniel. It also includes the original "Alice's Adventures under Ground" which includes Lewis Carroll's artwork. For additional features, it includes `"Alice" on the Stage' an article which Lewis Carroll wrote after seeing a production of the stage version, and it includes preface's to the books which Lewis Carroll wrote in 1896 for the 1897 editions. There are wonderful notes for both books, and a very informative introduction by Hugh Haughton. There is other supporting material as well. To sum up, this edition has pretty much anything one could want, other than a complete collection of Carroll's work.
A last comment on the introduction, it covers the biographical information for Reverend Dodgson, and the information on how the stories came about. Some of this information may detract from one's enjoyment of the story, but one can certainly understand the decision to include it for those who are interested in Reverend Dodgson and his life. All in all, this edition is packed with everything and will suit those who just want to read the stories as well as those who want to delve deep into their origins.
on March 6, 2004
I'm not reviewing the story (we all know what a masterpiece it is :) but this edition is fabulous! It is actually two seperate dust-jacketed hardcover volumes, one for each tale, and they come in one very sturdy slipcase with beautiful art. For the current Amazon price it is a *total* bargain - I wasn't expecting it to be so nice. We also got the jigsaw puzzle book to go with it and it is also better than expected. They make a great gift for a lucky little gal!
For some reason Amazon bundles all reviews of every edition of under a single product making it very difficult to evaluate a particular one. So you may be looking for the Ingpen edition but unable to find an Ingpen review.
I fell in love with the Ingpen edition when I saw it in the store. Every page turn features an outstanding color illustration by one of the of the world's leading illustrators.
In Alice she says:'what good are stories without pictures?' We can read a story without a picture, yet when we have a picture it really helps us in imagining the story, and Ingpen has a great imagination when it comes to the picture story.
This is the kind of book you will leave on the coffee table just so you can show it off to your friends. Whether you are a parent or just reading it your own pleasure, I found reading it this way much better. I do own a pictureless version which I never got around to reading.
Sterling publishers have published other stories with Ingpen such as the Wizard of Oz. So if you wish to enjoy a classic story and to fire your visual imagination at the same time this is a great way to do it. I passed my version along to a niece and have the occasional pang of regret for having given it away.
I highly recommend it, think you will love it and hope this was helpful.
on 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!...
on August 11, 2000
"Through The Looking Glass" is, perhaps, not QUITE as good as "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland", but it's close enough to still rate five stars. Not, properly, a sequel to the first book, there is no indication at any point in it that the Alice (clearly the same individual, slightly older) from this book ever had the adventures in the first one; there is no reference to her previous adventures, even when she once again meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Obviously, the two books are intended as parallel adventures, not subsequent ones.
The most memorable bits from this book are doubtlessly the poem, "Jabberwocky", as well as chapter six, "Humpty Dumpty". But all of the book is marvellous, and not to be missed by anyone who enjoys a magical romp through silliness and playful use of the English language.
(This review refers to the unabridged "Dover Thrift Edition".)
on July 1, 2003
My mom first read this book to me when I was seven years old. Because I was only in first or second grade, Alice in Wonderland scared the heck out of me. I remember parts were pretty horrific and confusing. I kind of hated it. It was like Stephen King for a first grader- which, if you ever go to a website on Lewis Carroll, shouldn't surprise anyone because Carroll had loads of problems and was pretty much tripped out while writing this (I think).
Now that I'm older, I decided to re-read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. While reading it, it's hard to decide whether this is just a load of imaginative creativity, or a metaphor of something deeper that is true in society today, or true in the 1800's. Well, I guess you can read it either way- but there is definitely some deep stuff in here. Many poems will stop and make you think, and as the story progresses you can't help but feel like you are Alice (which is pretty amazing, because this isn't like Lord of the Rings or anything, it's basically a fairy tale on drugs).
Definitely, definitely, definitely do not hesitate to pick this book up and read. Another review said it was disturbing- well, in some ways it really is. But the characters and the plot line (or lack of!) keep you interested and keeps you reading. AIW and TTLG are must-haves in anyone interested in fantasy/sci-fi, along with Chronicles of Narnia and other great classics.
on October 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.
on February 22, 2001
I finally, and seemingly permanently, misplaced the 40 year old copy of 'The Annotated Alice' (which I had pilfered from my mother's bookshelf) for the last time. I can't go more than a month or two without it so I rushed to buy a new copy...just weeks before the more beautifully bound 'Definitive Edition' was published. No matter, now I have two (perhaps even three if the original turns up).
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.
on September 22, 2003
I couldn't put it down, man. I checked this book out at the local library and read through the opening 130 pages in one sitting until I was falling asleep at three in the morning. Lewis Carroll's classic tale of adventure and fantasy "Alice in Wonderland" is one of the best books I've ever read.
The story is about a little girl, Alice, who falls into a very deep rabbit hole, seemingly straight to the middle of the earth! Her adventures once she lands are as wonderfully imagined as any in the history of literature. Her encounters with the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the King and Queen of Hearts, the Duchess, The Mock Turtle, The Gryphon, and The Wise Old Caterpillar are as fun and as pure and as well intended as any characters I've ever read a writer write.
The story behind how Alice in Wonderland came to be is equally interesting, and one worth reading up on. That Carroll wrote it without any pretension to selling it, or for money, or even to publish it, is truly one of the remarkable stories of world literature. His motives were pure, and (at least to me) this is one of the reasons why this book is so dear and so readable.
I highly recommend "Alice in Wonderland" to readers young and old and can only say that I look forward to reading "Through the Looking Glass" next! A marvelous, wonderful book, as fun as any book I've ever read.
on July 13, 2009
"... and go on till you come to the end: then stop." Good advice for reading this book, from the Red King himself.
To say that "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is a classic would be to state the obvious. Published originally in 1865, it was taken from stories which the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) told to three girls, the daughters of Henry George Liddell, including Alice Liddell who is the basis for the heroine of the stories. The stories inside are wonderful and superb nonsense which appeal to readers of all ages, as long as you don't try to read too much into it. The stories are filled with all sorts of absurdities based on language, logic, math, and parody. If you obtain a copy which has notes that discuss what is being parodied, it will add to the fun, certainly, but it isn't necessary because even without the parody it is still great fun. Also, you can certainly find references online to help find the sources which are being parodied.
Other than to say that the book is about Alice's adventures it would be difficult to say that there are any great lessons here, other than perhaps to not take things too seriously. At the same time there are certainly some running themes throughout the stories. Size is a key element at some times Alice is very tiny, and at other times incredibly large, and food and drink are the main triggers for these changes. Sense and nonsense is another running theme as there are those who try to make sense out of the nonsense, and others who just enjoy the ride.
The book opens with Alice following the white rabbit down the hole, and plummeting deep into the Earth. She meets many characters in her adventures, like the White Rabbit, a mouse, a lizard named Bill, a Caterpiller smoking a hookah, the Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, the Red Queen, and many others. The adventures include her descent into Wonderland, her loss of identity with her changes in size, her babysitting a baby which turns into a pig, the endless tea-party, a very unusual croquet game, listening to the Mock Turtle's story, and of course the trial at the end.
The stories clearly have long lasting influence as well. In books, movies, music, and art, there are countless examples of works based on the Alice Adventures as well as references to them. One thing those works have done is led to some confusion with regards to the Alice stories. Characters like Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, and the Red Queen are not in this book, but rather in the sequel "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There".