Review Blog

Sep 23 2020

Alice, curiouser and curiouser edited by Kate Bailey and Simon Sladen

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V and A Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781838510046.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Described as 'a mind-bending journey into the story of Wonderland', this sumptuous hard cover book has been published to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Victoria and Albert Museum, an exhibition exploring the origins, adaptations and reinventions over the years of Lewis Carroll's original stories of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
The first section of the book is a collection of beautiful and intricately detailed illustrations by  Kristjana S. Williams that children and adults alike will enjoy exploring. They are colourful scenes from the Alice stories decorated with plants and flowers, strange creatures, timepieces and hidden mirrors to search out.
Then follows the story of Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and his creation of the fantasy stories for his young friend, Alice, daughter of Henry Liddell, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, while passing the time on rowing expeditions with her and her sisters. Those stories of strange other worlds with nonsense verse and absurd dialogue questioning reality and perception were to become a source of delight for both adults and children, and an inspiration for many later adaptations and interpretations in literature, art, film, theatre, science and popular culture.
This book collects together iconic images from the early illustrations by John Tenniel to surrealist art, to the fashion statements of Vivenne Westwood, Viktor and Rolf, and Galliano for Dior. An allegory of Alice's adventures has been used as an introduction to the quantum world, and in a reference to her quest to discover more about our universe, her name was given to the 'Large Ion Collider Experiment' at CERN, the European Organisaton for Nuclear Research.
The legacy of Alice in Wonderland lives on in so many ways; this book provides a wonderful insight into the amazing impact those early stories have had, and is a volume that many will find much pleasure in perusing.
Helen Eddy

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