The Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester

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Synopsis

On a summer's day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London.
Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image--as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation--as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature. Dodgson's love of photography framed his view of the world, and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" than meets the eye. Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.
Acclaim for Simon Winchester
"An exceptionally engaging guide at home everywhere, ready for anything, full of gusto and seemingly omnivorous curiosity."
--Pico Iyer, The New York Times Book Review
"A master at telling a complex story compellingly and lucidly."
--USA Today
"Extraordinarily graceful."
--Time
"Winchester is an exquisite writer and a deft anecdoteur."
--Christopher Buckley
"A lyrical writer and an indefatigable researcher."
--Newsweek
 

About Simon Winchester

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Simon Winchester is the author of Atlantic, The Professor and the Madman, The Map that Changed the World, and A Crack in the Edge of the World, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers. In recognition of his accomplished body of work, Winchester was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006. He lives in Manhattan and western Massachusetts.
 
Published February 17, 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA. 123 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Alice Behind Wonderland

Kirkus Reviews

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To fill in the background, the author retraces Dodgson’s early schooling from years at the Rugby School to his arrival at Oxford (that “forcing-house for flaneurs”) and three formative “epiphanies”: the beginning of his side career as Lewis Carroll, a developing friendship with the children of hi...

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The Guardian

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Alice's siblings – also photographed that day – would have been present, as would, almost certainly, Alice's formidable mother Lorina, or at least her governess, Mary Prickett, any of whom could presumably have stopped anything inappropriate happening.

Apr 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

The Guardian

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Alice's siblings – also photographed that day – would have been present, as would, almost certainly, Alice's formidable mother Lorina, or at least her governess, Mary Prickett, any of whom could presumably have stopped anything inappropriate happening.

Apr 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

The Guardian

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Alice's siblings – also photographed that day – would have been present, as would, almost certainly, Alice's formidable mother Lorina, or at least her governess, Mary Prickett, any of whom could presumably have stopped anything inappropriate happening.

Apr 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Publishers Weekly

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Winchester (The Professor and the Madman) explores the story behind Alice in Wonderland by focusing on an 1858 portrait taken by the eccentric Charles Dodgson—best known by his pen-name, Lewis Carroll.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Christian Science Monitor

I almost wanted to use the same words as I read The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester’s new contribution to the field of “Wonderland” studies.

Mar 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Express

Winchester's fascinating research focuses on Dodgson and his controversial "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" snapped a couple of years before Dodgson/Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland swept to international popularity.

Mar 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Bookmarks Magazine

Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

Acclaim for Simon Winchester

"An exceptionally engaging guide at home everywhere, ready for anything...

Mar 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Project MUSE

Despite its title, the subject of Winchester's latest examination is not really the comparatively enigmatic Alice but rather the circumstances regarding a famous photograph taken of her by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who would later use her as the...

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Project MUSE

Despite its title, the subject of Winchester's latest examination is not really the comparatively enigmatic Alice but rather the circumstances regarding a famous photograph taken of her by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who would later use her as the...

| Read Full Review of The Alice Behind Wonderland

Project MUSE

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