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There Was a Real Alice in Wonderland

on December 6, 2011 – 11:02 am

One would think that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is sufficiently delightful and magical on its own. And it is, of course. After all, how can a story that transcends time be enhanced?  Well, wonder of wonder, C.M Rubin with daughter Gabriella have done just that. The Real Alice In Wonderland is chock full of biographical and historical information pertaining to the real Alice – Alice Liddell – and to the long gone Victorian era of her childhood. But a picture is worth a thousand words, and this book also features innumerable photographs and illustrations that serve to detail the interconnected worlds – both of seemingly equal charm – of our two Alice’s.

Young Alice Liddell
[Image courtesy of Henmead Enterprises, Inc.] 

Before the Mad Hatter ever threw a tea party, the real Alice Liddell was capturing the imagination of the man the world would come to know as Lewis Carroll. Carroll wrote in 1880 “Without Alice’s infant patronage I might never have written.”

The story behind the greatest children’s book of all time is captured in a magnificent new pictorial biography The Real Alice in Wonderland. In the book Liddell’s relatives, C.M. and Gabriella Rubin have included in their research the largest Alice in Wonderland collection in the world (i.e. that owned by Alice herself) and for the first time reveal the comprehensive ways in which the original Alice was responsible for the novel written in 1865.

Lewis Carroll and Dodo
[Image courtesy of Henmead Enterprises, Inc.

The Real Alice in Wonderland takes readers through the looking glass and into the life of Alice Liddell, who met Charles Dodgson when she was four years old. Dodgson, who later came to fame as Lewis Carroll, was an awkward and shy teacher at Christ Church, Oxford University, where Alice’s father was employed as Dean and ultimately Vice Chancellor. An amateur photographer, Dodgson would take pictures of Alice and her sisters while entertaining them with imaginative stories. By the time Alice was ten, those tales came to include a girl named Alice, a magic rabbit hole, and a Cheshire Cat among other now familiar characters. Alice asked Dodgson to write the story down for her. Two years later, he delivered to her a hand written manuscript that would become a towering classic.

The three sisters.
[Image courtesy of Henmead Enterprises, Inc.]

The Real Alice in Wonderland is a magnificent coffee-table book that contains more than 500 illustrations and photographs of Alice Liddell and her iconic namesake.  In a first of its kind telling, the authors journeyed to England to capture the entire story of the young woman, her relationship with Lewis Carroll, her adult life spent as the object of obsessive love, her many tragedies and triumphs and to study her personal Alice In Wonderland collection spread among several locations.

Alice’s Governess Pricks
[Image courtesy of Henmead Enterprises, Inc.]

In rich detail, readers will discover the answers to these questions, and more:

  • What really went on between young Alice and the author?
  • How did becoming Alice in Wonderland alter Alice Liddell’s life?
  • Are there other characters in the book based on real life people?
  • Why was Alice Liddell forced to sell the original manuscript given to her by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)?
  • What role did America play in making Alice Liddell and Alice in Wonderland legendary?
  • What does Alice Liddel’s personal collection tell us about her lifelong relationship with Lewis Carroll?
  • What is the importance of The Real Alice in Wonderland in today’s world?
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