This morning I read an interesting article over at The Telegraph. It seems our beloved Alice, from Lewis Carrol’s terribly imaginative story Alice In Wonderland, is celebrating 150 years in print and Royal Mail has created stamps in honour of this bookish anniversary.
The article takes a look at some of the assumptions and stabs that have been taken at Carrol and the story, and points out the social commentary that it was molded to fit.
“It’s symptomatic of our tabloid culture to think people must have secrets, that there must be some scandal,” says Prof Brooker. “But I don’t genuinely think he had scandalous secrets.”
The popular appeal of the story meanwhile endures. The 1951 Disney film was one of several to be made, the most recent of which was Tim Burton’s dark adaptation from 2010. There are video games, there are theme park rides and there is endless merchandise.
Future generations may see other hidden meanings. In a tale this rich, it seems highly likely they will. But for children the story itself, with its universal theme of an innocent youngster attempting to make sense of a strange adult world, is enough.
So down the rabbit hole we go, and let’s leave our modern assumptions at the door
Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol is one of my favorite childhood books. A book I’ve read a handful of times both as a child and as an adult, and while it does seem a bit bizarre, I’ve loved it every time.
The above article from The Telegraph makes an incredible point about how different generations have viewed it, and isn’t that the truth. We view everything, especially things from before our time, through the lense of our own culture…forgetting, of course, that it was created at a different, and often simpler, time in history.
Whether Carrol had secrets, and whether those secrets happen to be the ones already accused or ones we haven’t had the insight to accuse him of yet, doesn’t matter.
Alice in Wonderland is a wonderfully imaginative story, that is dear to my own heart; and if you want, it seems you can also turn it into a social commentary to fit our latest cultural hang-up.
Regardless, she’s 150 and deserving of a celebration if I dare say so myself!