Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an enduring classic which has captivated both young and old audiences for several decades. In fact, this November marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s beloved fiction; so to celebrate this notable occasion, we present 5 things you probably didn’t know about both the book and its author:
Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym… for a mathematician
It’s true – his real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and was actually a poorly-known mathematician by profession. With works like A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry and The Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically under his belt (admittedly not quite as well known as Alice’s…), Dodgson – on his way to being known as Carroll – made a big career move in 1865 and went on to pen one of the most well-known literature throughout human history. Not a bad addition to his C.V…
The character of Alice was inspired by a real girl with the same name
Alice Liddell was the young daughter of Henry Liddell (the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford) and lent her name to the story once Carroll began writing and creating characters. His role as a mathematician meant he often stayed with the Liddell family on the university campus, and came to know them all very well. Without this relationship, the book may arguably have never been written at all!
Some of its most famous characters came from retellings of the original, much shorter work
Because Carroll never envisioned becoming an author with any substantial notoriety, he often found himself reworking parts of a much shorter story than the final novel in order to appease the requests of children who loved the story. As a result, the book doubled in length and went on to describe the quirky behaviour of legendary children’s characters like the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, both of whom are indelibly linked with Alice’s fantastical journey.
The original intended title was not ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’
A diary entry of Carroll’s revealed a few less enticing working titles he had in mind before settling on the more sensible final version, including the initial Alice’s Adventures Underground, Alice Among the Fairies, and more peculiar runner-up, Alice’s Hour in Elfland. Of course, nowadays the story is commonly shortened to just Alice in Wonderland, which is also the name of the 2010 Disney film adaptation.
Mock Turtle Soup was a real and popular dish in Victorian times…
…and is still a delicacy in China! Yummy…?