This month, we celebrate 150 years of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll.
Natural storyteller Carroll dreamt up Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1862. Whilst travelling down river with the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (where Carroll lectured in Mathematics) and his family, he told the story of a bored little girl called Alice who goes looking for an adventure. The daughter, Alice Liddell, asked for it to be written down – it eventually taking Carroll two and a half years to complete.
Alexander Macmillan agreed to publish it under Dodgson’s pen name, Lewis Carroll, on the understanding that Carroll paid for the printing and, because of this, he requested that the book be covered in ‘bright red’ rather than the usual Macmillan ‘green’.
Carroll asked John Tennie, lead cartoonist for the political magazine Punch, to help bring the story to life. Tennie’s paper drawings for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were then carved into woodblocks by skilled engravers the Brothers Dalziel, which were then used as masters for making the electrotype copies for the actual book printing. (The original woodblocks are now in the British Library.)
Other options for the title, including Alice Among the Fairies and Alice’s Golden Hour were rejected and the book was finally published by Macmillan in 1865 as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The entire print run sold out quickly. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print and has been translated into at least 176 languages.
Choose your size
Choose your size
See below for a sneaky peek as to what’s coming up throughout the rest of 2015.