On 4 July 1862 the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a professor of mathematics at Christ Church College, Oxford, set out on a rowing expedition up the Thames. With him on his rowing trip were the three young daughters of the University’s Vice-Chancellor. The middle child was Alice Liddell, then aged 10. The details of the rowing trip itself are recorded on folio 15 of his diary but the page opposite records why the trip turned out to be so important in the history of English literature. As he rowed up the river Dodgson began to tell the girls a story about a bored child called Alice who follows a white rabbit and ends up having a series of surreal adventures. The story, as recorded in Dodgson’s diary, was initially called ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’. One year later, under his pen name of Lewis Carroll, the story was published in an expanded form with the new title Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The original manuscript of ‘Alice’s Adventure’s Under Ground’ was ultimately presented to Alice Liddell herself, with the dedication: ‘A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer’s Day’.
nor yet - Mar. 12. 1864.
“Alice's Hour in Elfland”? June 9/64.
“Alice's Adventures in Wonderland”? June 28.
July 4 (F) Atkinson brought over to my rooms some friends of his, a Mrs. & Mifs Peters, of whom I took photographs, & who afterwards looked over my albums & staid to lunch. They then went off to the Museum, & Duckworth & I made an expedition up the river to Godstow with the 3 Liddells : we had tea on the bank there, & did not reach Ch. Ch. again till 1/4 past 8, when we took them on to my rooms to see my collection of micro-photographs, & restored them to the Deanery just before 9
July 5 (Sat.) Left, with Atkinson, for London at [9..2,] meeting at the station the Liddells, who went by the same train. We reached 4, Alfred Place about 11, & found Aunt [L.G.G.?] & [E.L.?] there, & took the 2 last to see Marochetti’s Studio. After luncheon Atkinson left, & we visited the Inter-national Bazaar.
- Article by:
- Helen Melody
Helen Melody, British Library Curator of Contemporary Literature, discusses the creation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and introduces our exhibition about a classic of children's literature.
- Article by:
- Will Brooker
Professor Will Brooker, Kingston University, discusses the many interpretations and analyses Alice in Wonderland has undergone in the last 150 years
- Article by:
- Hannah Gabrielle
Hannah Gabrielle, Head of Content and Community at the British Library, looks at some of the literary and social influences on Lewis Carroll that led to the much loved children's novel Alice in Wonderland.