Charles-Lutwidge-Dodgson

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Salvador Dalí Illustrates “Alice in Wonderland”

Alice in Wonderland was written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. It was first published in 1865 and has been illustrated by many different artists. The most famous artist to lend his talents was that of Salvador Dalí.

He completed a total of thirteen illustrations, one for each chapter of the book, and one original signed etching in 4 colors as the frontpiece. This edition was published by New York’s Maecenas Press-Random House in 1969 and distributed as their book of the month. The volume went on to become one of the most sought after Dalí suites of all time.

Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
'Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
'Then,’ said the Cat, 'it doesn’t matter.
—  Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Many people have come and gone from Wonderland, but only the most special ones discover what it’s truly about: finding yourself.
— Once Upon A Time In Wonderland.

Artwork: Beyond The Mirror, by Gloria Scholik.

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Victorian Pre-Raphaelite photography

Roger Fenton, Bolton Abbey, West Window, 1854
Henry White, Ferns and Brambles, 1856
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Amy Hughes, 1863
David Wilkie Wynfield, William Holman Hunt, early 1860s
Henry Peach Robinson, Elaine Watching the Shield of Launcelot, 1862
Julia Margaret Cameron, Pomona, 1872
John R. Parsons, Jane Morris, 1865
Frederick Pickersgill, Sunshine and Shade, 1859
Henry Peach Robinson, The Lady of Shalott, 1860 

Pre-Raphaelite artists painted with such precision that some critics accused them of copying photographs. Many photographers in turn looked to the language of Pre-Raphaelite painting in an effort to establish their nascent medium as a fine art. Both photographers and painters — many of whom knew one another — drew inspiration directly from nature. In choosing subjects, they also mined literature, history, and religion, as well as modern life.’ ~{x}~

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?“
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Happy Birthday to one of our favorite writers: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.  Dodgson was born on January 27, 1832 in the little parsonage of Daresbury in Cheshire near the towns of Warrington and Runcorn.  His novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass are those rare books that you can read dozens of times and discover something new each time.

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John Tenniel’s (Engraving); ’Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named ‘Alice’ who falls down a Rabbit Hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.

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On this date in 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - the author and curator of literary nonsense - was born. A writer, logician, mathematician and photographer, you’d know him by his better (pen) name - Lewis Carroll.

His notable works are known around the globe: from the poems ’Jabberwocky’ and ’The Hunting of the Snark’ to his most proud achievements of literary fantasy - Alice in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking-Glass.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Although most are familiar with the illustrated diversity of Carroll’s works (Maria Popova shines light on one: Ralph Steadman’s 1973 masterpiece, over at brainpickings), the most referenced works of Carroll’s have been brought to life through Disney’s 1951 animated classic ’Alice in Wonderland, the 2010 re-imagining by Tim Burton, and (if you can remember back this far) their 1991-1995 television series ’Adventures in Wonderland.

However many others I could add to the list of films and animations (like the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ silent film from 1903), I thought I’d shed my own light onto two which have accompanied me alongside my routine tea parties….ABC’s television series Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, and the above book from which the pictures were taken: Alice and The Space Telescope, by British Physicist, Professor Malcom S. Longair.

However uncertain the fate (second season) of ABC’s television series may be, it launches you back into the magical realm we’re all so familiar with, but with more twists, turns, schemes and realism than you could attempt to imagine. Very well done in my opinion, as it had me hooked from the first minutes of viewing. Keep your eyes on this to see where it goes and be sure to dive back into Wonderland for yourselves and experience it from a more mysterious perspective.

Although this book was published in 1989 before the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, that’s what makes it so fantastic to read, especially while taken on a journey through NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute (at Johns Hopkins University - now home to operations for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and the Kepler Data Management Center) with Alice and all of the quixotic characters which accompanied her throughout her time spent in Wonderland.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Except…the world of Wonderland isn’t so “mad” or “strange” when discussed in parallel with reality. In the book, Alice is tasked with composing a lecture to describe the scientific knowledge projected to be acquired through the 1984 launch and use of the HST, extending our knowledge of the cosmos while advancing the fields of astrophysics and cosmology throughout the spacecraft’s 15-year projected lifespan in the process.

Through the looking glass mirrors….

Along the way, Alice is guided along on her journey by the Cheshire Cat, where she’s educated on the interstellar medium (the space between the stars) where, just like the Cheshire Cat himself, nothing really stays in one place for very long. During her intervention of a planetary “caucus-race”, Alice meets large to small characters whom focus individually on, well….large to small bodies in the solar system, of course. When Alice encounters a tea party with the Mad Hatter, she poses to him riddles which still baffle astronomers/astrophysicists and cosmologists today, namely, dark matter and dark energy.

Alice and The Space Telescope is a brilliant book which mounts the paradoxical physics of the (large) cosmological to the (small) quantum, revealing the not-so-distant relationship between our Wonderland (reality) and Lewis Carroll’s. Make sure you look for this one in your local bookstore, it’s a gem I’m proud to own.

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.”

So yes, here’s to you, Lewis Carroll, for inspiring the minds and imaginations of naturally-born scientists young to old, encouraging us all to stay “curiouser and curiouser…”

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) is a well-known author under the  pen-name of Lewis Carroll. Dodgson studied at the University of Oxford and became a mathematician. He met the Liddell sisters (Lorina, Alice, and Edith) and found Alice as the muse for a story. Dodgson is most famous for writing Alice in Wonderland. He has also written many other works. 

I find him quite interesting, and there’s plenty of interesting things about him.