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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Alice in Wonderland Events

Dr. Mary Mullen reports on the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

On July 4, 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) told Alice Liddell and her sisters a story to entertain them as they rowed up the River Thames. Alice liked this story so much that she asked him to write it down.  The result was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a book that has lived many lives in its 150 years.  Even people who haven’t read the narrative are familiar with the story: Alice stumbles down a rabbit hole and encounters food and drink that make her dramatically change size, a White Rabbit who perpetually checks his watch, a Mad Hatter in the midst of a tea party, a Cheshire Cat who disappears, and many other strange creatures and curious events. It’s inspired films, art, even Beatles songs (read here) while also leading to a new category of literature: children’s literature.

This spring, Villanova’s English department will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a tea party (cake included).  But in the Philadelphia area, the celebration has already begun.  The Rosenbach has an exhibit, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” which includes public programs where you can learn more about Alice Liddell, the girl behind the story; consider illustrations of the book; or participate in a reading group (click here). Villanova English professor, Dr. Megan Quigley, was even able to see the original manuscript at the Rosenbach (see photo below).  In turn, this November, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute will show four films that draw on Alice’s adventures (click here).  We look forward to going down the rabbit hole with you!

Dr. Megan Quigley and daughter Penelope at the Rosenbach (Penelope's first rare book exhibit!)