Alternative Alices

Alternative Alices: Visions and Revisions of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books

Edited by Carolyn Sigler
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition: 1
Pages: 428
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  • Book Info
    Alternative Alices
    Book Description:

    Lewis Carroll'sAlice in Wonderland(1865) andThrough the Looking Glass(1871) are among the most enduring works in the English language. In the decades following their publication, writers on both sides of the Atlantic produced no fewer than two hundred imitations, revisions, and parodies of Carroll's fantasies for children. Carolyn Sigler has gathered the most interesting and original of these responses to the Alice books, many of them long out of print. Produced between 1869 and 1930, these works trace the extraordinarily creative, and often critical, response of diverse writers. These writers -- male and female, radical and conservative -- appropriated Carroll's structures, motifs, and themes in their Alice-inspired works in order to engage in larger cultural debates. Their stories range from Christina Rossetti's angry subversion of Alice's adventures,Speaking Likenesses(1874), to G.E. Farrow's witty fantasy adventure,The Wallypug of Why(1895), to Edward Hope's hilarious parody of social and political foibles,Alice in the Delighted States(1928). Anyone who has ever followed Alice down the rabbit hole will enjoy the adventures of her literary siblings in the wide Wonderland of the human imagination.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4826-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxiv)

    Alternative Alicesbrings together some of the most lively and original of the almost two hundred literary imitations, revisions, and parodies of Lewis Carroll’s enduringly influentialAlice’s Adventures in WonderlandandThrough the Looking-Glass.Produced between 1869 and 1930, the works represented here do not passively imitate Carroll, but trace the extraordinarily coherent, creative, and often critical responses to theAlicenovels.

    TheAliceimitations of this period embody the golden age of Carroll’s influence on popular literature. They are associated in the ways they all adapt the structures, motifs, and themes of the originalAlicebooks and respond to...

  5. Part One: Subverting Wonderland
    • Mopsa the Fairy (1869): Reeds and Rushes – The Queen’s Wand – Failure
      (pp. 3-27)
      Jean Ingelow

      Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) was a well-known British novelist, children’s writer, and poet, who was so highly regarded by such contemporaries as Tennyson, Ruskin, and Christina Rossetti that she was nominated for the post of poet laureate. A shy woman who never married (and who claimed, “If I had married, I shouldnothave written books”), lngelowwas born in Lincolnshire but lived most of her life in London. She successfully supported herself and members of her family as a writer, noting: “I find it one of the great pleasures of writing, that it gives me more command of money for such...

    • Amelia and the Dwarfs (1870)
      (pp. 28-49)
      Juliana Horatia Ewing

      Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-85) was the daughter of Margaret Gatty, another well-known Victorian writer for children and the founder ofAunt judy’s Magazine,which Ewing later edited and where “Amelia and the Dwarfs” was first published. She was also a frequent contributor to Charlotte Yonge’sMonthly Packet,where many of her longer works, such asThe Brownies,were serialized. She wrote many fairy tales, as well as domestic stories such asjackanapes, jan of the Windmill,andThe Story of a Short Life,and was an important influence on both Rudyard Kipling and E. Nesbit. Though her works address moral...

    • From Speaking Likenesses (1874)
      (pp. 50-65)
      Christina Rossetti

      British writer and poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) was a quiet, reclusive, and deeply spiritual woman. A close friend of Jean lngelow, she was the author of several works for children, includingGoblin Market(1862) andSing-Song(1872). In a letter to her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter, she describesSpeaking Likenesses¹as “merely a Christmas trifle, would-be in theAlicestyle, with an eye to the market.”² Though it does share certain similarities withAlice in Wonderland—the dream-fantasy form, violent and threatening talking animals and animated objects, and abrupt changes in size and location...

    • Behind the White Brick (1879)
      (pp. 66-78)
      Frances Hodgson Burnett

      Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was born in England, where she grew up in Manchester. She later lived for a time with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee, and with her husband in Washington, D.C., and on Long Island, New York. Burnett was a prolific author of works for both adults and children, and such novels asLittle Lord Fauntleroy(1886),A Little Princess(1905), andThe Secret Garden(1911) are still popular with modern readers. Already known for her fiction for adults, Burnett was encouraged to publish some of the stories she had written for her own children after a meeting...

    • Wanted—A King; or, How Merle Set the Nursery Rhymes to Right (1890)
      (pp. 79-145)
      Maggie Browne

      Maggie Browne was the pseudonym of Margaret Hamer Andrewes, a British author of poetry, travel books, and fantasies for children. Both herWanted—A KingandThe Book of Betty Barber(1900) show the influence of the Alice books. Indeed, Carroll owned a copy ofWanted—A Kingas part of his collection “of books of the Alice type.”¹ Browne’s heroine, Merle, however, is an original and engaging character, courageous and defiant in her determination to vanquish the autocratic Grunter Grim. Unlike Carroll’s Alice, who attempts to survive in the Wonderland and Looking-Glass worlds by adapting and acquiescing, Merle is...

    • A New Alice in the Old Wonderland (1895): Peggy the Pig – The Duchess and Her House – The Tweedles – The Pageant
      (pp. 146-178)
      Anna M. Richards

      Anna Matlack Richards (1835-1900) is generally remembered as the wife of William Trost Richards, a successful pre-Raphaelite painter who was an admirer and acquaintance of John Ruskin. At the time of her marriage to Richards in 1856, however, Anna Matlack had already earned a reputation as a successful poet and playwright. She and her husband eventually had eight children, settling—after extensive travel abroad—in Newport, Rhode Island. Richards published a sequence of sonnets in 1881 entitledDramatic Sonnets,and another in 1891,Letter and Spirit.In the 1890s she published comic poems for children in children’s magazines such as...

    • Justnowland (1912)
      (pp. 179-190)
      E. Nesbit

      Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) has been described as the first modern l, children’s writer. She published a number of fantasy stories and novels for children includingFive Children and It(1902),The Phoenix and the Carpet(1904), andThe Railway Children(1906), most of which are still in print and widely read. She and her husband, Hubert Bland, were good friends with the writers George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells and were founding members of the socialist Fabian Society. Nesbit’s socialism is often reflected in her work for children, as in this dream-fantasy. Cruelly imprisoned in the attic by her aunt,...

  6. Part Two: The Didactic Looking-Glass
    • Ernest (1869)
      (pp. 193-205)
      Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen

      Edward H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, Baron Brabourne (1829-1893) was a great-nephew of Jane Austen and edited a collection of her letters to her sister Cassandra. Politically liberal, he also served for a time as a member of Gladstone’s cabinet. In 1869 he released a collection of literary fairy tales,Stories for My Children,which contained the following story, “Ernest,” and later published a number of other collections of children’s tales. His stories were criticized particularly for being violent and macabre—though bothAlicebooks received similar criticism from some reviewers who felt that children would find them frightening and confusing. Along with...

    • From Nowhere to the North Pole: A Noah’s Ark-Æological Narrative (1875): How Frank Fared in Teumendtlandt – What Happened to Frank in Quadrupedremia
      (pp. 206-222)
      Tom Hood

      British writer, editor, and humorist Tom Hood (1835-1874) was the son of the renowned poet Thomas Hood. Hood the Younger edited the humor magazineFun,a rival ofPunch,and wrote a number of books for children, includingPetsetilla’s Posy(1870), an imitation of William Makepeace Thackeray’sThe Rose and the Ring(1855), andFrom Nowhere to the North Pole,an imitation of Carroll’sAlice in Wonderland. Ironically, in 1887 Edward Salmon suggested thatAlice in Wonderlandwas probably inspired byFrom Nowhere to the North Pole(apparently not realizing that Carroll’s book had been published ten years earlier), asserting...

    • Down the Snow Stairs; or, From Good-Night to Good-Morning (1887): Naughty Children Land
      (pp. 223-232)
      Alice Corkran

      Alice Corkran (d. 1916) was a British novelist who wrote a number ofAlice-like fantasies—includingDown the Snow Stairs, Mrs. Wishing-To-Be(1883), andjoan’s Adventures at the North Pole and Elsewhere(1889)—as well as domestic fiction for girls such asMargery Merton’s Girlhood.She also served as the editor of a children’s magazine calledThe Bairn’s Annual. Down the Snow Stairsopens on Christmas Eve with Kitty feeling sad and guilty over the illness of her crippled brother Johnnie, whom she had innocently taken out into the cold to see a snowman. Much like Flora in Rossetti’sSpeaking...

  7. Part Three: Sentimental Re-Creations
    • Davy and the Goblin, or What Followed Reading “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1885): The Moving Forest
      (pp. 235-242)
      Charles E. Carryl

      Charles E. Carryl (1841-1920) made his career as a director of railroad companies and as a New York stockbroker. He was inspired by his son Guy to write a fantasy in the style of his near-namesake, Lewis Carroll. Dedicated to Guy,Davy and the Goblinswas first serialized inSt. Nicholasmagazine in 1884 before being published in book form. Enthusiastically received as an AmericanAlice in Wonderland, Davy and the Goblinsand the 1892 fantasyThe Admiral’s Caravan(which introduced an adventurous young heroine named Dorothy a decade before L. Frank Baum’s Oz books) clearly show the influence of...

    • The Wallypug of Why (1895): The Way to Why – Breakfast for Tea – Girlie Sees the Wallypug – What Is a Goo?
      (pp. 243-267)
      G.E. Farrow

      George Edward Farrow (1866?-1920?)¹ was a popular and commercially successful British author of at least thirty works for children, includingAlice-like fantasies and adventure stories, as well as poetry. He wrote a number ofWallypugbooks afterThe Wallypug of Why,includingAdventures in Wallypugland(1898) andIn Search of the Wallypug(1903). Like Lewis Carroll, who authorized suchAlice-related merchandise as anAlicebiscuit tin and anAlicepostage stamp case, Farrow capitalized on his books’ success through such items as “The Wallypug Birthday Book.” Like Carroll, Farrow also encouraged his young audience to write to him, and responded...

    • New Adventures of “Alice” (1917): Found in the Attic – To Bunberry Cross, or Along Came a Snipe – The Peevish Printer – Fire!!
      (pp. 268-288)
      John Rae

      John Rae (1882-1963) was best known as an American illustrator and painter who painted the portraits of such luminaries as Carl Sandburg and Albert Einstein. Rae also wrote and illustrated a number of works for children. A student of the renowned author/illustrator Howard Pyle, Rae created detailed illustrations and decorations forNew Adventures of “Alice”that are reminiscent of Pyle’s ornate, Pre-Raphaelite style. Rae’s sequel, like Richards’s, is framed by a domestic scene in which a young girl, Betsy, longs for “more Alice.” In an ensuing dream Betsy discovers a stack of “Wish There Were More Books” in the attic,...

    • Uncle Wiggily in Wonderland (1916): Uncle Wiggily and Wonderland Alice – Uncle Wiggily and the March Hare – Uncle Wiggily and the Cheshire Cat
      (pp. 289-298)
      Howard R. Garis

      Howard R. Garis (1873-1962) was a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and children’s writer, originator not only of the well-known Uncle Wiggily stories, games, and toys, but of many other popular novels and novel series for children. These range from science fiction and boys’ adventure stories to animal fantasy and domestic tales, including theCurley Top, Rocket Rider,andTeddyseries. Garis also worked for more than fifty years (from 1896 to 1947) as a reporter and feature writer for theNewark (N.J.) Evening News,where he first began publishing his “Uncle Wiggily Longears” stories in 1910. The tales, for which Garis...

    • From David Blaize and the Blue Door (1919)
      (pp. 299-328)
      E.F. Benson

      Edward Frederic Benson (1867-1940) was the son of Archbishop Edward White. Benson was one of the most prolific and popular writers of the Edwardian era, flourishing in the same period as Oscar Wilde, Saki (H.H. Munro), and P.G. Wodehouse. The author of more than one hundred books and two hundred short stories, as well as poetry, drama, biography, and social commentary, Benson is best remembered for his chilling tales of the supernatural and for his Mapp and Lucia books—acerbic social comedies set in the village of Tilling.

      Benson wrote three books about David Blaize. The first,David Blaize(1916),...

  8. Part Four: Political Parodies
    • The Westminster Alice (1900-1902): Alice in Downing Street – Alice in Pall Mall – Alice and the Liberal Party
      (pp. 331-339)

      Saki was the pen name of Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), which he adopted in 1900 before beginning his collaboration with political cartoonist F. Carruthers Gould on theAlicesketches for theWestminster Gazette.These sketches marked the beginning of a brief but significant writing career; Munro went on to author several short story collections, plays, and three novels. Though the sketches inAlice in Westminsterspecifically reflect British uneasiness with the Boer War in South Mrica, they anticipate Saki’s later work in a number of respects, satirizing the smug complacency of the English upper class, and—as in many of...

    • Clara in Blunderland (1902): In a Hole Again
      (pp. 340-347)
      Caroline Lewis

      “Caroline Lewis” was really the collaborative team of Harold Begbie (1871-1929), J. Stafford Ransome (b. 1860), and M. H. Temple, who together wrote twoAlice-inspired political parodies,Clara in Blunderland and Lost in Blunderland(1903). Begbie, who also wrote under the pseudonym “A Gentleman With a Duster,” worked as a journalist for a number of British newspapers. He also authored more than twenty-five novels, works of nonfiction and biographies, includingThe Political Struwwelpeter(1899),The Life of William Booth, the Founder of the Salvation Army(1920), and anAlice-like fantasy novel,Bundy in the Greenwood(1902). Ransome, the illustrator as well...

    • Alice in Blunderland, An Iridescent Dream (1907): Off to Blunderland – Ownership of Children
      (pp. 348-360)
      John Kendrick Bangs

      John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922) was an American humorist and author of novels, short fiction, essays and drama. Unlike his contemporaries and colleagues Samuel Clemens and Ambrose Bierce, Bangs sought more to entertain and delight with his good-natured wit than to satirize, and his urbane but gentle style of humor was an inspiration for Harold Ross in founding theNew Yorkermagazine in the 1920s. The father of three boys, Bangs was also a writer and collector of fairy tales, legends, and myths, collaborating with Charles Macauley on anAlice-like fantasy calledEmblemlandin 1902. HisAlice in Blunderlandpokes fun...

    • Alice and the Stork: A Fairy Tale for Workingmen’s Children (1915): Alice Visits the American Eagle
      (pp. 361-367)
      Henry T. Schnittkind

      Henry Thomas Schnittkind (1886-1970) was the full name of the American author who also wrote under the pen name Henry Thomas. Highly educated, with a doctor of philosophy degree from Harvard University, Schnittkind wrote books ranging in subject from mathematics and politics to biography and philosophy. Indeed, in aWho’s Whoentry from the late 1930s, Schnittkind listed his hobby (with what degree of irony it is impossible to say) as “education of the masses.” His satire,Alice and the Stork,is particularly interesting in its appropriation of the familiarAliceform and character for a strongly socialist and pro-women’s...

    • Alice in the Delighted States (1928): Through the Drinking-Glass – Jealous Island – Humble Pie – The Censor Incensed
      (pp. 368-386)
      Enward Hope

      Edward Hope was the pen name of American author and screenwriter Edward Hope Coffey (1896-1958). He began his career in advertising and, in the early 1920s, was invited by theNew York Herald Tribuneto serve as a substitute for Don Marquis, who wrote the popular “The Lantern” column, while Marquis was on vacation. HisAlice in the Delighted Statesbegan, like Marquis’sArchy and Mehitabel,as comic sketches for theTribune,satirizing such issues as immigration restrictions, Prohibition, the American “trial and error” justice system, censorship, and “the Department of Infernal Revenue,” while retaining a charming and urbane sense...

  9. Selected Bibliography of Alice Imitations and Alice-Inspired Works
    (pp. 387-391)