Where am I?
Home -> The Evolution of the Text -> Alice's Adventures Underground

Alice's Adventures Underground

Lewis Carroll's Dedication from Alice's Adventures Underground

Many people don't realize that what became the world-wide cultural phenomenon of Alice in Wonderland, began as a simple Christmas present from Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) to the young daughter of his collegue, Alice Liddell. However, this manuscript is rather different from the classic we know today. Therefore, any investigation into the "Evolution" of Wonderland must begin with this whimsical manuscript. Underground is only four chapters long, but it includes most of the content from Wonderland. Noticably absent are the scenes in the Duchess' Kitchen, the Mad Tea Party and the Trial. Since I am only focusing on chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Wonderland, I will focus here on the second half of Chapter 3 of Underground, beginning with Alice's encounter with the Caterpillar.


Read Chapter 3 of Underground: Plain Text (with Images)
Read Chapter 3 of Underground: Hyper Text (with Images)

Comparing "Underground" and "Wonderland"

The first major "evolution" of Wonderland was its first transformation of medium: from manuscript to print. This transformation required Carroll to make many edits to the language and to add whole scenes and chapters. Even the title was transformed from Alice's Adventures Underground to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This was perhaps the last evolution of Wonderland that Carroll had any control over, and it's a pretty important step for understanding Alice's journey over time. One of the nice things about the internet as a medium, is that it is pretty easy to display text comparisons. For example, printing in two colors is expensive and difficult, but publishing a web page in two colors is incredibly simple. Below I've experimented with a couple ways of displaying the major changes between Underground and Wonderland to help illustrate both how the text "evolved" and how the internet can be advantageous as a medium for studying literature.


"Under Ground" vs "Wonderland": Side by Side Comparison
"Under Ground" vs "Wonderland": Major Changes Highlighted
"Under Ground" vs "Wonderland": Carroll's and Tenniel's Illustrations