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The Evolution of "The Text"
"There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought!" - Alice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865 by Charles Dodgson (1832-1898), under the pseudonym “Lewis Caroll.” The basic plot of the novel reports the dream of young girl, Alice, in which she falls down a rabbit hole and meets many peculiar creatures and characters in a fantasy kingdom, “Wonderland.” The text of the novel is based on a story which Dodgson, a fellow at Oxford, told to Alice Liddell, the daughter of one of his colleagues. The spirit of the book is inescapably playful, making it a favorite among children and adults alike. It is also often considered one of the best examples of both the “nonsense” and “fantasy” genres of literature. The popularity of the novel, which has continued uninterrupted to the present day, inspired Carroll to write a sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The two books together are often referred to simply as Alice in Wonderland. This website deals primarily with three chapters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:“Advice from a Caterpillar,” “Pig and Pepper,” and “A Mad Tea Party.” This section explores two “evolutions” of the text of these chapters: from the manuscript to the printed edition, and from print to electronic editions. If you are interested in learning more about the theory of "text" and text evolution, see the essay at the bottom of the page.
The First Evolution:
from "Underground" to "Wonderland"
Explore how Carroll's Christmas present for Alice Liddell evolved into a world-wide classic.
The Second Evolution:
from print to pixels
Explore how Alice's Adventures in Wonderland continues to evolve, moving from a print medium to an electrontic medium.
Click here to read a brief essay on text and medium, how they interact, and the advantages and disadvantages of Electronic Text.