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Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said, ‘ and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

And so, please do enter the magical world of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll and published in 1865/6. Remaining as bizarre a story ever told, when it first captured the imagination of the Victorian era, 155 years ago, do come down the glorious rabbit hole and enter the incredibly ever intriguing world of Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser.

Initially released as episodes the adventures of Alice became a cultural phenomenon which, in so many ways created statements on politics of the day, culture, art, also presenting the never ending journey of being curious; discovering things that should be enjoyed, learned from and discovered.

That Lewis Carroll created something that would still be as curious and addictive all these many years on, is a tribute indeed to the man who really did think further that his Victorian upbringing should or could have allowed, as he also considered that Museums should be considered as a book, with fresh information displayed on every ‘page’ of the exhibition. The V&A had not long opened, when Alice was first published.

Over the years children have been either terrified or fascinated by such characters as the March Hare, the Door-mouse, The Tweedle brothers, the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and so many more beloved over the generations, with the many characters, along with the story created by Carroll, providing inspiration to be re-imaged as stage plays, animation and magic lantern shows and now in the 21st century finding their way into computer games and other areas of technology.

Created to compliment the exhibition is the elegant and creative guide Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, a magical book filled with incredible illustrations showing Alice down through her many incarnations, the history of the story from concept to modern day, the fascination still very evident with the story and the characters, all drawn from the fertile imagination of polymath Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel in 1865/6.

For those unable to go to the exhibition the book is a the perfect guide, as anyone who has a love affair with Alice and her anthropomorphic friends, will enjoy the journey of once again going down the ‘rabbit hole’ to a place that is free from preconceived ideas, far, far away from the madding world of 2020, to enjoy a surreal moment out of time, once again to emerge refreshed.

Pages and pages of vibrant full colour illustrations, interspersed with many of Alice’s immortal quotes are a feast for the eyes which intriguingly so, resonate with the mad, surreal and extraordinary world of 2020 in which we all find ourselves.

On a final note and as you will discover, perhaps there is a little of Alice in all of us as in this trying year we can all relate to the beauty before and all around us, but have often asked the immortal question ‘ Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!’

Author Kate Bailey. Ed: Simon Sladen
Publisher V&A Publications
ISBN 9781838510046
Distributor Bloomsbury Publishing
Released August 2020