Many Victorian novels never make their way past high school or college reading lists. Soon after it was first published on November 26, 1865, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland struck a chord with almost everyone who read it.
Tolkien’s first fantasy work, which was an unpublished Beowulf translation, would not come for another sixty years. But that’s the subject of another “things you didn’t know” list. History is replete with lists like these. More to the point, Alice in Wonderland was a truly groundbreaking work that heavily influenced all future fantasy writers.
We choose to publish this article now because in his diary, on August 2nd Carroll will write: “Finally decided on the reprint of Alice, and that the first 2,000 shall be sold as waste paper.” In an introduction to a later edition of Alice in Wonderland, Carroll scholar Morton N Cohen writes that the author “would probably have been content to leave the first edition stand and, at most, would have wanted the later impressions printed more carefully. For him, it was simply a case of making concessions to his uncompromising illustrator.”
Most of us already know the general outline, structure, characters, and so on. Let’s get to know this seminal work a little bit better.