Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded
The Full Text of Lewis Carroll's Novel
with its Many Hidden Meanings Revealed

By David Day
Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

What a great book! First - I already love Alice in Wonderland, I guess that helps, but who doesn't?

This book, a literary criticism of sorts, has the entire text of the original masterpiece with notes, history and context. Not only does Day demonstrate the genius of Carroll in general, but gives an intimate view of the kind of life he lived and what his interests and studies were. This lends much credence to Day's interpretations of the text. We get reasoning and history with the sometimes funny, sometimes esoteric, sometimes historic, yet always fascinating notes and explanations.

Which is not to say that I am 100% with each. I find the odd one to be an educated guess or fancy (always on the minor points) but I found the book so fascinating that I read each page twice.

I have never learned so much from a book before.

I am keeping this copy forever. Not even risking lending it out. Grab one for yourself. And for Christmas for anyone who loves Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and/or entertaining esoteric teachings.

From the Back Flap:

This gorgeous 150th anniversary edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is also a revelatory work of scholarship.

     Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--published 150 years ago in 1865--is a book many of us love and feel we know well. But it turns out we have only scratched the surface. Scholar David Day has spent many years down the rabbit hole of this children's classic and has emerged with a revelatory new view of its contents. What we have here, he brilliantly and persuasively argues, is a complete classical education in coded form--Carroll's gift to his "wonder child" Alice Liddell.
     In two continuous commentaries, woven around the complete text of the novel for ease of cross-reference on every page, David Day reveals the many layers of teaching, concealed by manipulation of language, that are carried so lightly in the beguiling form of a fairy tale. These layers relate directly to Carroll's interest in philosophy, history, mathematics, classics, poetry, spiritualism and even to his love of music--both sacred and profane. His novel is a memory palace, given to Alice as the great gift of an education. It was delivered in coded form because in that age, it was a gift no girl would be permitted to receive in any other way.
     Day also shows how a large number of the characters in the book are based on real Victorians. Wonderland, he shows, is a veritable "Who's Who" of Oxford at the height of its power and influence in the Victorian Age.
     There is so much to be found behind the imaginary characters and creatures that inhabit the pages of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. David Day's warm, witty and brilliantly insightful guide--beautifully designed and stunningly illustrated throughout in full colour--will make you marvel at the book as never before.


DAVID DAY has published 40 books of poetry, ecology, history, fantasy, mythology and fiction. He has been published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. He has also been a magazine editor, a columnist for the Daily Mail and Punch, a scriptwriter for television, a playwright for theatre, and a dramaturge for the Royal Birmingham Ballet. His books have won numerous literary awards and been selected as "Books of the Year" by Time magazine, New Scientist, Parents magazine and The Observer. David Day's books--for both adults and children--have sold over 4 million copies and have been translated into twenty languages.