National Geographic : 1991 Jun
Alice's curious adventures lunge into this rabbit hole and explore the wonderland created on a summer day in 1862. Passing strange that Chesh ire Cat, not to mention the Cater pillar with the suspicious hookah. "Curiouser and curiouser" Alice found them. Watch the line between real and make believe dissolve. The Gryphon describes a Victorian schoolroom. The "classical mas ter" teaches Laughing and Grief. The Duch ess, like a dotty governess, is fond of finger wagging moralizing: "If everybody minded their own business, the world would go round a deal faster than it does." Alice steps straight out of a Victorian England of high-walled gardens, overstuffed furniture, nurseries, nannies, and well behaved children. Here Britannia rules eter nal and ever so proper . . just behind that cat with the disconcerting grin. In an age of children genteelly bound by "mustn't" and "shan't," Alice breezes in, slightly naughty, utterly charming. A benchmark in children's literature, Alice lacks the molasses of pious rectitude dripping from books of the era. "Everything's got a moral," says the Duchess, "if only you can find it." Everything except this book. It is pure fun, written not for money and not for fame, Dodgson said, but for the delight of a child he loved. Alice also transcends time and place. Translated into more than 50 lan guages-Arabic to Zulu -depicted by artists from Dali to Disney, it has been concertized, dramatized, and filmed. And analyzed. It has even been pronounced full of "preponder ant oral sadistic trends of cannibalistic character." One might as well try to gain a toehold on a cloud. "Drink me," says a bottle. She Does and shrinks but leaves the key on the table, out of reach. After a string of frustrations, sie cries, and ends up swimming in her own tears with assorted animals. Everyone is wet, so the Mouse recites the driest thing he knows-a treatise on English history.