262 of 268 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name of this review is called "Haddocks' Eyes"
I finally, and seemingly permanently, misplaced the 40 year old copy of 'The Annotated Alice' (which I had pilfered from my mother's bookshelf) for the last time. I can't go more than a month or two without it so I rushed to buy a new copy...just weeks before the more beautifully bound 'Definitive Edition' was published. No matter, now I have two (perhaps even three if...
Published on February 22, 2001 by limespider
52 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Having Cliff Clavin Reading over Your Shoulder
You're right: I have no one to blame but myself. (Fool me twice, shame on me.) I'd read another book annotated by Gardner before, so I knew something about what his notes were like. Still, I thought, who better to explicate the puns, colloquialisms, and mathematical, logical, and philosophical references in _Alice_ than one of the great polymaths of our time, a...
Published on June 27, 2003
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262 of 268 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name of this review is called "Haddocks' Eyes",
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)I finally, and seemingly permanently, misplaced the 40 year old copy of 'The Annotated Alice' (which I had pilfered from my mother's bookshelf) for the last time. I can't go more than a month or two without it so I rushed to buy a new copy...just weeks before the more beautifully bound 'Definitive Edition' was published. No matter, now I have two (perhaps even three if the original turns up).
My point is that this book contributed more to my understanding of logic and wordplay than several semesters of college philosophy classes. If you've read this far then I am probably preaching to the choir but 'Alice in Wonderland' can hardly be classified as a childrens' book, dispite Disney's attempts to do so. The concepts Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner bring to this tale cover such areas as set theory, meta-language, Aristotelian logic, topography, game theory, several pre-Socratic logic paradoxes, and even quantum physics. Yet John Tenniel's original illustrations remain as an welcome tether to the original publication.
Gardner does a wonderful job of bringing all the various aspects of these two stories together as he illuminates layer upon layer of meaning that might not be evident to an American audience or, for that matter, a 21st century one. My favorite gems are the French and German translations of The Jabberwocky.
This book ranks in my top five favorite books of all time.
119 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Looking Glass Shows Hidden Humor,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)I always enjoyed the twisted logic and unique sence of humor that I found in Lewis Carroll's Alice tales, the only problem I encountered was that some of the jokes required information that was no longer common knoledge. For example: when Alice continually misquoted the old English nursery rhymes I found myself wondering what the actual versions were, information that every child in Victorian England could have easily told me but that has since been lost to obscurity. After reading through this book I found the answers to all my original questions as well as many that I never considered asking. At first I thought that the commentary would strip the original work of its character and reduce it to a lifeless shadow. I found that the commentary did exactly the opposite, in a surreal way it made the book even more entertaining to read. The incredible detail of the commentary and the wide range of topics covered made the comments themselves seem part of the insane illogic that pervades the realms of wonderland and looking glass house. This does not mean that the coments themselves are insane or illogical, on the contrary they are all intresting and many offer new insights into the books, what makes the commentary so entertaining is how the story of "exactly 7 and one half" Alice is juxtaposed with comments on how the structure of the plot relates to physic and Robert Oppenheimer. Altogether I found the Annotated Alice to be a wonderful read and a gorgeous book which I recomend to anyone who enjoyed the original tales.
110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Master of Nonsense,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)The Annotated Alice provides a treasure chest of information on the two Alice books and on the man, Lewis Carroll who was responsible for their creation.
Martin Gardner provides annotations throughout the texts of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Gardner's annotations help explain the inside jokes and mathematical and linguistic puzzles that fill the stories.
Reading the Alice books as an adult is quite a different experience than it was as a child. The books' complexity really stands out on a careful reading. In fact, what are generally regarded as children's stories can be amazingly frustrating to read due to the complexity of the language and the almost constant stream of puns that are sometimes lost on modern audiences. One must remember that the stories are told purely for fun. Unlike other Victorian children's literature one gets no morals, plot development, or character development here. Alice is a yound child who stays a young child throughout her adventures. She neither matures or learns anything from her adventures.
This is a very nice volume in its own right. It contains complete authoritative texts of both books and includes the supressed episode "The Wasp in the Wig." The original Tenniel illustrations are crisp and clear. The only difficulty is that the annotations are placed on the same page as the text in a small column that sometimes supplies more information than the text itself. The annotations themselves range from the definitional to the clearly eccentric. One can read all of them or only the ones that he or she is interested in.
On the whole this is an excellent volume well worth the effort to read if one has any interest in the world of nonsense literature.
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Do You Mean, Nonsense?,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)This is the ONLY version of the Alice in Wonderland stories worth having. Lewis Carroll was a remarkably allusive chap -- and a mathematician to boot -- so you need a vade mecum to guide yourself through the bulrushes. Martin Gardner serves admirably for this purpose.
Without Gardner's help, I would never have known that mock turtle soup was actually made with veal (and that's why John Tenniel drew the Mock Turtle with the head, hind hoofs, and tail of a calf). And now I think I know why a raven is like a writing desk ("because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front"). Also, now I know the REAL text of the nursery rhyme "You Are Old, Father William."
This is the best edition to get because -- let's face it -- you WILL read the Alice stories more than once. And very likely others in your household will do the same. The real reason, as the Cheshire Cat says: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a "translation" of Alice for the masses,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)I remember my frustrations with reading "Alice" when I was young. Apparently it was an interesting story about animals and weird things and so on, but very quickly my reading stumbled onto nonsense verses and things so strange I don't know what to make of them. As a child I quickly lost interest and put down my book, that is until I encountered this wonderful annotated version by Martin Gardiner. Having enjoyed Gardiner's countless mathematical books and Scientific American columns, I was intrigued by this book.
This is a book that actually delivers what it promises. The large format of the book makes it easy to read and pleasing to the eye. The original drawings for the book by Tenniel are included, making it quite interesting. In the wide margins, Gardiner makes clear the countless curiosities, verses, puns, and mathematical oddities. Some of those things were meant to be understood only by a select group of people living in Oxford at the time Lewis Carroll wrote his work. Gardiner therefore draws upon a wealth of research by Alice fans all over the world to come to an understanding of all these oddities. The result is a much more enriching experience and much more pleasurable reading of the story.
At any rate, I don't take the Alice story as seriously as some of the fans do, but I was pleased I read this annotated edition once. I plan to find again my old childhood copy and re-read the story without annotation for enjoyment. Note that the annotated Alice went through various editions, this ("Definitive annotated Alice" being the third, most up-to-date and most complete, including the original illustrations by Tenniel and both sets of annotations in the original "Annotated Alice" and in the "More Annotated Alice". This is the edition to buy.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure for any Alice/Carroll fan!,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)This is an amazing piece of literature; That was the best I can do for an intro for my review! First of all it includes the unabridged versions of Alice's Adventures in wonderland and Through the looking glass (including an unpublished chapter), Original artwork by Tenniel, journal entries and letters either written to or from Carroll, and much more! The annotations help the reader better understand the satirical and metaphorical style of Carroll's writings, as well as actual people/events that he modeled his characters off of, not to mention an analysis on the mathematical theory and complex puns that may have been looked lightly passed at the first time reading. This book even includes
an entire chess strategy hidden in Through the Looking Glass...I really have no idea how to express how great of a product this is rather than tell you the content is never-ending! This is a great addition whether your fascinated by Lewis Carroll, Literature in general, Curious to see what he meant, or just looking for a fictional piece of nonsence to read to your children, this book is a must-have!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure within a treasure,
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)The original Alice was and is of course an undisputed classic of both children's and English literature in general. What more can one say about Alice?
On the other hand, while growing up, I never connected with Alice all that much. Of course I was acquainted with the stories, but Alice was never for me a beloved favorite. But one thing I have always loved personally (and even more as an adult) is WORDPLAY. Martin Gardner helpfully providing the original versions of the poems and recitations (which every Victorian schoolchild no doubt knew very well, but are less well known today!), plus his remarks about historical contexts of things, shows you just HOW clever Carroll was really being. Of course Alice can stand on its own and always has, but having Gardner's thorough and extensive commentary to help you know where all the jokes really are lets you enjoy it on a new and deeper level. (As has been pointed out, far from being the occasional little footnote, Gardner's commentary occupies just about as much space in the book as the original text does!)
Just for one example, I am still amazed whenever I open this book and see in the commentary the reproduced portrait of the actual historical figure who was the inspiration, visually if nothing else, for The Duchess. (A noble lady whose nickname, if I recall correctly, was "Old Pocket-Mouth" and was said to be the ugliest woman in history. If anything, Tenniel toned her down a bit for his character drawing!)
Anyway, summing up my comments on the commentary, Gardner's insights have in a real way brought me around to Alice, and that all the more joyfully for my being a bit late to the tea party.
Now, this edition finally combines and concatenates the commentaries from The Annotated Alice and More Annotated Alice, so that they are all conveniently in one place. This is really the ideal presentation I think. The only thing that is lost by this confluence is that, in the original More Annotated Alice, Gardner took the opportunity of a second volume to use illustrations from another historical Alice artist. In this combined edition, they stuck exclusively with the well-known illustrations of Tenniel.
And, if you still needed any other purchase justification, The Definitive Edition is a very beautiful book, a very nicely bound hardcover with a handsome gold-embossed jacket. Definitive Alice was one of the nicest holiday gifts I have ever received (when my cousin and her husband selected it from my Amazon Wish List a few Decembers ago, to my surprise and delight) and I still treasure it.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice for Adults and other Thinking People,
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This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)Martin Gardner has amassed an incredible amount of information about a book that amused or bemused many of us while we were growing up. Many sections of Alice have proved mysterious and confusing to the young: Gardner reveals everything from the original poems which are parodied in the songs, the identities of certain historic figures hidden behind the masks of the Wonderland and Looking Glass crowd (including a portrait of the ugliest noblewoman who ever lived -- a clear model for the Dutchess), and many other fascinating digressions on the text.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!,
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)The Annotated Alice provides an inside view of Alice in Wonderland through insightful notes. I appreciated them being there, for if they weren't I would have missed a lot of what Lewis Carroll was doing. The book Alice in Wonderland is fascination book about all sorts of things, disguised as a children's book. I found the book quite fascinating, and I recommend it, especially when read in The Annotated Alice
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're never too old to go to Wonderland,
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This review is from: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Hardcover)Don't judge this book based on the Disney movie or anything you've heard about Alice's adventures. Lewis Carroll's delightfully written nonsense tale is a wonder that have to be experienced by everyone, regardless of age or of your taste in books. The printing is of excellent condition and the notes included are very informative and you'll never miss the joke or get bored by reading them.
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The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition by Lewis Carroll (Hardcover - November 17, 1999)