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The Alice Behind Wonderland Hardcover – March 17, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
That in itself is not a serious fault. Far more serious are the very many errors of fact. I list just a few; there are plenty more. He did not live in Tom Quad in 1856; he moved there in 1868 (p.11). His parents were first cousins, not third cousins (p.12). His back-garden railway was at Croft, not Daresbury (pp.12-13). Not all of his home-made magazines survive (p.18). Charles arrived at Oxford 30, not 40, years after his father graduated (p.19). Henrietta was seven, not four, when Carroll's mother died (p.20). He refers to "a magazine that for some inexplicable reason was called the Train" (p.27); the reasons for its name are well-known. Similarly, it is well known why Dodgson suggested the name Edgar Cuthwellis (p.29) - it is an anagram of his first two names, Charles Lutwidge. Maybe these errors are minor, but they could all have been avoided by reading the books that the author himself recommends for further reading. It does mean that it is difficult to trust any statement in the book without checking it.
The climax of the book describes Carroll taking the cover photo, of Alice as a beggar. "Is Mrs. Liddell watching? Is Lorina in the garden? And Edith? ... Would anyone care that Dodgson then reached behind the little girl's hair and adjusted the off-white garment about her shoulders, such that it fell slightly from her left and exposed only just entirely her left nipple?" (p.Read more ›
I can't bear to give this less than four stars, so I won't, but really, the fact that it includes no photographs is an intolerable deficiency. It really needs to have twenty or thirty reproductions--and because these are works of photographic art, and because one of the reasons Dodgson used the collodion process was to capture detail, they need to be good, high-resolution reproductions.
We also could use a nice photograph of an Ottewill Double Folding Camera--preferably one in the process of being unfolded "Till it looked all squares and oblongs/Like a complicated figure/In the Second Book of Euclid."
The very least the publisher or author could have done would be to provide a link to a website with good reproductions of the pictures.
The reason this is more than a "nice-to-have" is that a lot of the content of the book is really about Dodgson's photography. To give just one example, Winchester speaks of "the earliest photographic glimpse we have of Dodgson." He describes a photograph in great detail. I tried to find this photograph on the Web and I found one matching his description in every respect but one.Read more ›
It's interesting, but it's not why I bought the book. Winchester sheds no new light on the friendship between Dodgson and the Liddell children, nor on the abrupt and mysterious breakup of that friendship.
Winchester does not understand how a view camera works. He writes that the whole of the camera needs to be brought into the darkroom for the plate to be inserted. But he writes that there is an "ingenious flap" and so only the negative frame need be brought back in the darkroom for development.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is classic Winchester, although the very brief nature of the book suggests to me that is probably not the best gateway drug to Winchester, who has written fuller accounts of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ryan Mease
I expected a little more at the climax of the book, when Dodgson is asked by Alice to write down the fanciful story he had spun for her casually on a day outing, but it was... Read morePublished 6 months ago by James Toop
Fantastic!!!!!! A must read. I have read everything that Winchester has written and every one is as good as a book can get. Joan DraperPublished 12 months ago by Joan L. Draper
A strange book, elicited via a strange set of circumstances. Why would a family as close to a friend as Alice's family was to Dodgson ignore his wedding gift? Read morePublished 17 months ago by Helena Howell
interesting short bio, but the familial details were a bit boring...still, the case for Alica was made...not Winchester's finest, but ok. Read morePublished 19 months ago by AB