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Inventing Wonderland- The Extern Influences On Lewis Carroll

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Inventing Wonderland

About the extern influences on Lewis Carroll

Table of contents

1. Introduction......................................................................................3

2. Being childlike..............................................................................4

3. The Victorian image ofchildhood .......................6

4. Just good friends?.........................8

5. Other influences..............................................................10

6. Conclusion..........................................................................................12

7. Bibliography....................................................................................13

1. Introduction

There are several reasons why I have chosen the book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" as the topic for my term paper. The main reason is that I have been fascinated by Alice's adventures as a series on TV since I was about six years old. I was curious about the overworked rabbit, racked by brain about how Alice would only be able to reach the golden key on the table and I got even more nervous when I saw the Queen than the Knaves of Hearts did. What I did not understand then was that Alice has fallen asleep in the beginning and all she is experiencing is "only" a dream. However, my illusion has been destroyed when I first read the book at the age of about 12 and I must admit it was then when I lost some of my fascination for Alice.

As I read the book again as a preparation for the Proseminar a few months ago I soon started to focus on a certain aspect which I could not let go of and which brought back my fascination for Alice's Adventures. It is also the reason I have chosen this topic for my term paper: I am very much interested in the circumstances of the time, in this case the Victorian Age, and the various influences on a person like Lewis Carroll in connection with his ability to create such a powerful, imaginative and attractive idea of a wonderland. I would like to know what kind of person can make up such a story? I have chosen the title "Inventing Wonderland", which is the name of a book by Jackie Wullschl√ź'ger, because it precisely expresses the focus of my term paper.

I think the reason why I am interested in this aspect is the following: About three years ago I stayed one year as an Au Pair for a family in Rhode Island. It took me a while to discover how to attract the attention of a 4-year-old, his name was Carter, when the situation required it to be calm. But: I placed young Carter as an additional friend of his favourite character Winnie the Pooh in the centre of a new Pooh-plot and tried to invent an exciting story with dangerous adventures as he sat on my lap listening more carefully than he had ever done before. I was successful, but of course and without understatement my stories were not in the least as fanciful and imaginative as Carroll's, not to mention were they worth publishing.

And it was exactly this situation, Carter sitting on my lap, that I remembered when I read about Alice's Adventures, which Carroll also invented while telling them. This recognition more and more arouses my interest in what his time was like and what kind of influences there were, besides is undoubted creativity, that he invented a Wonderland like that.

2. Being childlike -

The influence of his life

It seems to me as if Carroll is a person who does not want to grow up in a way and therefore transformed his longing for childhood into this literary revolution. Of course, he is not the only author of his time who writes about children's fantasies, for example also Edward Lear, J.M. Barrie, Kenneth Grahame and A. A. Milne stand at the centre of a golden age of Victorian and early twentieth-century children's books. But it all started with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and it became the first English children's classic.

At this point I find it interesting to learn more about what such authors have in common; are there any shared character traits or comparable facts of biography that, between 1865 and 1930, led these men to create a radical new literature for children of such fascination and enchantment? I soon found an answer to this question.

All, for example, told their stories casually to entertain individual children, without any thought of publication; as we know, Carroll began Alice's Adventures to amuse Alice Liddell, an Oxford don's daughter. Several of the authors lost parents early and had difficult childhoods. In their fantasy they tried to capture the perfect childhood they never had. All shared a reluctance to engage in conventional behaviour and relationships. They were loners, in some sense social outcasts, who found in fantasy an escape and an outlet to express their rage against a constricting adult society. I have found a short description of Lewis Carroll's, whose real name is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, appearance, which shows that he did not conform the usual picture of a young man. It is said that he stuttered and was asymmetric. His blue eyes were not at the same level and one shoulder was higher than the other; his smile was also slightly askew. He was deaf on one ear because of an illness when he was at Rugby School, suffered from insomnia and was very thin because he ate only one meal a day (he was a little obsessed with eating). In many parts of the book we can find those themes about sleeping and eating, which is interesting for me to keep in mind while reading the book, but of course there are also readers who prefer not to take any biographical facts of the author into consideration. Here are two examples about sleeping and eating from the book.

"They were learning to draw," the Dormouse went on, yawing and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; "and they draw all manner of things - everything that begins with an M - "

"Why with an M?" said Alice.

"Why not?" said the March Hare.

Alice was silent.

The Dormouse had closed its

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