The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition

For over half a century, Martin Gardner has established himself as one of the world's leading authorities on Lewis Carroll. His Annotated Alice, first published in 1959, has over half a million copies in print around the world and is beloved by both families and scholars—for it was Gardner who first decoded many of the mathematical riddles and wordplay that lay ingeniously...

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Title:The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
Author:Lewis Carroll
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition Reviews

  • Bruce

    This edition has an interesting and informative introduction in which Martin Gardner refers to “the Bible and all other great works of fantasy,” which amused me. The annotations to the text are often quite interesting if somewhat intrusive; I found it best to read all of them for a chapter before beginning to read the chapter itself, having them then in my knowledge base without having to be interrupted from the flow of the story. I enjoying all the punning. I had not realized that the songs wer

    This edition has an interesting and informative introduction in which Martin Gardner refers to “the Bible and all other great works of fantasy,” which amused me. The annotations to the text are often quite interesting if somewhat intrusive; I found it best to read all of them for a chapter before beginning to read the chapter itself, having them then in my knowledge base without having to be interrupted from the flow of the story. I enjoying all the punning. I had not realized that the songs were all parodies of existing songs of the time when Carroll wrote the book; the annotations contain the original lyrics. As I moved through the book, I found that many episodes are very familiar and in fact have become the stuff of everyday allusions in our culture, whereas other episodes have been, by me at least, long forgotten. The story is extremely picaresque, with occasional characters reappearing in subsequent episodes and some themes, eg changes in size, being more or less continuous. The original John Tenniel illustrations are priceless.

    I enjoyed the extended annotations on the chess game and “Jabberwocky.” The entire book is unbelievably clever and often very droll. How much of this can be appreciated by children? Only a fraction, to be sure. The book deserves to be reread in adulthood, perhaps even at different adult ages. Too often, I think, all that people associate with the work is the limited amount of material included in the Disney movie which, while entertaining in itself, is far less rich than the book (as is usually the case with movie adaptations of literature). Carroll had a vivid and engaging imagination, and we are the lucky recipients of its products.

    is much more deep and dense than the first book,

    , filled as it is with metalinguistic speculations and puzzles, logic and mathematics, all within the context of an extended gigantic chess game. Gardner, in his annotations, charmingly discusses not only the origins of much of the material but also the use of Carroll’s material in subsequent literature.

    What a treat it has been to reread this delightful work, especially in the annotated version. I think that this process of refreshing my knowledge of it will enable me to recognize allusions to it in my further reading.

  • Marvin

    versus

    Alice looked around at the gray drab buildings.

    "I must have wandered off the path. This is nothing like anything I've ever seen before in Wonderland. "

    The city was devoid of people. Occasionally a siren would blare but there were no human and animal sounds. A poster of a intimidating man with the words BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU was on practically every wall.

    "Interesting" said Alice, "It looks a little like my

    versus

    Alice looked around at the gray drab buildings.

    "I must have wandered off the path. This is nothing like anything I've ever seen before in Wonderland. "

    The city was devoid of people. Occasionally a siren would blare but there were no human and animal sounds. A poster of a intimidating man with the words BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU was on practically every wall.

    "Interesting" said Alice, "It looks a little like my Uncle Oswald".

    She came upon a large building with the words WAR IS PEACE.

    "Curiouser and Curiouser" she said.

    Then another building acclaiming that FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

    "I think I should return with a good English dictionary'

    Then a third imposing structure with the words IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

    "I'm not sure if i like this city. Where is the Cheshire Cat when I need him?"

    Alice entered the building and found a corridor with a series of doors. She was most intrigued with the door marked Room 101 which had a sign attached stating, "Inside this room is what you fear the most."

    Alice thought, "I'm not sure what that would be. I've fallen through deep holes and survived. I've been bossed around by white rabbits. I almost got my head cut off by the Red Queen. I've even changed sizes more often than Oprah. I'm not sure what else I need fear.

    She entered the room. The door closed behind her. It was barren except for a simple table. An older woman sat at the table. She looked up at Alice and smiled.

    "Why, sit down Alice. I've been expecting you. We decided that this Wonderland nonsense is a little silly for a young woman like yourself, I will be teaching you the proper etiquette for an English lady. My name is Mrs, Beeton and we'll start with learning how to make a proper Yorkshire Pudding."

    Alice screamed. But there was no one in the vast city to hear it.

    Win for

  • Susan

    illustrates the many aspects of

    that relate to common ideas and expressions of the period, or refer to events in the lives of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the little girl

    was based on.

  • Alejandro

    This was technically a re-reading since I’ve already read both novels previously, the key difference here was that this is an “annotated” edition, which includes a comprehensive section, at the end of each chapter, with tons of notes revealing “be

    This was technically a re-reading since I’ve already read both novels previously, the key difference here was that this is an “annotated” edition, which includes a comprehensive section, at the end of each chapter, with tons of notes revealing “behind-the-scenes” detailing moments in the life of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), the “real” meaning of scenes, the “real” inspirations for several of the characters in both novels, historic meaning (in the Victorian England) of casual expressions that got outdated nowadays, studies in the metrics of the poems included in the novels, etc…

    It was a curiouser and curiouser reading experience since this was my first “annotated edition” of any book, and I believe that if you want to engage into this sort of books, it’s advisable having read the regular version of the novel first, since reading all those annotations after each chapter, it’s a kinda of “braking” effect, since depending the chapter, you’ll invest almost the same time reading the explanations than the chapter itself, so you lose a great deal of the rhythm of your reading, therefore, if you haven’t read the story before, you may not enjoying as much as it was supposed to be.

    Of course, almost all the information was made by scholars in the Lewis Carroll’s works, doing assumptions and best guesses, since the author was already gone when this annotated edition began to be conceived. Therefore, it’s a priceless access to get a better understanding of the novels at the era when they were published,

    …you can’t fully take without a doubt the exposed explanations, since you can’t ask the author anymore to validate if their interpretations are truly accurate. So, as many things in life, it’s up to you if you wish to believe them.

    And as those scholars mentioned at some momento of the annotations, that sometimes we are so obssessed to find a secret meaning behind any single quote, any single character, any single scene, etc… and while it’s evident that some quotes, characters and scenes have indeed a double significance, some of them are merely things needed to keep flowing the narrative, as simply as that, without any conspiration or secret plot,…

    …so don’t get too deep into the annotations section and simply enjoy this wonderfully mad tale about a little girl who fell down into a rabbit’s hole and she kept finding curiouser and curiouser things, even through the looking-glass.

  • Bettie☯

    REVIEW FOR

    ONLY

    Alice, who doesn't want to get her petticoats dirty, is idly chewing on a magic mushroom and looks quite tall for her tender years; she is waiting patiently for her opponent in direct contrast to a white rabbit who is chagrined at the wasting time. A screech of tires announces

    Lisbeth arrival on a Harley (sweet!); she bends down to fill her hands with mud and proceeds to smear it over her barely clad tattooed form.

    L - you can call me Wasp because I am g

    REVIEW FOR

    ONLY

    Alice, who doesn't want to get her petticoats dirty, is idly chewing on a magic mushroom and looks quite tall for her tender years; she is waiting patiently for her opponent in direct contrast to a white rabbit who is chagrined at the wasting time. A screech of tires announces

    Lisbeth arrival on a Harley (sweet!); she bends down to fill her hands with mud and proceeds to smear it over her barely clad tattooed form.

    L - you can call me Wasp because I am going to sting you with this inked needle, little lady *the overhead spot lights dazzle off the sharp tip in much the same way that teeth do in those cheesy toothpaste ads*

    A - If you please ma'am, my name is Alice, and I'm a :nice: girl who likes to learn a lesson well and I have been tutored recently in the art of chopping off heads. *from behind her back she slowly and menacingly displays an axe as effective as that used on Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury*

    "She's right... I think" says Hatter

    "Snore" says the dormouse

    A few toilet rolls and flowers are thrown into the mud rink by the alternately braying and cheering audience. Alice picks up a flower and starts to paint it red.

    L - I have been checking up on you missy, and you have been purloining flamingos away to offshore sandbanks *flicks mud down Alice's aproned front*

    A - at least my best friend isn't Donald Duck *pours mud from a teapot over L's head*

    There is a collective gasp from the crowd.

    A - And as you are so smart with your eidetic memory tell me this then tell me no more, Why is a raven like a writing desk?

    L - *nonplussed* There is no answer to that, as you well know, however I can tell you each and every personal number of your accounts with the Sandbanks, which you yourself would never be able to remember. *blows on nails*

    Alice suddenly charges at Lisbeth hollering 'OFF WITH HER HEAD'

    Lisbeth deftly sidesteps

    There is a slip

    But there is also a slide

    Then there is a scuffle and a squelchy squeal with mud flying every which way; Alice's dress is torn off and now the only way to tell them apart is the axe in Alice's hand and the tattoo needle in Lisbeth's fist.

    A furious tussle ensues and then there is a girlish giggle from Alice

    Then a resigned snort from Libbeth

    The Ref shouts IT*S A DRAW

    a sob from the mob and a gush of breeze as zillions of betting slips fall from sweaty hand to fag-butt floor; so much money on each slip that by the time they hit the deck the sound is that of the

    Hold On! Hold On a Cotton Picking Moment!

    Hadnt finished that which I am hoblidged to say "HIT*S A DRAW BUT WE CANNOT HAVE A DRAW: HIT'S IN THE ROOLZ 'PARENTLY"

    SO Alice, you are a boring nondescript being that follows instructions (eat me, drink me)and is WAAAY too polite and dated. People read your book not out of love for you but that fantastical, cleverness that surrounds you.

    Lisbeth, that which surrounds you is, for the most, boring paper shuffling. You are the reason people keep reading...

    LISBETH WINS!!!

    *a dive for the floor to regain the slips*

    HUZZAH!

  • notgettingenough

    For the Celebrity Death Match vs The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    'I mean, wot the fuck is it wiv this Salander bitch?' Alice scowls.

    'I'm telling you, I'm sick of it. Bugger the 'Annotated Alice', we're putting out the 'Unexpurgated Alice' right now. They need to be told that I did all that stuff bigger and better than she did. AND I had to give mate's rates to fucking Charles Dickens. Geez. Give me a break.'

    'What? NOW?' asks Humpty nervously glancing at the wall next to them.

    She ignores him.

    'Li

    For the Celebrity Death Match vs The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    'I mean, wot the fuck is it wiv this Salander bitch?' Alice scowls.

    'I'm telling you, I'm sick of it. Bugger the 'Annotated Alice', we're putting out the 'Unexpurgated Alice' right now. They need to be told that I did all that stuff bigger and better than she did. AND I had to give mate's rates to fucking Charles Dickens. Geez. Give me a break.'

    'What? NOW?' asks Humpty nervously glancing at the wall next to them.

    She ignores him.

    'Like we didn't have dildoes and girl on girl stuff in the Victorian period. That's what was really in my hand when they did those pictures.'

    'Cleaned it up once they decided to make it a children's book after all. Though you notice Lewis just couldn't let go of the "down" word.' She sniggers. Page one: 'In another moment down went Alice...'

    'And my tits are real.'

    Humpty didn't want to tell her she was obsessing, but.

    'Computer whizz? Ipad? Big fucking deal. I had the first iQuill. Let her stuff that up her pipe and smoke it. Well. Stuff it whereever that perverted author thinks will give the readers a kick.'

    Humpty goes to answer the phone and comes back.

    'Good news Alice -'

    But she can't stop now, she's on a roll.

    'As for cutting the dude who raped her with a razor. That was just a copycat. Go on. Tell me. Why does Lewis always dress covered up to his neck?'

    'Why does he always avoid swimming at the seaside?'

    'Because of your clever idea for modifying the iQuill, Alice.'

    'Exactly. Filling it with that acid which burned 'I like little girls too much' into his chest.'

    'Um, about the fight tonight -'

    Alice knows she is on a winner. 'So Salander eats junk food. Like, big deal. I ate cake. DRUGGED cake.'

    Finally Humpty gets a word in. 'Alice. You don't have to go to the ring tonight. Salander's new right breast has broken. She's in hospital having the silicon pumped out of her blood stream. You are the winner by default.'

    'Ha,' says Alice, bitterly. 'Serves the little cow right.'

    'Who's next? And don't tell me it's fucking Leo goody-good Tolstoy.'

  • David Schaafsma

    This is the very copy I read many times. Wish I still had it to share with my kids. Got it remaindered in some bookstore. Annotated by Math and science writer Martin Gardner. I was not interested in math, but he helped explain the math and logic references. I had read it before getting this copy, but this helped to see it more deeply, of course.

  • Lynne

    I recently saw a review where someone had read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, felt completely confused, and was basically told by all commenters that "Carroll was on Opium," as an explanation for the weirdness of the writing. I suggest that original poster, instead, pick up a copy of The Annotated Alice. Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were essentially written for one person, Alice Liddell. Most of the references in the books that are completely odd are in-

    I recently saw a review where someone had read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, felt completely confused, and was basically told by all commenters that "Carroll was on Opium," as an explanation for the weirdness of the writing. I suggest that original poster, instead, pick up a copy of The Annotated Alice. Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were essentially written for one person, Alice Liddell. Most of the references in the books that are completely odd are in-jokes that can be understood only by a reader living in England at the time of the writing, or in some cases by Alice herself. Some parts of the book are mathematical references that probably only Carroll understood, and still other references are informed by how chess pieces move about a board. Gardner pulls together vast quantities of information to make the reading of Alice more available to modern readers. Nearly every poem in Through the Looking Glass is a parody of a popular poem of the day, and those original poems are included in the notes. There is a complete translation of "Jabberwocky," including which words really were made up by Carroll and which were actual words (you'll be surprised :))

    Whether or not you have read the Alice books, I suggest reading the annotations as you read the book. This is as opposed to the Oz books, where I found it easier to read the whole story first and then the annotations. I think this is because Gardner does not include a note in the annotation as to what he is referring to in the text, and you would end up reading the entire book twice.

    Anyway, altogether an enjoyable read, even if it is not as good as The Annotated Oz.

  • ·Karen·

    What is it inside this internet, I asked the young lad,

    The computer expert replied,

    Why Ma'am, it's web servers and routers,

    And connections between computers,

    That cannot ever be fried.

    What lies on those servers then, I asked the young lad,

    The boy gazing up now replied,

    Oh Ma'am, blogs and e-mail, at night porn and streams,

    Zombies and splatter and car chasing dreams,

    What wonders out there can be spied?

    Is your work very unbearable, I asked the young lad,

    Most times, Ma'am, it is,

    What is it inside this internet, I asked the young lad,

    The computer expert replied,

    Why Ma'am, it's web servers and routers,

    And connections between computers,

    That cannot ever be fried.

    What lies on those servers then, I asked the young lad,

    The boy gazing up now replied,

    Oh Ma'am, blogs and e-mail, at night porn and streams,

    Zombies and splatter and car chasing dreams,

    What wonders out there can be spied?

    Is your work very unbearable, I asked the young lad,

    Most times, Ma'am, it is, he replied

    From dawn to dusk, I'm recovering files,

    Re-booting software and driving for miles,

    My Master cannot be defied.

    Do you like the internet, I asked the young lad,

    When I'm on match.com I do, he replied

    It's my friend when it's dark and the pubs are too full,

    It's brilliant, look good and you can't help but pull,

    There's many a time I have lied.

    What then do you wish for, I asked the young lad,

    With yearning, he slowly replied,

    I would love to be free to fly to Korea,

    And make playing StarCraft my professional career,

    And never have to go outside.

    I am indebted to

    by Ernestine Northover.

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