Alice’s Hidden Messages in Wonderland

Perhaps it also bears witness to something else: the unsolvable mystery of its author’s deepest self, and the space that creates a kaleidoscopic multitude of interpretations within the text. His friendship with children casts an undeniable shadow, and prominently featured in the V&A’s 2021 blockbuster Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, the famous and allegedly provocative portrait he made of Alice Liddell as “The Beggar Girl” was nowhere to be found. be visible. But while the likes of the #MeToo movement have brought urgency to the vexed question of whether good art made by bad people can be admired, in the case of Charles Dodgson we’ll hardly ever know if he was a repressed predator. or a nice don, shy and stammering. Indeed, as author Katie Roiphe has suggested, it’s possible that none of the categories we have today include her.

His muse, on the other hand, grew up to live the life expected of a woman of class, and after briefly attracting the attention of Ruskin and the Prince of Wales’s son Leopold, she settled down as Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves. Only one of his three sons survived the First World War, the child whom he named – purely by chance, he always kept – Caryl.

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Meanwhile, the discussion about the world of his fictional alter ego is like a never-ending mad hatter’s tea party. Alice is the epitome of eating disorders; a cautionary tale about the then-new symbolic algebra; a satire on the War of the Roses. In the wacky realm of rival theories, we are all as confused as Alice.

During his day job, Dodgson gave lectures on mathematics, and it is no wonder that his stories are full of arithmetical and geometric references. Alice faces a series of puzzles, from the Mad Hatter’s puzzle to the Queen’s game of croquet, but no matter how hard she tries to solve them, they always turn out to have little purpose and no answers. Although Dodgson was logical, Wonderland is a realm where illogicality reigns. And perhaps therein lies the final message of his richly imaginative book: the world is a crazy place where expectations are often thwarted. Instead of trying to close the report, we’d do better to simply enjoy the ride.

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