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Alice in Wonderland

CARROLL, LEWIS. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

New York: D. Appleton, 1866

42 illustrations by John Tenniel. Original red cloth. Spine very slightly darkened, very minor wear to spine ends, small spot on back cover, hinges tender. A handsome copy. Half morocco case.

FIRST EDITION, second (i.e., American) issue, comprising sheets of the suppressed 1865 printing of Alice with new title-page.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the most frequently quoted book in the world, after the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. Alice has been translated into more than 150 languages and gone through many hundreds of editions and countless stage and screen adaptations.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its hardly less famous sequel Through the Looking Glass (1872), although ostensibly written for children…are unique among ‘juveniles’ in appealing equally if not more strongly to adults. Written by an Oxford don, a clergyman, and a professional mathematician, they abound in characters—the White Knight, the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty—who are part of everybody’s mental furniture. And the philosophic profundity of scores, if not hundreds, of these characters’ observations, long household words wherever English is spoken, gains mightily from the delicious fantasy of their setting” (PMM).

On July 4, 1862, the Rev. Charles Dodgson (“Lewis Carroll”) first told the story of Alice while on a river expedition with a fellow Oxford don and the three Liddell sisters, Alice, Edith, and Lorinda. The story’s namesake, Alice, asked for a written version of the tale, and Dodgson gave it to her for Christmas 1864. On seeing that manuscript, “Alice’s Adventures Underground,” friends encouraged him to expand the story into a book. In a letter to a friend Dodgson joked that the title might be taken to mean “instruction about mines,” and suggested the alternatives “Alice among the elves/goblins” or “Alice’s hour/doings/adventures in elf-land/wonderland.”

“This second issue comprises those copies of the first edition still unbound when Lewis Carroll decided in July 1865 to cancel the edition. In 1866 the copies on hand were sold to Appleton and [1000] new title-pages were printed at Oxford, replacing the originals. The binding was evidently done in England, duplicating that for the first issue except in the substitution of Appleton’s name for Macmillan at the foot of the spine and in the omission of a binder’s ticket. Textually the Appleton issue agrees with the Macmillan 1865, the only difference being the cancel title-page” (Robert N. Taylor, Lewis Carroll at Texas: The Warren Weaver Collection).

This is a very handsome copy of a beloved and much-read book, far superior to the worn and repaired copies usually encountered.

Williams-Madan-Green-Crutch 44.