The Amazing World of Alice in Wonderland
The 100th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
In 1965, Guildford held a performance of poems from Through the Looking-Glass, while Oxford was hosting a production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; it is interesting to note that, by the time of this centenary, each location seemed to be claiming and celebrating one book as its own, as if establishing its heritage territory. The first Alice story was inarguably composed in Oxford, but Carroll completed Through the Looking-Glass while staying in Guildford. Philip Dodgson Jaques (Carroll’s grand-nephew) was, by this point, the senior trustee of the C. L. Dodgson Estate.
The Guildford Muniment Room held an important archive of Lewis Carroll and Dodgson Family materials; the collection was relocated to the Surrey History Centre in 1998.
Guildford Museum: Lewis Carroll Exhibition, held at Civic Hall, Guildford
A cantata based on poems in Through the Looking-Glass has its first performance on May 28th, as part of the centenary celebrations of Cranleigh School. This exhibition was designed to accompany the performance. It concentrates on Through the Looking-Glass and on Lewis Carroll’s connection with Guildford, which was the family home of the Dodgsons (his real name) for half a century.
Many exhibits are from the Dodgson Family Collection and are lent by courtesy of Mr Philip Jaques.
Exhibits marked G M are from the Museum’s permanent collection, at the Muniment Room.
Guildford Museum grew from the Surrey Archaeological Society, which moved into the Museum’s current site – a row of cottages near the Castle – in 1898, the year of Lewis Carroll’s death. In 1912 it was named the ‘The Guildford Borough and Surrey Archaeological Society Museum’, funded jointly by the Society and the Town Council; from 1933 it was run entirely by the Council.
The Museum is based at Castle Arch, opposite St Mary’s Church – the oldest surviving building in the town – and holds a collection of unique artefacts from Lewis Carroll’s childhood.
Go Ask Alice
Jefferson Airplane’s single ‘White Rabbit’ echoed the contemporary ‘trippy’ interpretations of Carroll’s books. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland movie was extremely popular with student audiences at the time, and some viewers identified drug connotations in its fantastical changes of size and perception, and particularly the hookah-smoking Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom.
An article by Thomas Fensch, published in the same year, claimed that Lewis Carroll was ‘the first acidhead’.
Disney originally disapproved of these readings, but later re-released its films with slogans that showed they were aware of the illicit interpretations: advertising for the film now playfully asked ‘Should You See It? Go Ask Alice’, in a playful reference to the Jefferson Airplane drug anthem.
Jonathan Miller’s Alice
Jonathan Miller’s BBC Television adaptation, Alice, was first broadcast on the 28th December, 1966. It starred Peter Sellers, Michael Redgrave and John Gielgud, with music by Ravi Shankar. Alice was played by Anne-Marie Mallik, who then decided against an acting career and went into banking.
Dodgson descendant Phillip Jaques, sells the personal journals of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson to the British Library in Oct 1968.
The Lewis Carroll Society was formed, with the aim of promoting interest in the life and work of C.L. Dodgson. The link can be found here: http://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/.