Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

IRSCL Panel ‘The Silence of Nature: Children’s Literature and Science’

The biannual IRSCL conference “Silence and Silencing in Children’s Literature” will take place at the University of Stockholm in August, and I am pleased that our panel on Children’s Literature and Science has just been accepted! It will cover ground from Morris to Moomins – and contain the following papers:

– Franziska Kohlt “Conversations with beetles: The struggle against Nature’s Silence in Victorian and contemporary CliFi for children
– Jenny Willner “Cell biology and Melancholy in the Moomin Valley: Homsan, Haeckel and the Life of Protozoa”
– Vera Kaulbarsch “Silence, Ghosts and Nature in Walter Benjamin’s Texts on Childhood”

Hope to see some of you there!

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‘Alice in Wonderland & Science’ video for University of Oxford campaign

In August I was extremely excited to be invited to shoot a little image film about my work on Victorian fantasy literature and science at Christ Church, Oxford. Christ Church kindly let me use some of Lewis Carroll’s own manuscript materials from their collection (have a look at some of their digitised items here) – including his photographs, proofs, sketches, letters, and his dedicated presentation copy of a first edition copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! I also speak about Victorian children’s literature’s ties to Victorian Science Communication & Education, about Victorian Lunatic Asylums – and Charles Dickens’s visit to one – and how all of that can change how we think about Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature in general – I hope you like it!  

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Railways, biodiversity, agricultural history and…Through the Looking-Glass?

On the 25th of November I will be giving a talk at the Abingdon Arms, Beckley, just outside Oxford.

The occasion is not only that the award-winning Pub overlooks Otmoor, the nature reserve which some believe may have inspired Lewis Carroll’s chessboard landscape in Through the Looking-Glass (I will investigate this claim), but also the planned resurrection of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway through this area of scientific interest, which is noted especially for its biodiversity by the RSPB.

Oxford is well-known to have inspired Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), but the extensive influence of the Oxfordshire countryside on Through The Looking-Glass (1871) is less frequently discussed. My talk will therefore not only uncover some of these inspirations, from Oxford’s architecture to Oxfordshire’s agricultural history, but also illuminate how Lewis Carroll’s wider interest in nature, science and industry – and thus also the railways – shaped Through the Looking-Glass, and explore how this can help us approach and rethink contemporary challenges posed to the balance between nature and the necessities of modern life. (Announcements for the talk have appeared also here and here)

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The Looking-Glass countryside, John Tenniel

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TRT documentary on Alice in Wonderland adaptations now online

Last week I appeared live on TRT Showcase about adaptations of Alice in Wonderland together with author and fellow Carrollian Charlie Lovett. We spoke about our most fascinating finds in researching Lewis Carroll, early Alice theatre adaptations, Carroll’s library and real mad tea parties – have a look!

 

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A Mad Tea-Party!

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the Public Domain Review & Medium came up with the fantastic idea to release a digital “Annotated Alice” – each of the 12 chapters annotated by a different Lewis Carroll scholar, with funky illustrations. So far, this has resulted in a wonderfully illuminating, kaleidoscopic journey into the cultural history & impact of Carroll’s most famous novel, which has reached 12,000 views so far, nearly 5,000 reads, as well as retweets from The British Council, The University of Oxford Humanities Division & Bodleian Library, Brainpickings and many other fantastic organisations.

I am particularly pleased that I was able to share some of the links between literature and science in “my” chapter, the “Mad Tea-Party” (you will hopefully be able to read more of this soon in article form!). For now – enjoy the free online text, share, and spread the word!

A Mad Tea-Party

John Tenniel, “A Mad Tea-Party” from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

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CBC Radio documentary on Alice & Lewis Carroll !

I am talking about Alice, Dreams and Victorians, alongside wonderful Carrollians Edward Wakeling, Donald Rackin, Jenny Woolf and many more on the lovely 2-part CBC Ideas radio documentary “Curiouser and Curiouser” – part two is on tonight!

A Mad Tea Party

Click here to listen to the 2-part documentary online!

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April 29, 2014 · 9:46 am