Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Appointment as USC Inaugural Carrollian Fellow

It took a while to clear the paperwork, but I’m incredibly honoured to have been appointed as the University of Southern California’s Inaugural Carrollian Fellow. Extremely humbled by the kind words of USC Libraries, who will be hosting me in the coming year:

“The USC Libraries have named Franziska Kohlt as their inaugural fellow in their newly re-envisioned Carrollian Fellowship. Kohlt, an accomplished historian of science, scholar of comparative literature, and expert in science communication, brings her diverse expertise and passion for Carroll’s works to the new fellowship.

“Dr. Kohlt exemplifies the scholarly excellence and creative vitality we hope to inspire and make possible through the Carrollian Fellow program,” said Marje Schuetze-Coburn, interim dean of USC Libraries. “We’re delighted to welcome her to the USC Libraries and excited about the new approaches she will bring to the Cassady Lewis Carroll collection and to engaging our academic and creative communities.”

The fellowship is the brainchild of Rebecca Corbett, curator of the Cassady Collection and director of special projects within the USC Libraries’ Specialized Collections group. “Fran’s appointment as our Carrollian Fellow is really exciting for the USC Libraries,” said Corbett. “She is an established Carrollian scholar who truly embodies the polymathic spirit of Dodgson, with her work spanning comparative literature, the history of science and science communication, and she will help us to explore connections between the Cassady Collection and our rare book holdings in natural history and the history of science.””

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BBC History Extra: 125th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Death

To honour the 125th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s death, BBC History asked me to write an article about the man, his life – and of course his most famous work: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

It’s unusual to have 2000+ words to explore a topic in a little more depth – so I hope you enjoy this portrait of the “maker of Wonderlandwhich is out today.

As for one of my favourite parts of the story, though, scroll on…

“Lewis Carroll: Maker of Wonderlands” on BBC History Extra

Lewis Carroll and Alan Turing

One of my favourite parts of this story comes right at the end. Among the people who admired Carroll and was inspired by his work – his mathematics as well as his fiction, was the young Alan Turing, who borrowed from his school library at Sherborne both Alice books – Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass – and The Game of Logic (pictures are courtesy of Sherborne School archives).

Sherborne School also feature the anniversary, as well as the Turing connection in a post on their website, as well as in their letter to current students and alumni.

Unfortunately, in the BBC article, some links seem to have disappeared from the text of my article in the process of online publication, so if youre interested in finding out more about how Carroll recorded his memories of the origin of Alice in his diaries, Alice’s own recollections of her acquaintance with Carroll, or the photomontages and photos of unclear provenance that have been named as Carroll’s in recent years – as well as quotes falsely attributed to Carroll & Alice, I provide the links here.

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Sleep and Folklore in Popular Culture, out on Audible

Thrilled that my – albeit slightly mortified – that my first audio book is now out in the open! Give it a listen! Here’s what Audible say:

“It’s easy to dismiss dreams as “just dreams”—incoherent visions, disturbing, odd images that don’t really mean anything much. But in stories, myths, and fables, dreams are vital. They’re often used as a literary device to provide insights and foreshadowing. Through the dreams in stories, we get to the heart of deep philosophical, scientific, and religious problems. Dreams allowed writers to transcend boundaries and confront things otherwise off-limits. ” 

The audio bookwas commissioned to be co-released with the latest instalment of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Audible audio book – and you can get both on amazon & the Audible app!

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‘The Folklore of Dreams’ for Wondrium & Audible

In 2022 Wondrium commissioned the 6-part course ‘The Folklore of Dreams’ which will become available exclusively via Audible later this year. Aimed at a general, non-academic audience, this six part audio book will explore how we have imagined, and told stories about dreaming. It will follow these stories, and the symbols, landscapes, heroes, and demons that populated them through the ages, looking at science, literature and storytelling, wherever it happened. This is what the blurb says:

Sleep and dreams have always been among the most mysterious, yet essential, aspects of the human condition, so it’s little wonder that a rich legacy of sleep-related myth and folklore has sprung from every culture across the world in every period in time. And these legends still shape pop culture today, linking, like an unseen thread, some of our most famous tales: the sleeping princesses of fairy tales, Morpheus in The Matrix, the nightmarish creatures in the dreamworld of Pan’s Labyrinth, the mirror worlds of Alice in Wonderland, or the Sandman myth in Neil Gaiman’s work of the same name. 

The audiobook will be co-released with the latest release of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – the precise release date is yet to be confirmed, but keep watching this space! Very grateful to the production team at Audible & at Bigdog studios, who really managed to record the entire thing in one sitting!

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Wrapping up 2021 – and looking ahead to 2022

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In 2021 I have most of all been really grateful that, in a still immensely challenging year, I had the opportunity to pick up some of the postponed projects of 2020, and also pursue new opportunities, expanding on my research in science communication, history of science and literature.

Amongst others, I had the opportunity to discuss both my research and practice in science communication, informed by the history of science, at COP26 and the Bristol Festival of Technology.

I saw a long-term project developing the “Adventures of Manuscripts” series with French-German TV channel Arte finally came to fruition, with all four episodes finally airing this year, after many Covid delays.

The year 2021 was also the anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. we held a major online conference, and are looking forward this year to publishing a new Companion to Through the Looking-Glass, including many of the conference contributions – and more (more soon!).

I had the opportunity to speak about so many difference aspects of Alice and Looing-Glass from Fashion, to commemorative coins with the Guardian, the Yorkshire Post, and Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Finally, I am beyond honoured to be joining Oxford’s Continuing Education Department for taking on their summer course ‘Lewis Carroll’s Oxford and the Surprising Histories of Alice’s Wonderland‘ – and there are more news, linked with that (more on that, also, soon!).

Here’s to 2022!

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Lewis Carroll’s Oxford & the Surprising Histories of Alice’s Wonderland course, University of Oxford

From June 2022, I am taking on leading this fantastic programme at the University of Oxford’s Continuing Education Department (you can peruse the course contents here). The course will offer a fresh, thought-provoking take on the place of Lewis Carroll & his most famous books in their time, and their continuing appeal in ours. It will explore the role of Oxford in its creation, but also how looking at the Victorian contexts that inspired it – from science and medicine to music and logic – but also how that can help us navigate intellectual and social challenges of the past, but, hopefully, also illuminate our own – and teach us how to think, learn, talk and write about them.


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Lewis Carroll & Looking-Glass feature in the Yorkshire Post

A lovely feature about Lewis Carroll & his Yorkshire connections appeared in the Yorkshire Post yesterday – for which I was interviewed. They give a shout-out to our Looking-Glass Sesquicentenary conference also (registration is now open btw! Have a look at our programme too!)

You can find the article on the Yorkshire Post website (sadly paywalled) or you can have a cheeky look at my Instagram for pictures of the print article.

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American McGee’s ‘Alice: Madness Returns’ Special Issue of the Lewis Carroll Review now available online

By popular demand the Lewis Carroll Review Special Issue on American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns from 2011 has been made available online (all free and open access!). I hope it will be of use to researchers and enthusiasts alike!

The issue contains not only a review of the game and accompanying art book, but also an exclusive 8-page long interview (conducted by me, over curry, in London 2011), in which McGee provides some great insights into the creative process of the game design and artwork. and touches on Neo-Victorianism, Post-Colonialism, Fashion Design, History of Psychology – so I hope the text be of interest to researchers in video game studies, digital storytelling, the Gothic, Horror, and Fantasy, and of course scholars of Lewis Carroll’s Alice – and its afterlife. 

Download a copy here, on my Publications page, or via my Academia.edu profile – and if you’re interested in American’s new work on the Alice: Asylum franchise, make sure you follow his Patreon, too!

alice madness returns review special issue

Lewis Carroll Review Special Issue on American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns

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New TV series on famous books & their stories

A new series of TV documentaries on famous books and their origins, manuscripts and authors will be hitting the screens in early 2020 – and last week we started filming for the first episode in Oxford, which is about the origins of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – and some, perhaps unexpected, links and sources (including what the University of Oxford’s crest has to do with Alice’s dream)! I am extremely honoured to appear on it as expert alongside collector and Carroll scholar extraordinaire Edward Wakeling.

The documentary will be available on French and German Television, and online after it’s aired, for those elsewhere! I will keep you posted on broadcast dates, and where to catch up with the programme, once I know more – stay tuned!

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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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