As for one of my favourite parts of the story, though, scroll on…
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.
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. ”
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
Exciting day yesterday filming for a brand new series of TV documentaries on famous books & their stories, which involved filming all the way up on the University Church 😱 More green-haired book geekery coming your way in early 2020 – stay tuned! #litsci#histscipic.twitter.com/B5Vi0WXh3v
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!
I was really excited that I got to talk about the architectural history of the museum, and it's scientific/cultural/artistic significance – as well as Lewis Carroll's role in the museum's history; also these views just don't get old! #histsci#litsci#scicommpic.twitter.com/UCrR2lb9te
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”
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!