Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

Lewis Carroll fans descend rabbit hole for 150th anniversary

November 26, 2015 - ENGLAND

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago the Macmillan company published the first edition of Alice in Wonderland, the children's book written by Lewis Carroll that has become a much-quoted classic for all ages.

The anniversary promises re-screenings of the many movies based on the surreal tale, a celebration of the literary aspects of Alice's sojourn in Wonderland by the world's Lewis Carroll societies, plus a journey down the rabbit hole with the opium theorists.

For some fans, Jul 4 is Alice Day, and they celebrated the 150th anniversary in 2012. On that date in 1862, Lewis Carroll, the nom de plume of Oxford University don Charles Dodgson, took 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating picnic on the River Thames. Dodgson amused the children by telling them the story about a little girl who tumbles down a rabbit hole into Wonderland.

A BBC story written for the 150th anniversary of the boat trip points out that there has been a trend for readers to identify an underlying drug theme in the book. The British broadcaster notes that in an age of legal use of opium, Alice's potions and magic mushrooms to change her physical state during the adventure keep the drug angle alive. Critics of the drugs angle point out that Dodgson wasn't known as an opium user.

Delighted with the tale of the girl's adventures, Alice begged Dodgson to write it down. Macmillan published it as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. A sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, was published in 1871. Macmillan plans a new and more lavish edition for the anniversary.

Macmillan Alice 150th anniversary web

The Lewis Carroll Society

Is Alice in Wonderland really about drugs? (BBC 20 Aug 2012)

Local Lives - Alice Liddell (BBC)

The 100 best novels: No 18 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Guardian)

Date written/update: 2014-10-31