The Nursery Alice

The Nursery Alice by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Sir John Tenniel. Macmillan, 1890.
This edition, Pan Macmillan, 2011.

The Hatter was the first to break the silence. 'What day of the month is it?' he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.
          Alice considered a little, and then said 'The fourth.'
'Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. 'I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!' he added looking angrily at the March Hare.
                                                                                               - from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865.

July 4 is often referred to "Alice in Wonderland Day." Here in the United States, we're usually too wrapped up in fireworks and parades for Independence Day. On July 4, 1862, Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, is said to have accompanied the young Liddell daughters on a boat trip. It was there, he first told the story of an adventurous young lady named Alice. Alice Liddell urged Dodgson to write down his story. In February of 1863, Dodgson completed his handwritten manuscript. Friends urged him to publish the book, then called Alice's Adventures Underground. He worked on the manuscript, adding his own illustrations, submitting it to publishers in late 1864. John Tenniel was approached to provide new illustrations, and in July 1865, the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published, only to be withdrawn from publication! Tenniel had complained to Dodgson about the print quality of the illustrations. Eventually, some of the rejected copies were donated to children's hospitals. Very few survive today. That November, a new edition hit shops, and Alice became a hit. You can read the full story at The Lewis Carroll Society.

So 2015 is the sesquicentennial of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! And the first book birthday is this very month!

In 1890, Charles Dodgson published the first official retelling of his famous book. The Nursery Alice was a simplified version for younger children. Once again, John Tenniel's illustrations were used, but this time, color was added. (Alice's dress, by the way, is yellow.) E. Gertrude Thompson designed the original cover for the first Macmillan edition. Pan Macmillan published a beautiful facsimile copy this year.

Unfortunately, my copy is an earlier facsimile edition from 2011. Instead of the original cover, one of Tenniel's illustrations is used. It's still an attractive copy, although I love the decorative type on the original.

I have more Alice-related goodies to share with you today, so please check back at some point!

Until then, I must recommend Pan Macmillan's Alice in Wonderland 150 website to you. It is gorgeously designed, with so many Alice goodies. Of course, if you haven't figured out by my blog's name, I am a huge Alice fan, and have posted about her from time to time. Here you can find all the Alice or Alice-related posts, including pictures from Big Sis's fifth birthday party, old films based on the books, and my "Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!" post from 2013, complete with an Alice book round-up.

At some point, I may post a new round-up. I need to do one about favorite abridgments and adaptations, and as far as my original "complete book" round-up, I certainly need to add this new beauty from Pan Macmillan. Until later...

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  1. This is GORGEOUS! Oh love love love. I think I need a simple version for myself! Because it would be easier for me to read. :) :) :)

    1. Haha! Yeah, it was supposed to be for kids "from naught to five" in Victorian England, but maybe perfect for grown-ups in 21st century America. ;)

  2. So beautiful! I have a version of this, but it's not colorful. Love these illustrations.

    1. I owned notecards featuring these illustrations, but I didn't know until much later that they came from this edition. :)


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