Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Real Alice in Wonderland

Cathy Rubin co-author of The Real Alice in Wonderland contacted me recently with an interesting bit of trivia.

American Independence Day and Alice in Wonderland share the same birthday. So, I not only share my birthday with my country, I share it with a timeless story.

According Cathy, Friday July 4, 1862 is credited with the first time Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell and her sisters the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  It was shortly after the first telling of Carroll’s story that Alice began to urge the author to write it down for her.

I've been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it, so I went to Cathy's Web site to get more information about how and why she came to write this book. 
"In 2007, my daughter’s school  selected  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Book Day.  My daughter Gabriella remembered we had a connection to the Liddell family.  Alice Liddell inspired Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) to write the original story.  At this point I knew very little about Alice Liddell’s story other than what my grandmother and my great aunt Phil Liddell had told me about her when I was a child.   Gabriella bugged me to help her research the story. You could say we jumped down the rabbit hole together. It took us several months to research the content for our Book Day workshop  which we called The Real Alice In Wonderland. After we presented the workshop to Gabriella’s school and other groups we were encouraged by educators, friends and family to turn our story  into a film or book.  The book as you can see came first!"


Like many other readers, I did not know that Lewis Carroll wrote about a real  person. It was interesting to find out a bit about her:   

Alice Liddell was born into a privileged, academic family on May 4, 1852.  She was the fourth child of Henry and Lorina Liddell.  Her father, one of the most prominent educators of his day, was the Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford University.  Alice was home schooled by some of Oxford University’s finest tutors.  She was a bright child with significant artistic talents.  Alice was also known to be free-spirited (largely due to her never-ending curiousity about everything).   She grew up to become a beautiful and cultured young woman.  Her beauty inspired many distinguished photographers and artists such as Charles Dodgson, Julia Margaret Cameron and Sir William Blake Richmond.  She also inspired the devotion of many suitors including Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son.  In 1880, she married a wealthy landowner, Reginald Hargreaves, with whom she had three sons.

So, I wish a Happy Birthday to the gool ol' U. S. A. and to the wonderful story of Alice and the rabbit hole.

10 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

How neat. It's always fun to find out interesting tidbits about books and authors we love.

Hope you have a safe and fun Fourth of July and a wonderful HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Helen Ginger said...

Very interesting. It seems like somewhere at some time, I heard Alice was based on a real person.

Straight From Hel

Terry Odell said...

I knew Alice was real--and there were also some rumors of untoward behavior on the part of Carroll. But who knows whether they're true.

Happy Birthday!

Jan Morrison said...

This is lots of fun! I love it when a kid's assignment turns a parent to writing a book. Lovely...

Joanne said...

I never knew Alice was based on a real person, thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday, too! Clicked over from Helen's to say Hello :)

Helen Ginger said...

Hi again. Came back to tell you I gave you an award today on my blog.

Straight From Hel

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I tried leaving a comment yesterday, but blogger ate my post. Happy birthday to you, and to Lady Liberty, and to dear Alice.

Cold As Heaven said...

And our Queen also has birthday 4th July. Maybe she IS Alice in Wonderland. She came from an ordinary non-royal family and married the Crown Prince many years ago. Well, I'm more like republican, so I'm in doubt >:)

Cold As Heaven

Lynda Young said...

I didn't know she was real. Very interesting post :)

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. As you may have noticed, I have been pretty absent from the blog the last few days. We always have the whole gang of kids and their families out to our place for the Fourth, so I take a little vacation.

So glad you enjoyed the little introduction to the real Alice in Wonderland. Like so many of you, I did not know the character was based on a real person. I can't wait to read the book.