Though popular opinion would have us see Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There as whimsical, nonsensical, and thoroughly enjoyable stories told mostly for children; contemporary research has shown us there is a vastly greater depth to the stories than would been seen at first glance. Building on the now popular idea amongst Alice enthusiasts, that the Alice books - at heart - were intended for adults as well as children, Laura White takes current research in a new, fascinating direction. During the Victorian era of the book’s original publication, ideas about nature and our relation to nature were changing drastically. The Alice Books and the Contested Ground of the Natural World argues that Lewis Carroll used the book’s charm, wit, and often puzzling conclusions to counter the emerging tendencies of the time which favored Darwinism and theories of evolution and challenged the then-conventional thinking of the relationship between mankind and nature. Though a scientist and ardent student of nature himself, Carroll used his famously playful language, fantastic worlds and brilliant, often impossible characters to support more the traditional, Christian ideology of the time in which mankind holds absolute sovereignty over animals and nature.
"Illuminates an often-ignored aspect of Alice’s world."
- Jenny Woolf, author of "The Mystery of Lewis Carroll" and "Lewis Carroll in his Own Account."
"Her conclusions are persuasive and valuable, and will allow many readers to return to the original texts in search of new meaning… The result is an enjoyable read for scholars of Victorian literature and science, and one that is especially vital for those interested in children’s literature… White’s study is an important reminder of the necessity of holding close the difference between a Victorian text’s original situation and its ever-evolving afterlife."
- Richard Fallon, University of Leicester in The British Society for Literatre and Science
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
1. Interpreting Carroll’s Satires
2. Carroll and the Emerging Sciences
3. Carroll and Darwinian Satire
4. Animals and Anthropomorphism in the Alice Books
6. Natural History in the Alice Books