The Alice Books and the Contested Ground of the Natural World  book cover
1st Edition

The Alice Books and the Contested Ground of the Natural World

ISBN 9781138630826
Published June 15, 2017 by Routledge
266 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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

5. Eating

6. Natural History in the Alice Books




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Laura White is the John E. Weaver Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA).


"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."