Alice in Wonderland, it is one of those stories that pretty much everybody knows. Whether you just saw Tim Burton’s latest Through the Looking Glass, or grew up with the Disney cartoons, in one way or another it has touched all our lives. In celebration of this story, here are 20 of the more obscure facts we could find, I bet there is a few even you didn’t know!
1. That Golden Afternoon.
The first time the story was ever told was on a weekend boat trip in Oxford. Carroll was tasked with entertaining Alice Liddell and her sisters and he told them the story of a little girl falling down a rabbit hole and discovering a wonderful world of fantasy. Now known as “That Golden Afternoon.”
2. Alice has never been out of print.
Since first being published, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has never once been out of print and has been translated into almost 200 languages. Now that’s impressive!
3. The Mad Hatter was based on a real person.
It is rumored Carroll intended the character of The Mad Hatter to be a grotesque caricature of a man named Theophilus Carter; in fact, everybody in Oxford called him the Mad Hatter! He was an eccentric British furniture dealer and had a habit of standing in the door of his shop in Oxford wearing a top hat on the back of his head.
4. That sounds familiar?
Have you ever been on the Alice in Wonderland ride in Disneyland? Were you thinking, “Hey, the voice narrating sounds familiar”. Well you’re not wrong it is the voice of Kathryn Beaumont. She was Alice from the 1951 animation adaptation of Alice in Wonderland!
5. Mad Hatter Day exists!
Did you know that Great Britain has a Mad Hatters day to celebrate the Mad Hatter? It is celebrated on October 6th which was inspired by the Mad Hatters hat from the Disney version. The 10/6 on the hat depicts the cost being 10 shillings and 6 pence.
6. Alice Liddell was a real person.
Alice Liddell was a real person; she was the daughter of the Dean of the University Carroll attended. He became friends with little Alice, and wrote the story, “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground,” for her as a Christmas present. All of Carroll’s friends loved the story so much, he added new chapters and characters and released, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the following year.
7. Lewis Carroll illustrated the original Alice.
The original 1864 handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground contained illustrations by Lewis Carroll himself, and if you ask me they were pretty good! He didn’t like them much though, so instead hired the professional John Tenniel for the published edition.
8. Lewis Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
Carroll never wanted the fame, so he wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It didn’t take long though for the public to figure out who he was. Oh well, it was probably good while it lasted.
9. Cheshire Cat’s Tree was real.
At Christchurch, Oxford England – The place that inspired aspects of Alice’s Adventure there is the “Alice Door,” the door Alice Liddell used to go through and play in the gardens. That tree on the right is said to be the tree that inspired the Cheshire Cats tree.
10. The manuscript of Alice was presented to Britain as a gift from the USA.
Alice Liddell was forced to sell her precious copy of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground when she fell on hard times. It remained in American hands until after the second world war when it was given back to Britain in gratitude of their service in the war. There it remained until 2015 when it travelled to the Morgan Museum in New York for the 150th Anniversary.
11. Carroll was the Dodo.
Carroll had a stutter and would introduce himself as Do-Do-Dodgson, therefore he based the Dodo on his real name.
12. Alice was once banned in China.
Alice in Wonderland was Banned in China during the 1930’s because people were afraid children will treat animals like humans.
13. Queen Victoria loved Alice in Wonderland! – CORRECTION
The antidote goes that Queen Vctoria loved Alice so much after reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she asked Carroll to dedicate his next book to her – and you know what, he did! “An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations.” Unfortunately it is not correct, Carroll himself even refuted the idea.
14. Alice isn’t based on drugs.
Contrary to popular belief there is no evidence that Carroll was under the influence of any opium or other drugs while writing the book. It was during the 60’s that people started to link the story to drug use. Now I’m no expert but was it mayyybe because L.S.D use was prevalent during this time? Just maybe?
15. Alice in Wonderland syndrome sucks!
Alice in Wonderland syndrome, is a disorienting neurological condition that affects human perception. People experience micropsia and macropsia, (which makes objects appear smaller or larger in a room) and a few other size disorienting symptoms. It is said Lewis Carroll may have been a sufferer – He was well known to have migraines which is a common symptom, and the scene below is said to be inspired by his experiences with the syndrome. But then again – He could have just been a quirky guy who got migraines every so often?
16. Alice’s Adventures in Elfland was almost the title of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!
This is a page from Lewis Carroll’s dairy where he speaks of writing the story Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Underneath you can see him trying out a few different names for the story he was writing to publish.
17. The first Alice movie was made in 1903
And here it is. It was only 12 minutes long, but was one of the longest films in that era.
18. Carroll’s copy sold for 1.58 Million Dollars!
Carroll’s personal first edition copy sold at auction for US $1.58 million dollars.
19. Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?
This classic little riddle actually has an answer. After being badgered by fans for so long, Carroll decided to write an answer and put it in the preface of later editions. The Answer was….
“Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” Did you notice it? The Raven? It’s the “nevar” spelt backwards… I guess that makes sense?
20. Alice might never have existed without the persistence of children?
Carroll was an accomplished mathematician. Carroll never intended to become a children’s author, he was attending university studying mathematics. After telling the story on that Golden Afternoon, Alice and her sisters kept asking Carroll to retell the story. So he spent two years writing it out by hand so he could give them the story to read over and over again.