While in Oxford, England, Celia and I visited Alice’s Shop. It’s a quaint establishment devoted to all things pertaining to Alice in Wonderland, and is located at a site frequented by the real-life Alice Liddell on whom Lewis Carroll based his famous heroine. Celia was thrilled to visit a place with a connection to one of her favorite characters in print and film.
Since returning to the U.S., I’ve come across a couple of stories about what many consider to be Carroll’s most famous characters–Alice, the Mad Hatter, a grinning Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, and so on.
The first was a story in The New York Times about an exhibit featuring the beginnings of Alice’s adventures soon to travel from England to Philadelphia:
And then I came across a story on Salon.com written by Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi:
Nafisi shares her life-long love of Alice, whom she imagines to represent the epitome of curiosity. She claims that the hookah-smoking caterpillar’s question “Who are you?” directed towards a disoriented Alice who finds herself in a new land is powerful in many ways. According to Nafisi, the question prompts us to probe our own position in the world and to be open to the ways in which our values and beliefs grow throughout our lives. Plus, the author adds, Alice’s misadventures in Wonderland flew against the grain of strict conventions for proper thinking and doing in Victorian England. Perhaps that’s what makes Alice’s wanderings so much fun!