What Alice Found There

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of  Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (also known as Alice Through the Looking-Glass or simply Through the Looking-Glass). Although First edition copies may indicate 1872 as the publication date, the book was actual released during the last week of 1871. Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Was a magical trip to an alternate world. The sequel has Alice enterning the fantasy realm by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. There she discovers that, just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic.

Through the Looking-Glass famously includes such verses as “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter“, and the episode involving Tweedledum and Tweedledee

While the first Alice novel took playing cards as a theme, Through the Looking-Glass instead used chess; most of the main characters are represented by chess pieces, with Alice being a pawn. The looking-glass world consists of square fields divided by brooks or streams, and the crossing of each brook typically signifies a change in scene, with Alice advancing one square.

The First Edition of Through the Looking Glass  was illustrated by Sir John Tenniel who was an English illustrator most famously known as a political cartoonist and the main illustrator for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In total, Tenniel drew 92 drawings for both books in his signature style of pencil drawings which were then transferred to wood blocks. According to The Alice Companion by Jo Elwyn and J. Francis Gladstone, in 1981 the original wood blocks were found in a bank vault and are now at the British Library.

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