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"T'was brillig, and the slythy tobes did gyre and gimble in the wabe..."
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Member Name: Hoggle-DR1749
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Advantages: Timeless classic
Disadvantages: Can be a bit hard to understand
In case you haven't figured it out already, i find fairy tale subversion fascinating. One of the most subverted fairytales i've found has to be Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' combined with it's sequel 'Through the Looking Glass."
Granted, it could be argued that Alice in Wonderland isn't a fairy tale, for it doesn't quite follow the writing restrictions of say Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales or The Brother's Grimm. But when i call this a fairytale i am referring to a children's book rendition of life complete with a hidden message- which in my eye's is a fairy tale- along with the story's openness to being subverted and changed.
I have seen countless subversions of this tale, so much so i had to buy the books to see what really happened. Amongst these subversions was a ballet version where the Queen of Hearts is Alice's mother, two part drama version on sky where Wonderland was in fact in the business of dealing emotions to people and Wonderland was mostly a fantasy casino, also this is one where the Hatter is rather more complex than in most of his renditions, of course there are the Disney, Tim Burton and the one where Whoopie Goldberg plays the Cheshire Cat. There is also a subversion of Alice in Wonderland in the 'Once Upon a Time' series (see my 'Fairy tale Subversion at it's best review.)
Funnily enough most of these subversions actually combine both 'Alice's adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the looking Glass'- for example the crazy twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum only appear in 'Through the Looking Glass' along with the White Queen. If i had to say any of these subversions was actually accurate to Alice in Wonderland it would be the film where Whoopie Goldberg plays the Cheshire Cat- it is the only subversion i've seen that includes the very old Mock Turtle story who has an island on it's back, and the only version that includes the Duchess and her baby pig story. However the Disney version takes a close second.
All of these subversions have a few things in common- there is a girl named Alice (accept in the Once Upon a time series from what i've seen so far), a land called Wonderland, a white rabbit somewhere along the line, a blue caterpillar smoking a hookah, a Mad Hatter's tea party, and of course The Queen of hearts and her army of playing cards.
And funnily enough all of these common entities are part of the original Alice in Wonderland. So here's what really happened: Alice is sitting by a bank with her sister feeling incredibly bored, and so begins to day dream. After which she sees a rabbit in a waistcoat running along the bank with his pocket watch. Alice becomes curious and decides to follow him as he disappears down a rabbit hole. After which we have the classic 'Drink Me' and 'Eat Me' scene where Alice ends up swimming through the tiny door into Wonderland via a pool of her own tears (shown only in Disney's version from what i can remember.) After which Alice meets the Dodo and takes part in the Caucus Race. After that bit of madness Alice finds herself at the White Rabbit's house where a little munch on a biccy requires a lizard with a ladder to try and pull the monster (which is Alice Ginormified) out of the chimney. When Alice becomes tiny again she goes off and comes across the Blue caterpillar smoking a hookah who tells her the story of 'Old father William.' After more size issues, Alice comes across the house of the Duchess and her pepper obsessed cook- where she also meets the Cheshire Cat, who directs her toward the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. After a mad tea party Alice finally finds herself in the garden she so wanted to get into at the beginning of the story, which turns out to be The Queen's croquet ground. After the famous 'painting the roses red' quickly followed by a game of Croquet, another conversation with the Duchess and a walk with the Queen they hear the Mock Turtle's story, helped by the Gryphon, and learn of the Lobster Quadrille. After which they attend the trial of the knave of hearts, who stood accused of stealing the Queen's tarts- to which Alice has to give evidence. And so the story continues.
I have to say if i hadn't seen the other subversions of this story i would have probably enjoyed the book more. The writing style is a fantastic combination of storytelling and poetry and the descriptions of the settings and characters are completely out of this world and no matter how hard any of these films try they cannot compare to the imagination of Carroll. However the films have more action and are easier to understand than the book thus would probably be the more preferable option for learning about this classic story. However if you are anything like me and are interested in how stories are chopped and changing this is a must read to see how people have made this crazy story understandable to other audiences. Along with the story being a must have anyway as it is a complete and utter classic that is the source of many writer's inspirations over the years since it was written.
All in all if you want to know what really happened in Wonderland this is the book for you. I got my copy as part of a 3 for £5 deal in the Works, which includes 124 pages of Wonderland fun, seasonal greeting from Carroll himself and has an extra 27 pages of glossary explaining some of Carroll's more eccentric vocabulary. This is just a timeless classic that can be enjoyed by all generations and probably will be enjoyed by many generations to come, along with many subversions of the tale being created over time.
Summary: A must have in your collection if you liked the subversions of it.