By Lewis Carroll, Tan Lin

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Additional info for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)  

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To which Carroll disingenuously adds: 舠It might have been written a hundred times, easily, on that enormous face舡 (p. 214). Growing up, like writing a pun or falling in love, is the occasion for perhaps some of the most absurd of human feelings. These feelings are suggested by the non-conversations, questions answered with riddles, and wordplay of the Alice books: paronomasia, linguistic substitution, antanaclasis, anagrams, punning, palindromic progression and erasure, repetition with minor variation, spurious etymological derivations, and reverse mirroring.

Which is to be master舒that舗s all舡 (p. 219). Lewis Carroll was a teacher of symbolic logic at Oxford, and he loved to make mathematical knots for his pupils to wriggle out of. Carroll舗s fondness for mathematical puzzles and classical logic admits of both the curious and trivial. He found logical problems and amusements in port prices, postal calculations, even lawn tennis. In 1883 he published a pamphlet, Lawn Tennis Tournaments, in which he proved, logically of course, that a player who lost in the first round might find that the finalist was an inferior player to herself.

It is Alice舗s sister who forgets for her, rather than Alice herself. Of the two books, Through the Looking-Glass is the bleaker; it ends with a question, whereas Alice舗s Adventures in Wonderland ends with a sister舗s loving reminiscence, delivered in Wordsworthian fashion as a premature eulogy for a childhood not yet lost, a lost childhood whose losses were already being deferred, as it were, by a familial caretaker. One of the ways to learn to give up an unbearable personal fantasy (and Alice can barely bear hers) is to make it the subject of a story.

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