Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Schools: 150th Anniversary Alice in Wonderland at the British Library

Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library
To celebrate 150 years of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the British Library (London) presents an exhibition marking the book’s 150th anniversary
The exhibition explores how Alice has captured our imaginations for so many years.
"Although the story has been adapted, appropriated, re-imagined and re-illustrated since its conception, we are still enchanted by Carroll’s original, much loved story, which continues to inspire new generations of writers and illustrators."
Alice in Wonderland has had a remarkable run. From Salvador Dali to Walt Disney and Tim Burton, not to mention the best world’s illustrators, every generation has reinterpreted and put its stamp on Lewis Carroll’s nursery-surrealist masterpiece.
Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library

It opens with a spiralling Op Art vortex pulling us into a trip “down the rabbit hole” of Carroll’s imagination and through the diverse visual phenomena it has engendered. 

screenshot: Alice in Wonderland/ ebook
credits: Apple

Alice in Wonderland video game
by Tim Burton

It contains an extraordinary array of Alice-inspired material, from the original manuscript to ebookcomputer games, designs by undergraduates at De Montfort University, via toys, tea caddies, Edwardian films and psychedelic posters.

The book’s genesis is as mythic, and the saga of the manuscript as surreal, as anything in the book itself. 

Alice in Wonderland
original manuscript copy of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, 1864

An Oxford mathematics lecturer, Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) dreamed up the story to entertain the daughters of the dean of Corpus Christi College – Alice, Lori and Edith Liddell – during a summer boat trip on the Thames. 

illustration: Mabel Lucie Attwell 
Alice and the White Rabbit before they fall down the rabbit hole

Attwell first published this edition of Alice in Wonderland at the beginning of her career in 1910. The characters are depicted from a child’s point of view and the adults look rather child-like themselves.
The graphic presentation, with fragments of classic illustrations blown up on illuminated panels, and signs in mismatched type-faces telling us “Don’t go this way, go that way” (echoing the “eat me, drink me” injunctions of the book), make the exhibition something of a “happening” in its own right.

Alice with the Red Queen from 
illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
by Charles Robinson (1907) 
credits: The British Library Board/ Charles Robinson
Alice in Wonderland is  a lovely book but not a simple one. Well, we all know the kindergarten adaptation by Walt Disney! And better than Disney, the marvellous Tim Burton's adaptation. 
Lewis Caroll's novels are more complex than that! Some children's books are not easy. The exhibition will help students to understand better this masterpiece of children's literature. So many illustrations, to admire and following the book on a new approach.

Alice in Wonderland
credits: The British Library
This exhibition celebrates the 150th book's anniversary. Teachers can't miss it!
You want to introduce the novel? You don't know how to motivate your students? 

And you are teaching in London or not far? 

  • Organise a school visit and go with your students to see Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript with hand-drawn illustrations, alongside stunning editions by Mervyn Peake, Ralph Steadman, Leonard Weisgard, Arthur Rackham, Salvador Dali and others.

Alice with the White Rabbit, illustration edition
 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Leonard Weisgard, 1949
credits: The Estate of Leonard Weisgard

  • Discover how Lewis Carroll’s story has been re-imagined, re-interpreted and re-illustrated over the last 150 years with newly commissioned articles, a selection of manuscripts, reviews and literature relating to Alice in Wonderland.

When you introduce a school visit (students love to go out of the school) at Museums, or Public Libraries, you revigorate your lessons. They're wonderful choices to include into the curriculum.

"A lesson at a Museum or a Public Library included into the curriculum will enhance the learning. Your students will enjoy the numerous interactive exhibitions, the daily hands-on activities and the monthly special events."


Alice in Wonderland
The British Library, London

Activities (before & after):

Well, there are a lot of funny and engaging activities about the novel that you can create yourself and prepare before and after the school visit to Alice in Wonderland exhibition.

Believe me! You will have a great group of motivated students who will learn about the narrative, characters, vocabulary, grammar.

You, a different 'attitude' by changing methods, a creative mind to facilitate different learning activities to your young students!

British Library : Articles

You still have the time. The exhibition Alice in Wonderland will be open until Sunday 17 April 2016.
Free entry!

"The exhibition’s real fascination lies in trying to pick apart what has made a book that should feel remote in time appear permanently relevant."


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