This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The British Library decided to celebrate with a brand new exhibition. Before you go see it, prepare yourself by reading 10 things you probably didn’t know about the book and its author!
Words: Costanza Maraffio, Subeditors: Bea Renshaw, Keziah Leary
1. The ‘Alice In Wonderland syndrome’ is a disease named after the book. It’s when you feel that parts of your body are changing in size, just like Alice did. The syndrome also makes you misperceive the distance and the dimensions of objects around you.
2. In 1931, the book was banned in China, as Chinese people believed that animals should not be able to use human language, even in fiction.
3. If you pay close attention to the 1951 film adaptation of the book, you can see Mickey Mouse flickering away from the Dodo’s pipe when he lights it up.
4. The famous riddle in the book, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”, doesn’t make any sense. In fact, Carroll himself said he had no answer to it.
5. Originally, the book was called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.
6. ‘White Rabbit’, the psychedelic song by Jefferson Airplane, is a clear reference to Carroll’s novel.
7. The protagonist of the book, Alice, is named after the daughter of the Vice‐Chancellor of Oxford University, Alice Liddel. She heard the story during a boat trip for the first time, and begged Carroll to write it down.
8. The ‘Turtle Soup’ song sang by the Mock Turtle, was an actual food dish in the 1860s.
9. The Alice from whom Carroll took inspiration for the book was a brunette, not a blonde.
10. Marilyn Manson’s song, ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’, is a reference to the cake and potion that Alice drinks once she falls in the rabbit hole.