Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Cover

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


The Complete Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Kent David Kelly contains much more than the original stories of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. This edition also contains two additional versions of Alice in Wonderland, which are Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which was the original first draft of Alice in Wonderland, and The Nursery Alice, which was a version written for young children. Also contained within this text is a missing chapter from Through the Looking Glass, called The Wasp in the Wig, and a long poem somewhat related to The Jabberwocky, called The Hunting of the Snark.

This book contains lots of wonderful commentary and annotations that tell of the background behind how these stories were created, as well as explain references that have been lost in obscurity in the modern age. While some of the commentary I found dull and tedious, a lot of it was really quite interesting. I think my favorite bit of commentary was regarding the number 42. This number will make any fan of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy grin, and as such I could not help grinning every time it came up in these stories. One bit of commentary after The Hunting of the Snark said that Lewis Carroll was actually obsessed with the number 42, and that the reason Douglas Adams gave that number such high significance in his book was because he was doing it as a tribute to Lewis Carroll. I am unsure how much truth there is to this statement, but it certainly is a lovely thought, and it put a smile on my face.

Depending on how big of a fan of these stories you are, there may be some parts that you'd want to skip. Alice's Adventures Under Ground may or may not be worth reading depending on your point of view. As I previously stated, this was the original first draft of Alice in Wonderland, and as such it contains much of the same material as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but has quite a few scenes missing. It might be interesting to some to read it though, just to see the differences in certain story details in the original draft, and there are different illustrations as well. I wouldn't really recommend reading The Nursery Alice at all. Even taking into account that it was meant for little children, it seemed like a poorly written version and I didn't really enjoy it at all. The Wasp in the Wig was an ok chapter, but I can see why it was originally cut out. It's still somewhat interesting, and it won't take up too much of your time if you decide to read it. I highly recommend reading The Hunting of the Snark, especially if you enjoyed The Jabberwocky poem. Alice does not appear in this poem story at all, but it does take place in the same setting as the other stories, and many references are made to things from The Jabberwoky. It was a very humorous poem, and I really enjoyed it. Overall I'd highly recommend this edition to anyone who is a big fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, especially if you'd like to learn more about the background of these stories and of the author.