English 150

Senior Seminar: Lewis Carroll?s Alice Books and Industry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2007 Fielding, John David
Fielding, John
TTh 11-12:30 122 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Carroll, L: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (Norton Critical Edition); a Course Reader consisting of biographical material, criticism, and alternate Alices. Also various cinematic adaptations of Alice.


The central aim of this course is to understand the Alice books as a cultural phenomenon rather than as isolate texts themselves. Thus, we will begin by surveying a number of seminal critical responses to Carroll?s tales, including competing Freudian and Lacanian interpretations, philosophical approaches such as Deleueze?s in The Logic of Sense, political studies (which alternately read Alice as a post-colonial revolutionary and as a colonizing imperialist), a few linguistic and logic-based takes, some forays into mathematical, particularly non-Euclidean, analyses, and rounding things off with some biographical and source-based material. This final critical strategy will then lead to our investigation of various documented, and a few yet-to-be-authenticated, sources for the poetic parodies peppering each text as well as some overall models from which Carroll drew inspiration or even direction. Finally, we will reverse the trajectory of this historical genealogy into the future to study a number of permutations of the Alice books which followed their original publication. These spin-offs will range from Carroll?s own Nursery Alice, and Alice on Stage and various merchandising items to what Carolyn Sigler terms, in her useful anthology of the same name, ?alternate Alices,? which documents the evolution of Carroll?s tale in the decades following their initial popularity. We will conclude by studying a few radically different cinematic adaptations of the books, ranging from Disney?s animated version to Jan Svankmajer?s unsettling Alice, with brief considerations of such underground oddities as Alice in Acidland.

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