We started reading Alice with the kiddos last week. With the end of school and the merriment that accompanies, we’ve only made it through the end of chapter 2 together, though I suspect the pace will pick up accordingly now. We are reading the Reimagined version together. The artistic style is fantastic! Yet I find a bit of comfort when i pick up my Norton nerd version and see those old Tenniel illustrations. I hope you are enjoying the book.
As I set out to write this week, I find myself echoing Alice’s sentiments as she fell through the rabbit hole. Do cats eat bats? Do bats eat cats? For, “you see, as she couldn’t answer either question, it didn’t matter which way she put it.”
In other words, while I’m enjoying the book immensely, I’m not sure exactly what to say yet. How strange that the absurdity of the book (and it’s utter apparent lack of profundity) is its finest quality.
In a letter penned to the children of an American family, Dodgson (Carroll) describes varied reactions to Alice, and his desire that children of varied backgrounds have access to the book. After Dodgson, a protestant Christian minister, commented that a Jewish audience (little Israelites, he says) would benefit, he adds this anecdote:
“Another – a ‘Lady Superior’ – wrote to ask to see a copy of Alice before accepting it: for she had to be very careful, all the children being Roman Catholics, as to what “religious reading’ they got! I wrote to say , ‘You shall certainly see it first if you like: but I can guarantee that the books have no religious teaching whatever in them – in fact, they do not teach anything at all.’ She said she was quite satisfied, and would accept the books.”
I’ve read the first two chapters numerous times, and each time I find myself smiling. I pore over the visual masterpieces, and again I’m smiling. I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, but for now, I’m delighted to smile and agree with our heroine…
Curiouser and curiouser.
A Note on Cats
If you know me, you’re aware of my general disdain towards cats. (I’m allergic, but I just use that as a shield to hide my true feelings) I found myself nearly laughing out loud as Alice and the mouse swam in the pool of tears, because I’ve been the mouse in numerous conversations… minus the pool of tears, anyway.
Me: Would YOU like cats if you were me? (hiding behind my allergy)
Cat Person: Ah, but if only you could meet MY cat…
Me: Low, vulgur things! Don’t let me hear you speak of them again!
Apparently cat folks have been using the “if only you could meet MY cat” line for well over a century. Who would’ve thought?
(Check out more about Summer Reading : Alice)