Monday, January 18, 2010

Melanie Benjamin signed our first editions of Alice I Have Been

BarbaraMelanie Benjamin signed our first editions of Alice I Have Been ($27) Signed

"I saw an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago several years ago, titled "Dreaming in Pictures: the Photography of Lewis Carroll." I did not know that Lewis Carroll was a pioneer in photography; I did not even know that Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Certainly I had no inkling that there had ever been a "real" Alice! Once inside the exhibit, however, I was startled by the images Carroll-Dodgson-had taken; they were all prepubescent little girls. One photograph in particular captured my fancy; it was of a girl clad in rags, staring at the camera with a very frank-very adult-gaze. The caption informed me she was 7-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of Dean Liddell of Christ Church, Oxford, where Dodgson taugaliceht mathematics. The caption also said she was the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

"Hmmm...I wonder what ever happened to her?" I completely put it out of my mind while thinking about other writing projects! It wasn't until a few years later, when my friend Nic was visiting me from Australia and I took her to the Art Institute, that I remembered that earlier exhibit. Nic was the one who literally shoved me in front of the computer and told me I had to write this story; once I caught her enthusiasm and began to research it, the story just poured out of me.

Through that research, then, I was re-introduced to the classic story; I read both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and was charmed and surprised. They were nothing like I had thought; I remain astonished at how clever a writer is Carroll, especially his playfulness with language."

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