My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Tenniel’s illustrations really shed light on Carroll’s work, especially in combination with “Pleasures Taken: performances of sexuality and loss in Victorian photographs”. Carroll’s demand on Tenniel’s pen and ink work and his demand for perfection, reflects his artistic obsession with the girl body. This reread has brought the nonsense of this novel to my awareness. While the cult status of this novel seems deserved because of its precedent in the genre. It has given modern fiction a basis for expansion, because on its own it is episodic and somewhat didactic.
I find that movie adaptations tend to play up the Queen’s role and downplay the Victorian nonsense, which is crucial to the actual success of the novel. Alice’s wordplay, her half-learned knowledge and the use of puns throughout are part of the reason for its cult following.