Children’s Research Librarian Juliet O’Conor has sent through this fascinating piece about the many curious lives of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

Alice by John Tenniel


A selection of illustrated versions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books is on display in the Library’s Cowen Gallery between March 20th and May 23rd 2013. The display called A caterpillar, a gryphon and the Jabberwock showcases illustrated versions from the first edition of Through the looking-glass and what Alice found there (1872), a nineteenth century facsimile of the original manuscript Alice’s adventures under ground (1886) to Edwardian and contemporary interpretations. British artists including Michael Foreman and Helen Oxenbury, Australian artists such as Robert Ingpen and Donna Leslie and spectacular pop-up versions by Robert Sabuda and Zdenko Basic are on display.

Alice in Wonderland with “Come to Life” Panorama by A.L.Bowley


The Alice books that didn’t make it into the display are no less stunning and can be requested for use in the Library. There are political parodies such as Clara in blunderland (1902), a critique of the British government’s involvement in the Boer War and Malice in kulturland(1914) with a representation of the Jabberwock in the form of Wilhelm II of Germany cast as the Kaiserhog.

Malice in Kulturland by Horace Wyatt, 1876


Reformulations for very young children include Carroll’s own version The nursery Alice (1981 facsimile of the 1889 Macmillan edition) that reproduces Tenniel’s original illustrations in colour, the board book Walt Disney’s Donald in wonderland (1976) and Alice’s adventures in wonderland told mostly in words of one syllable (1907) illustrated by Thomas Maybank.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland told mostly in words of one syllable, 1907

Other examples of the Alice books include Gwynedd Hudson’s illustrated gift book published in 1932, Alice’s stunning pink flared dress in Rado’s 1945 version and more recent editions illustrated by John S. Goodall, Moritz Kennel, Justin Todd and the 2010 edition illustrated by Cinzia Ratto.

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland illustrated A. Rado, 1945

A new addition to our holdings of Alice books is a collection of almost one hundred foreign language versions of Alice published during the twentieth century. Donated by the University Librarian, Anita Crotty, at the University of Canberra, this collection is currently being catalogued and will be available soon to Library users. Some of the translations include Sinhalese, Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese and Latin language versions of the Alice books.

Alicia in Terra Mirabili, 1964

We also have print and electronic reference tools for people who want to know more about Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel the original illustrator and other illustrators. Our Children’s Literature Research Guide offers research strategies for finding lots of information about children’s books including literary critiques and interpretations, biographical information about authors and illustrators and book reviews.

Juliet O’Conor


The White Rabbit by John Tenniel



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