by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) is one of the classics
of Victorian children's literature. It is only one of the
most weird and absurd adventures ever committed to paper!
At every possible turn, Alice's adventures in Wonderland defy
the conventions of Victorian society. As the Cheshire Cat
says to Alice, "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
Alice is actually not mad, but the Cheshire Cat is quite right
about the other inhabitants of Wonderland: the Mad Hatter
and the March Hare (also mad), the Queen of Hearts shouting
"Off with their heads!", the Mock-Turtle (who used
to be a real Turtle), and many others. If you like puns, paradoxes,
logic and illogic, - if you like Monty Python - then this
is the choice for you this week! Here are some quotes:
'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar. This was not an
encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather
shyly, 'I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least
I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I
must have been changed several times since then.'
Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground
in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were
live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers
had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and
feet, to make the arches.
All the time they were playing the Queen never left
off quarrelling with the other players, and shouting 'Off
with his head!' or 'Off with her head!' Those whom she sentenced
were taken into custody by the soldiers, who of course had
to leave off being arches to do this, so that by the end of
half an hour or so there were no arches left, and all the
players, except the King, the Queen, and Alice, were in custody
and under sentence of execution.
You have probably all seen
the 1939 film musical starring Judy Garland, but I would guess
that most of you have not read the book, The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz, on which the film is
based. The book was written by L. Frank Baum, and published
in the year 1900 (an easy date to remember!). Baum went on
to publish a total of 14 books that are set in the land of
Oz, and after Baum's death in 1919, other authors continued
to write Oz books, so that there are now about 40 Oz books,
with hundreds of characters. It is one of the first, and most
popular, fantasy series! In most details, the film musical
is very faithful to the book, with one major exception: according
to Baum, Dorothy's journey to Oz was not a dream at all -
it was real. Here are some quotes:
The Tin Woodman said: I have never been to the Emerald
City. But my father went there once, when I was a boy, and
he said it was a long journey through a dangerous country,
although nearer to the city where Oz dwells the country is
beautiful. But I am not afraid so long as I have my oil-can,
and nothing can hurt the Scarecrow, while you bear upon your
forehead the mark of the Good Witch's kiss, and that will
protect you from harm.
"It has been many years since anyone asked me to
see Oz," the man said. "He is powerful and terrible,
and if you come on an idle or foolish errand to bother the
wise reflections of the Great Wizard, he might be angry and
destroy you all in an instant."
So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard
and placed it upon her head. Then she stood upon her left
foot and said slowly: "Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!" Next
she stood upon her right foot and said: "Hil-lo, hol-lo,
hel-lo!" After this she stood upon both feet and cried
in a loud voice: "Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!" Now the
charm began to work.