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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the by Lewis Carroll, Tan Lin

By Lewis Carroll, Tan Lin

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Extra resources for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)  

Example text

The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, began screaming 舠Off with her head! 舡 said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent (p. 93). Alice is not surprised by what she doesn舗t know because she has no desire to know it (舠It舗s no business of mine舡), and this serves as an antidote to the Queen舗s fury. But fury may be no less and no more expressible than the other emotions Alice has. One can no more choose to be or not be angry than worried or curious.

Even in play, logic reigns rigidly in Wonderland in a kind of spoof of the analytical philosophical logic popular at Oxford in Carroll舗s day. 舡 What is Alice to do with other people舗s wishes, other people舗s logical desires? As Humpty Dumpty puts it, 舠The question is . . which is to be master舒that舗s all舡 (p. 219). Lewis Carroll was a teacher of symbolic logic at Oxford, and he loved to make mathematical knots for his pupils to wriggle out of. Carroll舗s fondness for mathematical puzzles and classical logic admits of both the curious and trivial.

The things that happen in the Alice books are not quite events or exchanges; they are more like meta-events, things that are logically conceivable within a specified range of actions (possible) or things that are logically likely within a range of actions (probable). All events in the Alice books thus feel like non sequiturs. What kind of sense does growing up make to the child trapped in a present that has not yet become future? 舡 (p. 190). 舡9 The opposite of endless waiting may be endless and infinite becoming, with Alice growing larger one moment and shrinking the next.

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