When he met the Liddell family in 1955, he was a stuttering mathematician with a brilliant mind and knack for telling stories. He would entertain Alice and her siblings with many great tales full of nonsense. Though, it was not until 1964 that he came up with, on the spot, the magical story that we know now to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A story with such detail, such a developed plotline, it seems so (pause) unreal. It was taken straight from the imagination of Lewis Carroll. Or was it?
What could he possibly have to hide in these torn-out pages? His experience in Wonderland, that’s what.
Karoline Leach found one of the pages he had ripped out in 1996 in his family archive. The page looked like this (show new slide on screen). It contains what seems to be the first manuscript of the story. In the year 1854, he left the rugby school he was attending and ventured on a period of time explained in a biography (by Karoline Leach, who discovered his missing diary pages) as an “unexplained interval”. The interval was one of the years he had missing diary pages.
Such a mysterious period of time must contain something worth hiding.
Charles must have ventured to Wonderland in his “unexplained interval”. It stands to reason that Charles found the adventure so brilliant and so mysterious that it was something that he could only keep with himself. He then wrote the adventure down in his diary and ripped the pages out before anyone could see.
Now, the idea of travelling down a rabbit hole is a little far-fetched. But is the idea of other worlds or lands so crazy? The universe is basically infinite. The existence of parallel universes is believed by many scientists and physicists, though cases of travelling to these are extremely rare. Charles’ adventures appear to be based on his experience in a different world.
Eleven dimensions actually exist within our universe. The conclusion was made that our universe is merely one membranous bubble floating amongst a large number of other bubbles, which ripple as they travel through the eleventh dimension. When two bubbles touch, a bubble, which clashes the theories of both universes within the bubbles, is formed. If such a clash can occur when merging universes, wouldn’t worlds merge to create such a space as Wonderland?
Some worlds may contain merely a different version of the world we live in.
Yes, talking cats, abstract games of croquet and nonsensical tea parties contain elements of the atmosphere around us. Suddenly, the whimsical story of Alice and her adventures doesn’t seem so whimsical.
What exactly happened that caused Mrs. Liddell to prevent Carroll from no longer spending time with her children?
Alice and Charles had a very special relationship and were friends for many years. Many references to Alice Liddell are made in the book, such as the Mad Tea Party being held on her birthday. In the year Charles travelled to Wonderland, Alice must have been taken with him. When she returned, Alice told Mrs Liddell her stories of Wonderland leaving her very disturbed. She then banned Charles from seeing her children. He describes her adventures in his torn-out diary pages, as the girl in the pages is obviously not a portrayal of himself in Wonderland.
In his poem Epilogue to the Looking-glass, her name is spelt out in acrostic letters. Secrets between them were great, and they believed what they shared was special and only between them. I have exploited the mystery and left you revealed to the monument of a truth that is Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
As Charles wrote in his secretive acrostic poem, “What is life but a dream?”