Top positive review
A charming book, full of surprising insights into the true meaning and historical background of many innocent looking passages
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2018
A charming book, full of surprising insights into the true meaning and historical background of various seemingly straightforward passages in the Alice books. So much so, that one wishes that there were more of these annotations.
One of the things I most appreciate in this edition is the generosity of both its annotators, the late Martin Gardner and his successor, Mr. Mark Burstein. Their willingness to read, acknowledge and often accept suggestions of interpretation and emendations from readers, who are not necessarily Carrollian experts, is absolutely unparalleled in the academic world, and only helped to enrich the resulting work.
I was also touched by, and agreed with Mr. Burstein's apologia for the section of "The Wasp In a Wig", originally omitted by Lewis Carroll himself for the final printed book. It sheds a different light on Alice's personality. Throughout both books Alice is presented as a rather snobbish and self-centered person, but in "The Wasp In a Wig" she is shown to be compassionate and ready to help, even though the object of her compassion, the Wasp, is a socially inferior and quite unfriendly creature. It is indeed a pity that Lewis Carroll agreed to omit it under Tenniel's pressure.
Still, there is one shortcoming that I would wish were not in this edition. It is the choice of illustrations. Instead of the multitude of modern-day far-fetched illustrations, I would like to have seen the original colored renditions of Tenniel's drawings for the "Nursery Alice" (in which Alice wears a yellow dress), as well as Harry G. Theaker's renderings of the Tenniel drawings for the 1911 Macmillan edition of the complete Alice (in which Alice wears the now iconic blue dress).