(More Than) Skin Deep?

Like countless other readers, I’ve been a lifelong fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and it’s safe to assume that this person has been too. Then again, it’s perfectly fine if (s)he chose to have John Tenniel’s illustrations inked in just for the look of it; I wouldn’t have necessarily taken my fondness that far, but Tenniel’s version of the story is a classic for good reason. To view more work by Berlin tattoo artist Sara B. Bolen, click here. To see Alice’s adventures interpreted by other artists, visit here.

Photo found on Le Blog de Shige. 

More Alice in Wonderland

Were I to choose only one book to take with me on a desert island, it would probably be Alice in Wonderland, because on every reading of it, I’m continually surprised anew by the sheer inventiveness of it, and also for the love of the characters that people it. At one point I did consider having a blog exclusively dedicated to All Things Alice, and I’m sure if I looked around I’d find several already in existence. In the meantime, since I dipped my toes in Wonderland with that quote yesterday, I felt like having seconds today. As I was doing a cursory search for images of Alice in Wonderland, I found all sorts of interesting things. The Gwynedd M. Hudson illustration I posted made me curious  as to how it came to be that different artists had done their own versions of Alice in some of the earlier versions of the book since I had only ever taken notice of the famous John Tenniel engravings we’re all familiar with. This led me to look further into the origins of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and how it got published. I knew of course that there was an original Alice, and I knew that Lewis Carroll was the pen name for the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, beyond that I’ll share with you some of the highlights of my findings.

The original story was made up by the Rev. Dodgson and told to Alice and her two sisters during a long rowing trip. Alice loved the story so much that she begged the reverend to put it down on paper, which he did several months later, finishing his first version in 1863. Dodgson then destroyed that first version and created a second one which he presented Alice Lidell as a Christmas gift in 1864. It contained 37 illustrations by Dodgson and was called “Alice’s Adventures Underground”. When a friend of Dodgson’s encouraged him to publish the story, Carroll expanded it to double the original length, and enlisted Sir John Tenniel to produce the illustrations which graced this third version. It was renamed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and published by Macmillan and Co. in London, in 1865. Several other editions were published by Macmillan and when the British copyright on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland expired in 1907, other publishers jumped at the occasion. Each publisher then enlisted contemporary artists of their time in order to clearly show that these were new editions of the book.

Chapter I: Down the Rabbit-Hole

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that;
nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way
to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear!
I shall be late!’”

Maria Kirk, 1904

“She took down a jar from one of the shelves as
she passed; it was labeled `ORANGE MARMALADE’,
but to her great disappointment it was empty. She
did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody,
so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she
fell past it.”

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!’
(Dinah was the cat.) ‘I hope they’ll remember her saucer
of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down
here with me! There are no mice in the air, I’m afraid,
but you might catch a bat, and that’s very like a mouse,
you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?’”

Chapter II: The Pool of Tears

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“Just then her head struck against the roof
of the hall: in fact she was now more
than nine feet high”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

‘Stop this moment, I tell you!’ But she went on all the same,
shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round
her, about four inches deep and reaching half down the hall.

A.E. Jackson, 1915

The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed
to quiver all over with fright. `Oh, I beg your pardon!’ cried Alice
hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal’s feelings.
`I quite forgot you didn’t like cats.’

Mabel Lucie Attwell, 1910

She is such a dear quiet thing,’ Alice went on, half to herself,
as she swam lazily about in the pool, `and she sits purring so
nicely by the fire, licking her paws and washing her face—
and she is such a nice soft thing to nurse–and she’s such a
capital one for catching mice–oh, I beg your pardon!’
 cried
Alice again, for this time the Mouse was bristling all over,
and she felt certain it must be really offended.

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“..there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet,
and several other curious creatures. Alice led the way,
and the whole party swam to the shore.”

Chapter III: A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale

Maria Kirk, 1904

“There was no `One, two, three, and away,’
but they began running when they liked, and left off
when they liked, so that it was not easy
to know when the race was over.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“However, when they had been running half an hour or so,
and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out
`The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting,
and asking, `But who has won?’”

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but
they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh;
and, as she could not think of anything to say,
she simply bowed, and took the thimble,
looking as solemn as she could.”

Mabel Lucie Attwell, 1910

“`A knot!’ said Alice, always ready to make herself useful,
and looking anxiously about her. `Oh, do let me help to undo it!’

`I shall do nothing of the sort,’ said the Mouse, getting up and
walking away. `You insult me by talking such nonsense!’

`I didn’t mean it!’ pleaded poor Alice. `But you’re so easily
offended, you know!’”

Chapter IV: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

Arthur Rackham, 1907

Very soon the Rabbit noticed Alice, as she went hunting
about, and called out to her in an angry tone, `Why, Mary Ann,
what ARE you doing out here? Run home this moment, and
fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now!’

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“There was a large mushroom growing near her,
about the same height as herself; and when she had
looked under it, and on both sides of it, and behind it,
it occurred to her that she might as well look and see
what was on the top of it.”

Maria Kirk, 1904

“She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped
over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes
immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar,
that was sitting on the top with its arms folded,
quietly smoking a long hookah.”

Chapter V: Advice from a Caterpillar

Mabel Lucie Attwell, 1910

“`Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice;
`but when you have to turn into a chrysalis—you will
some day, you know—and then after that into a
butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer,
won’t you?’

`Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.”

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“For some minutes it puffed away without speaking,
but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah
out of its mouth again, and said, `So you think you’re
changed, do you?’”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“`Well, I should like to be a LITTLE larger, sir, if you wouldn’t
mind,‘said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height to be.’

`It is a very good height indeed!’ said the Caterpillar angrily,
rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).”

Chapter VI: Pig and Pepper

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“It was opened by another footman in livery, with a round
face, and large eyes like a frog; and both footmen, Alice noticed,
had powdered hair that curled all over their heads.”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked.

`There’s no sort of use in knocking,’ said the Footman`and
that for two reasons. First, because I’m on the same side of
the door as you are; secondly, because they’re making such
a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you.’”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“The door led right into a large kitchen, which was full
of smoke from one end to the other: the Duchess was sitting
on a three-legged stool in the middle, nursing a baby; the
cook was leaning over the fire, stirring a large cauldron
which seemed to be full of soup.

`There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!’ Alice said
to herself, as well as she could for sneezing.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“The cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once
set to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess
and the baby–the fire-irons came first; then followed a shower
of saucepans, plates, and dishes.”

Mabel Lucie Attwell, 1910

`IF I don’t take this child away with me,’ thought Alice, `they’re sure
to kill it in a day or two: wouldn’t it be murder to leave it behind?’
She said the last words out loud, and the little thing grunted in reply
(it had left off sneezing by this time). `Don’t grunt,’ said Alice; `that’s
not at all a proper way of expressing yourself.’”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“There could be no doubt that it had a VERY turn-up nose, much more
like a snout than a real nose; also its eyes were getting extremely small
for a baby: altogether Alice did not like the look of the thing at all.”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it
trot away quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,’ she said to herself,
`it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a
handsome pig, I think.’”

Sir John Tenniel - 1865

“The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked
good-natured, she thought: still it had VERY long
claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought
to be treated with respect.”

Chapter VII: A Mad Tea-Party

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“A Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep,
and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting
their elbows on it, and the talking over its head.

`Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,’ thought Alice;
`only, as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.’”

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded
together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!’ they cried out
when they saw Alice coming.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

`There’s PLENTY of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat
down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.”

Maria Kirk, 1904

`Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’ 

`Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice.
`I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.’”

Sir John Tenniel - 1865

“She looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would
call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put
the Dormouse into the teapot.”

Chapter VIII: The Queen’s Croquet-Ground

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden:
the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners
at it, busily painting them red.”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

`How should I know?’ said Alice, surprised at her own
courage. `It’s no business of MINE.’

The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after
glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed
`Off with her head! Off–‘

Maria Kirk, 1904

`Nonsense!’ said Alice, very loudly and decidedly,
and the Queen was silent.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said
`Consider, my dear: she is only a child!’ The Queen turned
angrily away from him, and said to the Knave `Turn them over!’
The Knave did so, very carefully, with one foot.”

Maria Kirk, 1904

“But generally, just as she had got its neck nicely
straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog
a blow with its head, it WOULD twist itself round and
look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression
that she could not help bursting out laughing”

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“The executioner’s argument was, that you couldn’t cut off
a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had
never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn’t going to
begin at HIS time of life.”

Chapter IX: The Mock Turtle’s Story

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“Alice did not much like keeping so close to her: first,
because the Duchess was VERY ugly; and secondly,
because she was exactly the right height to rest her chin
upon Alice’s shoulder, and it was an uncomfortably
sharp chin.”

Bessie Pease Gutmann, 1907

“So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes.
Alice thought to herself, `I don’t see how he can EVEN finish,
if he doesn’t begin.’ But she waited patiently.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“`Once,’ said the Mock Turtle at last, with a deep sigh,
`I was a real Turtle.’ 
These words were followed by a very
long silence, broken only by an occasional exclamation
of `Hjckrrh!’ from the Gryphon, and the constant heavy
sobbing of the Mock Turtle.

Chapter X: The Lobster Quadrille

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice,
every now and then treading on her toes when they passed
too close, and waving their forepaws to mark the time”

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“`Thank you, it’s a very interesting dance to watch,’
said Alice, feeling very glad that it was over at last:
`and I do so like that curious song about the whiting!’”

Chapter XI: Who Stole the Tarts?

Gwynedd M. Hudson, 1922

“The King and Queen of Hearts were seated
on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd
assembled about them–all sorts of little birds and
beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards”

Sir John Tenniel - 1865

“On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet,
and then unrolled the parchment scroll, and read as follows:

`The Queen of Hearts,
she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:

The Knave of Hearts,
he stole those tarts,
And took them
quite away!’

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“`Take off your hat,’ the King said to the Hatter. `It isn’t mine,’
said the Hatter. `Stolen!’ the King exclaimed, turning to the jury,
who instantly made a memorandum of the fact.”

Chapter XII: Alice’s Evidence

A.E. Jackson, 1915

‘Oh, I BEG your pardon!’ she exclaimed in a tone
of great dismay, and began picking them up again
as quickly as she could.”

A.E. Jackson, 1915

“At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came
flying down upon her.”

Arthur Rackham, 1907

“She gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger,
and tried to beat them off, and found herself….

…lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister,
who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had
fluttered down from the trees upon her face.”

Source:
Bedtime-Story Classic: Alice In Wonderland