In 1964 cultural critic Marshall McLuhan raved about the book: “Pervading this uniform Euclidean world of familiar space-and-time, Carroll drove a fantasia of discontinuous space-and-time that anticipated Kafka, Joyce, and Eliot. Carroll, the mathematical contemporary of Clerk Maxwell, was quite avant-garde enough to know about the non-Euclidean geometries coming into vogue in his time. He gave the confident Victorians a playful foretaste of Einsteinian time-and-space in Alice in Wonderland.”
The great Joyce Carol Oates praised the book in the mid 1990s: If you could transpose yourself into a girl of 8, in 1946, in a farming community in upstate New York north of Buffalo, imagine the excitement of opening so beautiful a book to read a story in which a girl of about your age is the heroine … It would not have occurred to me even to suspect that the ‘children’s tale’ was in brilliant ways coded to be read by adults and was in fact an English classic, a universally acclaimed intellectual tour de force and what might be described as a psychological/anthropological dissection of Victorian England.”
In 2000, Will Self criticized the epic scholarly version of the classic books, The Annotated Alice: “There is something malodorous about this book – like the stinking petals of a rotting bloom. Gardner first published an annotated version of Carroll’s Alice books in 1960, and since then he has – with a pedantic avidity that makes train-spotters appear lazily dilettante – continued to amass more and more material concerning them.”
Want to read more? Check out the February 2010 Print(out) Edition of GalleyCat Reviews.