Friday, March 26, 2010

"Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser"

"Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser"

Series Editor: William Irwin
Edited by Richard Brian Davis

Source: received from the publisher for review, thanks to Julie at FSB Associates

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

This collection of essays is a fantastic addition to any "Alice in Wonderland" fan's collection. These are scholarly essays, and even though they are easy to read, don't expect fluff stories that were thrown together to feed off of the recent Tim Burton movie release. These are highly researched and well thought out studies of the original book.

Some of the essays, I loved and would give 5+ stars to, but my rating is for the book as a whole, which did sometimes seem repetitive. The book is separated into four parts, each with essays that related to each other in topic. There are 14 essays in all, and reading all the essays back to back made the content seem repetitive to me. I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had only read a few at a time.

My favorite essay was "Unruly Alice: A Feminist View of Some Adventures in Wonderland" by Megan S. Lloyd. Lloyd gives strong examples of how Alice can be seen as a feminist icon. Some of her examples I had noticed before, but some were new to me and fascinating.

Another essay that stood out was "Jam Yesterday, Jam Tomorrow, but Never Jam Today: On Procrastination, Hiking, and...the Spice Girls?" by Mark D. White. Not only was the content of this essay strong, but the way that it was written was so appealing! I feel like White really embraced the nonsense that is Wonderland and he wrote the entire essay in that style.

I also enjoyed the comparisons of Carroll's work to Socrates. The authors point out that Carroll did study Socrates so these nods to his philosophy were no accident. I learned another biographical fact of Carroll that I hadn't known, that he suffered from migraines and that contributed to his writing about distorted reality (from the Scott F. Parker essay).

Bottom Line:
I would definitely recommend this book to a fan of Alice in Wonderland. The book helped me understand the book in ways that I never did before. I only would have preferred to read the essays over a longer period of time so that the content wouldn't overlap so much. I'm eager to read some of the other titles in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series.

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