Literally nonsense.  This is the term that is given to the genre that Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland belongs in.  Isn’t that an excellent mind frame to place oneself in before they crack open a book?  On the one hand, it’s a genre that includes personal favourites including the always excellent Roald Dahl, and on the other hand, if I were ever to become confused, I could tell myself that was the entire point of the novel.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, written way back in 1865 is a much-loved classic, that has been read by many generations and converted for the screen multiple times.  But considering it’s such a small novel, and based for such a young age, why is it that Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is continually enjoyed and adored by people of all ages?

Personally, I think it was the idea of croquet being played with flamingos and hedgehogs.  Or perhaps the Queen of Hearts whose declarations of ‘Off with their head’ poignantly reminds each of us of that overbearing individual that we’re forced to endure in our lives.  But these are just personal favourites.

The beauty of Carroll’s writing lies in the simplicity and logic, combined with the fantastical, that leaves us all scratching our heads while having a merry good time along the way.  For clarity, as previously mentioned, the term ‘nonsense literature’ is a style of writing that deliberates creates nonsense and confusion through an excess of meaning, rather than a lack of it.  While this in itself is a tad confusing, when in writing, it’s easy to understand how the reader, not to mention Alice herself, often becomes somewhat befuddled.

An example:

Then you should say what you mean, ” the March Hare went on.

“I do”, Alice hastily replied; “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know”.

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter.  “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!”

See what I mean?  It makes sense, yet it’s a little bit confusing nonetheless.

What I personally enjoyed the most out of the Carroll’s writing was his brilliant use of words.  Whether it was his colourful descriptions, or the idiosyncrasies of his characters, or even the sheer goodness of his puns.  Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good pun?

Reading Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland reminded me of the importance of a good book, regardless of when it was written and who it was written for.  There is a reason why Lewis Carroll still stands as an inspirational and thought-provoking writer, almost 150 years after Alice first set out into Wonderland.

Have you read Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, or seen any of the film adaptations?  Are you a fan of Lewis Carroll?  Let me know!

alice's adventures in wonderland by lewis carroll

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – (image taken from http://www.library.ubc)