London: Macmillan & Co., 1866. Second (first published) edition. The book that forever changed the face of children’s literature. In the original publisher's red, gilt-stamped cloth, gilt edges, light blue end papers, Burn & Co. binder's ticket on lower pastedown. A Very Good copy, recased, preserving the original spine. Minor spotting and soiling to the cloth. Contemporary owner's signature on the front end paper. Early issue with the inverted "S" on the last line of the contents page. Housed in a custom clamshell case.
“Have I gone mad?”
“I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something… the best people usually are.”
Cleverly crafted by Oxford don, Charles Dodgson, under the pen name Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” remains one of the most influential pieces of children’s literature ever written. The book has been published in more than 112 languages and defined the popular “nonsense” genre of writing in the nineteenth century. While teaching mathematics and living at Christ Church College, Dodgson developed a close friendship with the daughters of the college dean, and told them tales of wonderland. Alice, ten years of age at the time, begged Dodgson to write them down and soon after the story took shape.
While the original manuscript given to Alice, which was hand written and illustrated by Dodgson, remains with the British Library, Dodgson published the story in 1865 with accompanying illustrations by John Tenniel. The first 2,000 copies were not distributed because Tenniel was dissatisfied with the print quality. Macmillan quickly reprinted the book using this 1866 title page, with copies available as early as November 1865, making this the first "published" edition available for purchase at bookstores. The 2,000 unbound sheets that were rejected by Tenniel were sent to the U.S. publisher, Appleton & Co., who bought the rights and used them as the first U.S. edition approximately six months later in 1866. Very Good (Item #2689)