London: Macmillan & Co., 1866. Second (first published) edition. The book that forever changed the face of children’s literature. A lovely, entirely unrestored copy in the original publisher's red, gilt-stamped cloth, gilt edges, light blue end papers, Burn & Co. binder's ticket on lower pastedown. Small stain to the cloth on the front board and the spine gently cocked. Housed in a custom morocco pull-off case.
"On the surface, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a paradise of puns, paradoxes, and anthropomorphism. Underneath, it is a deeply honest portrayal of childhood and adulthood. What unites Carroll's wordplay and analytical anomalies with truth is Alice. Wearing a simple, traditional knee-length dress and pinafore, Alice is more complex and daring than her apparel. She talks to herself (typical of a creative child), is startled by her changing height (a parody of puberty), fumbles through strange, increasingly grown up encounters, and remains honest and curious all the while. She is courageous in the act of growing up...Carroll's classic is an absurd yet magnificently perceptive form of entertainment unlike anything that came before or even after it" (Allen).
Alice's impact was immediate. At a time when most children's books were highly didactic and focused on clear-cut morality, Wonderland offered something new and fantastical; it gave young readers an opportunity to be amused, to sort through logical puzzles, and to imagine a world unlike any other in literature. Thanks in part to Carroll, "children's books entered a new, more fantastical phase: instruction with delight" (Allen). Near Fine (Item #3095)