Who is Alice? An Analysis of the Character of Alice From the Origins of Her Representation to Surrealist Interpretations



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This thesis analyses the character of Alice in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland through different visual representations of Alice. I discuss John Tenniel’s world famous illustrations, which accompanied the text’s original publication, and were born from Tenniel’s career as a popular cartoonist. I also look at representations of Alice drawn by Carroll himself, sketches which exude a pre-Raphaelite influence. I then discuss two surrealist interpretations of Alice, illustrations done by Salvador Dali in 1969, and a film adaptation, Alice by Jan Svankmajer, done in 1988. Dali used one of his classic motifs, steeped in significance, to represent Alice and Svankmajer twists Wonderland into something more sinister. Each version of Alice includes the unique perspective of her creator. When the origins and inspirations for these representations are compared it is apparent that Tenniel’s world famous original illustrations do not represent Alice honestly, and that the visual representations done by Dali and Svankmajer hold more relevance to the written character of Alice. Commonly, what is original is thought of as truer or more important than adapted versions. This comparison between versions of Alice demonstrates that interpretation is not a less valid form of representation and that it can in fact enhance a work.



English, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel, Salvador Dali, Jan Svankmajer