What happened to Alice’s Adventures Under Ground?

Well, it became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

All this happened because a girl called Alice Liddell was being rowed down the Isis, (the name of the Thames at Oxford) for a picnic by Charles Dawson, a friend of  her father, who was always telling her and her sisters stories.  On this lovely summer’s day in July 1862, as they rowed, the 10-year-old Alice asked Charles to tell them a story, so as they glided down the river he told them about a girl, called Alice, who fell into a rabbit-hole.

They loved the story as it was so unlike any he had told them before, Alice asked him if he would write it down for her. He agreed to, but he took several months to get around to it. Finally, in November 1864, he gave her the first version of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

Later he decided to rewrite it so he could get it published. He sent it to an author friend, George MacDonald, whose children read it, loved it and persuaded him to look for a publisher, with the result that it was finally published as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865 under the synonym, Lewis Carol.

The rest is history.  It was followed by Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1871, finally, the original work he had given Alice was published in 1886, and in 1890 a  shorter version The Nursery “Alice”, for young children.

What happened to the original?

Unfortunately, in 1926 Alice hit strained times and had to be put up for auction, it went to the USA for £15,400, which in today’s money is £900,000!  There it was displayed at Columbia University, then it was bought by a consortium of American bibliophiles and presented to the British people “in recognition of Britain’s courage in facing Hitler before America came into the war“.

It is now in the British Library.

Isn’t history interesting!

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