Monday, September 19, 2011

What's Old is New Again- A New Alice, Rescued from 1901

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Illustrations by Harry Rountree. Published by Calla Editions, 2011; reproduction of 1901 Thomas Nelson edition.

Okay, we've all read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, or at least we all know the story; a familiar, beloved story, it's everywhere in our culture.

There are dozens upon dozens of illustrated versions of Carroll's famous story; there are even books about all the different versions. So what's so special about this one? The pictures.
I first encountered the Rountree illustrations in a musty attic in the Berkshires where a used bookseller had tucked away the 1901 masterpiece containing 92 stunning color plates. I was besotted, but the $300 price tag was too much for my budget. There are abridged versions with fewer illustrations, but who wants that? My husband made a hobby of checking, and one day a bookseller told him that one of his customers was planning to republish the book!

This was wonderful to hear but no more than an idle rumor; we had no idea when or if such a book would be available. Then, a week ago, in the weekly newsletter from Dover Publications, I found out that it had happened- Dover was republishing an unabridged facsimile of the entire 1901 edition complete with all 92 color plates.

And here it is! The new hardcover volume is beautifully bound and the illustrations are just gorgeous. Trippy and weird, they're like no other Alice I've seen; some of them resemble Hiyao Miazaki anime style pictures more than the traditional, ubiquitous Tenniel pictures to which we're all accustomed. 

I'm telling you, if you love Alice, you have to buy this book! It's a treasure and it's so wonderful to see Rountree's pictures restored and made available again.

Rating: BUY

Click here to buy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Harry Rountree, from I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales.

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Man oh man, I'm loving those pictures! It is amazing how you could make a living out of collecting various AIW books. My son's Godfather gave him an Alice pop-up book for his birthday once and it is crazy. Like pop-up gone wild.

jlshall said...

Wow, thanks for the heads-up on this one! Think I've got to have a copy for my Alice collection. Gorgeous illustrations!

Audra said...

I love the story of how you found this edition -- no wonder you were smitten! I love the illustrations!

ImageNations said...

and would you believe that I always thought I'd read Alice in the Wonderland? One of those deceptions we create for ourselves. This really is a collector's item. Hope those in love with it snatch it.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow!! I adore Alice in all forms but this one just looks so good. Thanks for the spotlight!

Darlene said...

Wow, this looks fantastic! Those illustrations are incredible. I may have to get this one.

Kathleen said...

The illustrations are lovely. I can see why you wanted your own copy of this own so badly!