Published: September 22, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — The Lewis Carroll Society of North America is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Caroll’s classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a multifaceted initiative called Alice150 Week in New York. In true Carrollian fashion, this week of exhibitions, readings, talks and conferences will last not seven but a “curiouser” nine days from October 2 to 11. It is part of a yearlong calendar of global, national and local events coordinated by the Society at www.alice150.com.
The city of New York has a storied relationship with Alice. Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the girl who was the real Alice, came to Columbia University in 1932 for the celebrations of the centenary of Lewis Carroll’s birth. Alice’s likeness on two statues in Central Park also emphasizes New Yorkers’ fondness for the classic. It is believed “Alice150 Week in New York” will be the largest citywide celebration ever held with a focus on one book.
Several museum exhibitions on view in the city this fall shed light on the genesis of this story, from posters and rare editions from around the world to hand colored proofs and vintage photographs.
The Grolier Club’s “Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece,” on view through November 21, features a vast assortment of translations of the book, showing how its popularity has spread around the globe and is still being translated into different languages and dialects 150 years after its original publication.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) will present “Alice Live!” showcasing the library’s dance, theater and music archives as well as the private collection of Charles Lovett. The exhibition will be on view October 2–January 16.
The Morgan Library & Museum’s “150 Years of Wonderland,” closing October 11, features important Lewis Carroll and Alice material from the Morgan’s own collection. The original manuscript has traveled from The British Library to New York for the first time in 30 years.
Columbia University’s exhibit “Alice’s Adventures at Columbia,” on view through January 29, showcases memorabilia from its 1932 centennial celebration at which Alice Liddell Hargreaves was awarded an honorary degree.
New York University’s Bobst Library will host “Go Ask Alice: Alice, Wonderland and Popular Culture,” September 26–December 11, exploring Alice parodies and ephemera for viewers of all ages. The exhibit will contain items from the extensive Carroll holdings of the Fales Library.
Following the annual Mad Hatter Day October 6, a two-day colloquium on the many translations of Alice will take place October 7–8 at the Grolier Club. The keynote speaker, Emer O’Sullivan, professor of English Literature at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany, will ponder “Alice in many tongues.” Speakers from around the world will also explore translations into the six languages of Spain, the ten dialects of Scots, Chinese and more, while the issues involved in translating Lewis Carroll’s wordplay, puns, nonsense and cultural references will be examined.
The 92nd Street Y will host a talk October 8 by Mark Burstein, editor of several books on Carroll, who will discuss on the legacy of Alice with a focus on a new edition featuring Salvador Dali illustrations.
The conference continues October 9–10 at New York Institute of Technology (Broadway at 61st Street) focusing on “Alice in the Popular Culture,” including an opening review of “Alice’s 150 Years of Popularity and its Special Place in New York” by Dr Edward Guiliano, president of NYIT and former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.
For more information, www.alice150.com.
Grolier’s exhibition, “Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations Of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece,” represents the most extensive analysis ever done of one English-language novel rendered into so many languages. The presentation of 140 translations is based on a three-volume book of the same title and is drawn from the collection of Jon A. Lindseth, who is the exhibition curator, with loans from co-curator Alan Tannenbaum as well as the Fales Library at New York University, Princeton University Library, and The Morgan Library & Museum.
The book is famously difficult to translate because of its wordplay, nonsense, homophones and cultural references. When Lewis Carroll was considering having it translated into French or German or both, he wrote on October 24, 1866, to his publisher, Macmillan, saying: “Friends here [in Oxford] seem to think that the book is untranslatable into either French or German: the puns and songs being the chief obstacle.”
This exhibition gives evidence that Carroll’s friends were wrong, and to date there are 562 editions in German and 451 in French. On view are the seven languages translated during Lewis Carroll’s lifetime: from the first German and French editions in 1869, through Swedish in 1870, Italian in 1872, Danish and Dutch in 1875, Russian in 1879, to shorthand, published by Cambridge University Press in 1889.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center in Lincoln Center will present the multimedia exhibition, “Alice Live!,” tracing the history of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories in live performance from their first professional staging in London in 1886 to the present day.
Early productions will be illustrated with playbills, advertisements, and photographs, and New York productions will feature prominently in the exhibition. Posters, photos, audio, and video from Alice productions through the years will show developments in costumes, composing, scenic design, acting style, and even theatrical marketing.
The Morgan Library & Museum takes visitors on an unforgettable journey exploring one of the greatest tales ever told, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of Alice’s publication in 1865 and sheds light on the genesis of the story and its favorable reception in England and abroad. The show includes the original manuscript of Alice, on loan from the British Library, as well as original correspondence, distinctive drawings, hand colored proofs, rare editions, vintage photographs, and important objects associated with the story — some never before exhibited.
John Tenniel’s illustrations capture the essence of Wonderland: in many respects, they are as important to the story as Carroll’s text. The artist elaborated on the author’s initial drawings, making the characters and their interactions vibrant and magical.
The Morgan Library & Museum is at 225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street. For more information, www.themorgan.org or 212-685-0008.
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