This chapter considers Lewis Carroll’s children’s fantasy novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), placing it in the context of the diverse cultural afterlives of both the author and his iconic character. After introducing Carroll’s life and literary legacy, the chapter analyses the novel as a complex response to a longstanding tradition of didactic moral literature for the young as well as emerging nineteenth-century genres of imaginative writing for children, examining the book’s engagement with anti-didactic works through its many satirical, intertextual references to popular moral verses and tales. The chapter then turns to a discussion of the novel’s eponymous heroine as a figure of resistance challenging other forms of authority and moralising, including conventional Victorian ideas about childhood and girlhood. The chapter concludes by considering Carroll’s novel as a literary and cultural phenomenon, and the diverse history of its many hundreds of literary and media adaptations as theorised by recent intertextuality and influence studies.
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- Literary fantasy