I know we said Humpty Dumpty tonight, and I know I said so for two nights running- but we have read it before Emily you remember?
Anyway GiGi wants to tell you how Alice ended up as a train journey of thought, and how this figured in Dodgson's idea for a sequel.
All right, ok, I'm sorry, and I will tell you about Humpty again I promise. Look, here's a nice new picture of Alice for you. She's on a train...
Not only that Em, but the inspiration for this one ( though GiGi's colouring in lends itself more to Modigliani met Van Gogh on an off day- but then your Daddy paints like that too! ) was your very own Millais!
'My first sermon' Millais
So there you are Em, pre-raph your little heart out on that one ( you'd look good in red by the way. )
Back to business.
So, Dodgson says of his first visit to Wighty, that he happened to come down and stay with an old friend, and that he wasn't coming down just to see Tennyson. Ok. Well, 'Collyns'- said friend wasn't actually in the area, he was on the way- and could easily have been picked up and brought to the Isle, by train or horse. Collyns taught at the school in Hampshire that Dean Liddell's son Harry was a pupil at ( Dodgson's first child friend- he had first met all the Liddells also on a train journey in 1856, just before he accidentally met them again at Oxford whilst photographing the Chapel.) In 1857, there were rumours of an affair with the Liddell's governess- 'Miss Prickett' ( some indicate this as the key to his duality of personality- a broken heart peut-etre. ) We won't bother with the conjecture.
However, when Dodgson came down for the third time, in 1864, after the famous boat-trip that inspired his tale in - he had also had a similarly inspiring train journey with the Liddells in Spring 1863, during which tales were as usual told- but hadn't made it into his debut tome. ( This journey does make it into chapter three of 'Looking Glass', with a pastiche of Disreali- Tenniel in Punch-stylee dressed in his 'White Paper'. )
Dodgson liked train journeys, and by the time he came down for his 1864 visit- the impending railway route from Yarmouth to Freshwater was still twenty-four years away from fruition- Tennyson being a vociferous objector.
But this particular journey, prior to the publication of 'Alice in Wonderland' lay dormant, whilst putting said book to bed.
The characters he met and lampooned here, were woven into an altogether darker sequel. The grotesque, the pre-surrealistic animals ( inspired by the zeit-geist of 'Grandeville' who was Tenniels French protagenist- who has been heralded as the precursor of the Surrealist movement ) and the twisted tangled turn of mind have all distilled into the sequel combining into the most famous childrens books of all time.
There we are Emily, I made my point.
Hope you liked the pictures.
Sleep well, little one.
Your ever-loving Grand-mother- GiGi xxx