Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Symposium of Wonderland

Dearest Emily,

Alice is a hundred and fifty years old this July- did you know? There have been quite a few programmes on about our fave topic so far this year- some enlightening- some sadly just darn ridiculous (and not in true Carrolian nonsense!)
We shall of course be doing our own hommage on the day that was between two schools of time- the 4th of July 1862. Dodgson explained to Alice that this day on that year- fell betwixt two forms of telling time. So- as the clock is stuck at five- this is when we will have our tea party...

And there's the point of it all for me, dear Em.

Wonderland is a viewpoint. A place to view from and make up your own rules. One where commonsense and nonsense are reversed through the looking glass. And that is a child-like perspective. Not a childish one, but via Carroll- it is a delishously subversive clever culture of wonder. Wonderland is a Country- a tribal view-point for imagination.

Whether it is Poe, Carroll, The Brothers Grimm or even Aesop, illustrators have picked up a viewpoint to draw their own Wonderland-esque versions.

Rackham's sweet nymph-like fairies, dance amongst creepy characters in the shape of trees, goblins and witches. Tenniel develops the characters in Through the Looking Glass in the then fashionable style of the Grotesque. Even the pencil of Beatrix Potter (said to have named Lear amongst her inspirations) made characterisations and stories containing scary stuff.

To use the Ancient Greek metaphor- we are all in a Symposium (drinking party) of Wonderland. 150 years of it has spawned great illustrators works, authors tangents, and children's imaginations. What a legacy Mr Dodgson!

As a child, sitting in the back of our wardrobe (!) just willing it to open so I could go and visit Narnia, and be scared of the evil Queen, and share the adventures, these tales and illustrations opened my mind to questioning.

Something that's always stayed with me Em. I delight in seeing it in you and Annabel.

Use your own Wonderland to view your World Emily- and you won't go far wrong!

Your ever-loving Grandmother, GiGi xxxx