Scene from Alice in Wonderland movie

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Alice in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, otherwise known as Alice in Wonderland, is the tale that started with a trip in a rowboat and ended as one of the most well-known works of Victorian literature – with a movie adaptation or seven thrown in for good measure.

But whether you’ve read the original children’s novel, grown up with the 1951 Disney film, caught one of Tim Burton’s remakes or listened to the BBC’s incredible audiobook, there may be a fact or two about Alice’s story you didn’t know.

1. Alice is based on a real person: Alice Liddell

Alright, this one you may already know but the character of Alice is based on a real-life Alice. This Alice was Alice Liddell, the daughter of one of author Lewis Carroll’s friends. On July 4, 1862, Carroll and his other friend, Reverend Robinson Duckworth, took young Alice and her two sisters for a rowing trip.

Along the way, Carroll started to tell the girls a story which he described as “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground”. Young Alice asked Carroll to write the story down, which he reportedly started doing the very next day. It took another two years to deliver the manuscript to Alice.

As an extra fun fact, real-life Alice was brunette, not blonde as portrayed in the book.

2. Alice’s sisters weren’t left out of the story, though

It might seem unfair to single out one of three children to base an entire novel – and a sequel! – around but Carroll didn’t leave Alice’s sisters out of the story entirely. The three girls’ names crop up in the Dormouse’s story; Elsie is based on the initials of Alice’s sister Lorina Charlotte, Tillie is short for Matilda, a nickname given to the third sister, Edith, and Lacie is an anagram of Alice.

3. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is an actual thing

Carroll suffered from a rare neurological disorder called Todd’s Syndrome, which came to be known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. The condition can cause hallucinations and can make things feel bigger or smaller than they actually are. Sound familiar? It’s thought Carroll’s own experience inspired the scenes in which Alice grows and shrinks.

4. Lewis Carroll isn’t his real name

Yes, Carroll was a nom de plume; the storytelling legend’s legal name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. And, rumour has it, it was his real last name that inspired yet another character in the book: The Dodo, based on “Dodgson”.

5. Disney’s wasn’t the first film adaptation of the book

Almost 50 years earlier, Alice in Wonderland became the longest film produced in Britain, coming in at a whopping 12-minutes long. You can actually watch the original movie, directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stowe, online thanks to the BFI National Archive.

6. Carroll published a sequel six years later

Alice Through the Looking Glass was published for Christmas six years after the publish of the original novel. The story picks back up with our titular character, this time following her as she crashes through the looking glass and enters a world set out like a giant chess board.

It’s a mirror image of the original novel – and we have the BBC’s thrilling audio adaptation available to listen to now.

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