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Imagining the World through Alice’s Eyes

The Adventures of Lewis Carroll’s Alice as Bildungsroman

Alessandra Avanzini    Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia    



In this paper, I would like to discuss how Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland (1865) can be considered to be a Bildungsroman. I will also affirm my idea that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is actually the first novel of a trilogy which comprises also Through the Looking-Glass (1871) and Sylvie and Bruno (1889-1893). In this trilogy Wonderland represents the first fundamental stage of Alice’s formative journey. I will therefore analyse the world as seen through Alice’s eyes, observing her first journey as a constructive one which gives both Alice and the reader the opportunity to change and become more self-aware and responsible. Looking at the world through Alice’s eyes makes Wonderland appear absurd, with nonsense seeming to be its main characteristic: at the start of her journey Alice does not have the cognitive tools to understand this new world and so it appears nonsensical. Finally, I’ll look at the cognitive tools Carroll gives us to build a new perspective and possibly a new logic. These are: ‘relationalism’, ‘plural identities’ and finally, ‘conventionality’.

Sept. 1, 2015

Keywords: Through the Looking GlassAlice’s adventures in WonderlandSylvie and BrunoChildren and young adults literature

Copyright: © 2015 Alessandra Avanzini. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.