In 1969 something magical happened in the world. Random House published a new edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” written by Lewis Carroll and illustrated by Salvatore Dalí. Yes, the Dalí you know. 12 unique illustrations, one for each chapter. Insanely intense, in bright colors, the illustrations were, well, surreal. I loved them at first sight, even if that sight was just a digital photo.
In 2015 something surreal happened in my world. I saw an original copy of the book. Live. In front of my own eyes. For real. And what a treat it was. Could I keep my eyes off it? No, I couldn’t. Every single one of the illustrations popped out magnificent and, oh boy, did it make a difference to see those heliogravures live in all their intensity, darkness, and surreal brightness. No photo can do justice.
I don’t know how many books are in still in circulation and where you can find them. But I can tell you where to find this one. Galerie Michael, 224 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills. Splendid people there. I had to visit a second time to take the photos. The first time, I was so excited I totally forgot. The lovely people sent an assistant to bring the book from where they store it just to let me take the photos. Thank you!
The moment I went back to my hotel, I was so compelled to know more. I found digital copies of all 13 illustrations. The amazing post on the best illustrations from 150 years of Alice in Wonderland by Brain Pickings and so many more. Isn’t this book a great opportunity for research in Literature AND Arts?
Are we surprised that a story of the likes of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
would pick Dalí‘s imagination?
Alice in Wonderland was the first official representative of what we now call children’s literature. With this book version, though, Alice is no longer a fun subject of study just for the young. Revisit it with your Middle School and High School students. It’s just fascinating.