At last I could close Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland. I got the book from my wife as a birthday gift, and started reading accordingly 2.5.2010, the exact date. I Was sitting on a plane heading from Paris to Philadelphia. After not too much pages I was involved in conversation with an interesting lady sitting near by me. And reading of the book had to be left waiting for later times. And now afer ten years the time has come.

Lewis Carroll’s book (1876) was ostensibly ment for children, however the language and the topic is sure for grown up people. Or how do you tell small children about a Queen, who will execute most of her fellows. Carrol’s book belongs to the genre “nonsense” but to a good  and very clever one of that.

The text is always about playing with English words – most of the jokes doesn’t make sense when translated in any other language.

You maybe know the plot of the book: little girl Alice falls in the rabbit’s hole and after that the wonderland begins and curiosities are popping up.

As Carroll writes reflecing the thoughts of Alice: ‘Curiousier and curiousier!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)

Things are going so askew that Alice begins to wonder: “Who in the world am I?”. She is frightend that she has been mutated to her not so clever friend Ada and begins the test. First with math: “Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is is thirteen, and four times seven is – oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate! Let’s try Geography. London is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome – no, that’s all wrong, I’m  certain! I must have changed for Mabel!” (p.10)

Further on Alice meets a mouse. All animals can speak, but now there is a little obstacle for a friendly chat. Alice is repeating to say “a mouse, to a mouse, O mouse”. However, the mouse seems not to be reacting. Alice is thinking: “Perhaps it doesn’t understand English. I dearsay it’s a French mouse, come over with Willian the Conquerer.” Alice tries to remember the first sentence in her French lesson-book: “Oū est ma chatte?”. The mouse doesn’t like cats at all and says “Not like cats. Would you like cats if you were me?”. (Alice has a cat.)

In the book the Queen every now and then repeats “head off”. The smiling Cheshire cat appears – she has only head. That brings trouble to the executioner: “The executioner’s argument was, that you couldn’t cut off the head unless there was a body to it  cut off from. The King’s argument was, that anything that had a head could be beheaded. The Queens argument was, that if something wasn’t done about it in less no time she’d have everybody executed, all round.

Great wisdom is revealed to Alice through the mouth of Dutchess; “Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.” – “I think I should understand that better if I had it written down”.

About on the page 90 there appears quite strange (all is strange in this book) bird wearing name Gryphon. He might be from the continent, because his speech goes (for example) like this: “This her young lady, she wants for to know your history, she do.” The turtle, who is the object, begins to tell his story. Interesting point is how the turtle went to school in the sea. Mock turtle tells sad thing: “With extras? asked the Mock turtle a little anxiously.  “Yes” said Alice “we learned French and music”. “And washing” said the Mock Turtle. “Certainly not” said alice indignantly. “Ah! ten hours wasn’t a really good school” said the Mock  Turtle in atone of great relief, “Now at ours they had at the end of the bill, “French, music and washing – extra”. “I couldn’t afford to learn it” said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. “I only took the regular course” “What was that” inquired Alive. “Reeling and writhing of course to begin with” the Mock turtle replied, “and then different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Uglification, and Derison”.  – I never heard of “Uglification” Alice ventured to say. “What is it?”.  – The conversation continues and the question comes, how long the shoool days were. “And how many hours a day did you do lesssons?”said Alice, in a harry to change the subject. “Ten hours the first day” said the Mock Turtle, “nine hours the next, and so on”. “What a curious plan” exclaimed Alice. “That’s the reason they’re called lessons”, the Gryphon remarked: “because  they lessen from day to day”.