Darcy in Wonderland – Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I am very pleased to receive today for the first time in From Pemberley to Milton an author whose work I have admired for a long time! Alexa Adams is not affraid to take chances to try diferente approaches in JAFF, she captivated me with The Madness of Mr. Darcy, which was a bold move,  and now she surprised me once more with the release of Darcy in Wonderland, a mash up between Pride & Prejudice and Alice in Wonderland.

Today she visits us to share Alice’s real story…

 

 

Thank you so much, Rita, for hosting me today. It’s a pleasure to be here.

In Darcy in Wonderland, Alice Darcy is a creature of two worlds, being both Lewis Carroll’s creation and the youngest daughter of Pemberley. Of course, Carroll’s character provided a great deal of guidance for how she would behave, even in a more orderly setting, but as a mother of a rather curious and fantastically imaginative six-year-old, my own daughter was also a huge source of inspiration. My husband, who is always the first one to read my work, was highly amused by the similarities between them, easily imagining our child getting herself into similar scrapes, but did you know that Carroll’s Alice was also modeled off of, or at least written for, a real child?

“Mama!” she cried, her eyes wide with excited recognition. “You shall never believe what has happened!”

“You mean other than my daughter running off without telling anyone where she was going?”

“Oh! Sorry, Mama. I did not mean to visit Mrs. Reynolds. My feet took me here without my brain giving the matter much attention.”

Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852-1934) was the daughter of Henry Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford from 1855 to 1891, at which point he became Vice-Chancellor of the university. Charles Dodgson (1832-1898), who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, was a new lecturer of mathematics at Christ Church when the Liddell family relocated there. He met them while pursuing one of his many hobbies – photography – on a spring day in 1856, and an intimate friendship with the family quickly developed. He was particularly close with the children. At first his special friend was the eldest son, Henry, whom he took on many boating trips and picnics in the surrounding countryside along with the eldest daughter, Lorina (or Ina). When Henry departed for school, the next two daughters, Alice and Edith, became the chosen participants in these excursions.

 

Much of the relationship between Dodgson and the Liddell family is clouded in mystery and rumor, but the origins of the Alice stories are recorded fact. On the 4th of July, 1862, Dodgson took Ina, Alice, and Edith on a picnic in the company of the Reverend Robinson Duckworth, who rowed the boat down the Thames to and from their destination. Having often regaled the girls with fantastic stories, Alice requested that Dodgson do so again, and he spun tale of a young girl named Alice and her adventures down a rabbit hole. Alice requested he write the story down, and more than two years later he presented her with the original manuscript, now at the British Library, entitled Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Alice, seeing his height stabilized, climbed onto her father’s enormous chest and sat down upon it, looking terribly unhappy. “It was much pleasanter at home,” she lamented, “where one is not always growing larger and smaller!”

   

“Or being ordered about by mice and rabbits,” Darcy added with perfect empathy.

“I almost wish we had never gone down that rabbit hole!” she continued.

“Almost! Good Lord, Alice! This entire episode has been an unmitigated disaster.”

“Well, it is rather curious, you know, living this sort of life.”

“Curious indeed!” he snorted, causing a strong enough gust to raise Alice’s hair.

“When I used to read fairy tales,” she continued, unfazed, “I fancied those kinds of things never happened, and now here we are in the middle of one! Maybe they will write a book about us,” she wondered, brightening at the idea. “Imagine, being in a book! There ought to be one, do you not think so? When I grow up, I will write it, if I ever do grow up. I feel smaller than ever next to you.”

“And I feel ancient,” groaned Darcy, carefully adjusting his inside arm so that it ached less acutely.

ARM_OUT_WINDOW

Much like Austen, Dodgson did not write his first novel with the intention of publishing. It wasn’t until the story proved popular with the children of friends beyond the Liddells that he decided to pursue a wider audience. He had previously published and had some success with his poetry, so it is not surprising that the final version of the story features several playful verses, almost all parodying famous poems of the time.

The mystery surrounding the Dodgson-Liddell relationship involves its sudden dissolution between the 27th to 29th of June, 1863. The page for this period is missing from Dodgson’s diary, presumably removed by either his nieces or nephew (another odd similarity to Austen, whose sister burned much of her personal writings). The Liddell’s themselves never referenced the rift. Speculations are aplenty as to what caused this abrupt break in what was hitherto a close and trusting relationship. The most sensational is that Dodgson proposed marriage to the then eleven-year-old Alice. Other the theories include Ina having developed a romantic obsession with him or his using the girls as a means to court their governess. The one thing that seems consistent is that some inappropriate romance grew amongst the players involved. Six months later, Dodgson visited the Liddell’s once more and something like peaceable relations were restored, though the same level of intimacy was never regained.

Alice married a wealthy cricketer, Reginald Hargreaves, in 1880 at Westminster Abbey. She became a noted society hostess and had three sons, the second of which was named after Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who stood as his godfather (Leopold named his first child Alice). The two eldest of the Hargreaves died fighting in World War I. When Reginald died in 1926, Alice sold the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Underground for an astounding £15,400 in order to be able to afford the ongoing maintenance for Cuffnells Park, the family’s estate. She was 82 when she died.

AliceHargreaves_1932

 

There is a very interesting film version of Alice in Wonderland from 1949 that sets the fictional story within the true tale of its creation. Few books have been so often portrayed on film, and through these movies, countless written interpretations, and theatrical versions, Alice Liddell’s fame lives on. I think it arguable that never before or since has a child’s simple request to hear a story had such a lasting impact on popular culture.

Original illustrations by K. Wiedemann: www.wiedemannillustrations.com

Thanks again, Rita! It’s been a lot of fun.

 


.

Alexa is an American expat living in Switzerland with her husband and daughter. She blogs about Austen and Austenesque literature at alexaadams.blogspot.com, is a contributing member of AustenAuthors.net, and a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.

You can contact her on the Alexa at:

alexaadams.blogspot.com

austenauthors.net

www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexaAdams

www.facebook.com/ElegantExtracts

twitter.com/ElegantExtracts

Author Page at Amazon

.

And you can find the Darcy in Wonderland at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 


 

 

Alexa Adams would like to offer one copy of Darcy in Wonderland (ebook or paperback) to one of my readers.

This giveaway is international and open until the 20th of August. To participate all you have to do is comment on this post and if you want to increase your chances of winning comment on the review I’m posting tomorrow. I will consider entrances from both posts.

Good Luck everyone!

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42 Comments

Filed under JAFF

42 responses to “Darcy in Wonderland – Guest Post & Giveaway

  1. J. W. Garrett

    Rita, thank you for hosting Alexa and featuring her story of Darcy in Wonderland. Wow, the history of how a story became a classic book was so interesting. Many people take their secrets to the grave and the basis for this story is no different. I have this on my wish-list and would love to win an e-book. Good luck to all who participate. And… blessings to Alexa on the launch of her book and much success in her future writings.

    Like

    • I always find the stories behind the books interesting, I like to know how the author came up with an idea and why he decided to explore certain premises. Alexa is clearly very bold in her choice of topics, and that results in very interesting and stimulating books 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you so much! I appreciate all the good will. Aren’t the origins of Wonderland a wild story? Best of luck to you in the giveaway!

      Like

  2. Thank you so much, Rita! It’s great to be here. I really appreciate your participation in the blog tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, so many interesting new things about this wonderful classic!
    I saw the book on your Facebook and the cover is deliciously original and amazing; if the inside matches this can only be an incredible adventure in between pages!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And there are illustrations inside the book too Sonia :))

      Like

      • Really? From the same artist? Wow, so cool! I think I wouldn’t mind having a framed copy of that art or even make a tattoo out of some, I really have to see it now!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I think the artist is Alexa’s sister but you have the link of her website on this post. Check it out 🙂 maybe you’ll find more designs you like 🙂
        The paperback is beautiful!!

        Like

    • Katy is indeed my little sister, and I couldn’t be prouder or more in awe of her talent. Please do check out her work at the above link to her scientific illustrations, which is how she makes her living (though she does do tattoo design, usually for herself). You can also see her oil painting and stencil work at katywiedemann.com.

      Like

  4. darcybennett

    This is such an interesting idea to combine these two stories. I can’t wait to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You wonder what secrets Alice could have told

    Like

    • Sure do. The three girls are also said to have had a similar relationship to that they shared with Carroll with John Ruskin (or so he claimed). It must have been a very interesting life.

      Like

  6. Mary Preston

    I agree about the originality. Sounds like a fantastic mash up of favorites.

    Like

  7. Betty Campbell Madden

    I found this information very interesting. Thankd.

    Like

  8. Jennifer Carr

    These are truly my two favorite books and I am curious to read this story. Thanks for the opportunity!!

    Like

  9. Laura Capio

    I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS!! I love the idea of Darcy and his daughter in Wonderland, can’t wait to read more. I’m now curious about the original Alice, too, after the history you shared! Would love to win! 🙂

    Like

  10. ladysusanpdx

    I am rereading Alice’s Adventures in
    Wonderland because of Alexa’s book!
    Although I have the eBook, I would si
    like to have a paper copy to gift .

    Like

    • That’s so wonderful! If a few Austen fans discover Carroll because I my effort, and some Carroll fans give Austen a try, I will have achieved my secondary purpose with this project (the first, of course, being pure entertainment). Best of luck to you!

      Like

  11. fascinating and unexpected mashup

    denise

    Like

  12. I loved the samples from the book very much. Am eager to read it.

    Like

  13. Sally Cline

    I have never read “Alice In Wonderland” although I did see the movie with Johnny Depp. I am curious as to how Alice and Darcy are written I a story together. The details of where it originated from is very interesting. Thank you!

    Like

    • You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed this story of the real Alice. The Johnny Depp film is very revisionist (though great fun). My story sticks quite closely to the Wonderland cannon, so it’s a bit different, but you certainly don’t have to have read the book to follow mine.

      Like

  14. Briony Watkins

    I love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as well as Pride and Prejudice, so am really intrigued by this book! I would love to read it!

    Like

    • As do I! Two of my favorites. Alice in Wonderland has been part of my consciousness for longer than I recall, so it felt pretty intuitive to blend the two stories. Both are so familiar. Good luck in the giveaway.

      Like

  15. I have the eBook and loved Alexa’s take on little Alice and her papa, Fitzwilliam Darcy. She sure leads him on a merry chase and his life will never be the same. Great read! Thanks so much for featuring Alexa here.

    Like

  16. Mary

    What an intriguing idea to give P&P an Alice in Wonderland perspective!!
    Just what will happen as a result of this mash-up is something I’d dearly love to discover for myself !
    I can’t imagine the shenagins and fun that will greet the reader!
    Best of luck with this book,Alexa!!
    Cheers for such a lovely post,Rita!

    Like

  17. Pingback: Darcy in Wonderland – Review & Giveaway | From Pemberley to Milton

  18. Ginna

    Oh, I enjoyed that account. Thanks for sharing this background with us.

    Like

  19. Pingback: Darcy in Wonderland Excerpt and Giveaway | Austen Authors

  20. Pingback: Book Review (and a recipe): Darcy in Wonderland by Alexa Adams | Musings from the Yellow Kitchen

  21. Thanks for telling us such a fascinating story, Alexa, one that’s completely new to me. It’s interesting to see how a story that was never originally intended for publication has now gained a new lease of life through your new work. Like many of the other commenters, I think I’ll be having a re-read of Lewis Carroll’s work before reading yours.

    Like

  22. I have such a wonderful time reading this informative guest post tinge with historical details. Thank you for sharing this tidbit with us, Alexa. I too wonder why the two families experience some break in relations.

    Like

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