If you gave a child the wrong book for Christmas

7th January 2005 at 00:00
If you gave a child the wrong book for Christmas, you'll have been made painfully aware of your gaffe by now. Who knows what Alice Liddell made of the original handwritten manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, received from family friend Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) for Christmas 1864? We are reminded by www.aliceinoxford.net, a new website on the manuscript and the Oxford landmarks in the lives of Carroll and "the real Alice", that this was a year after the "breach in (Dodgson's) relationship with the Liddells, which has given rise to intense speculation and many different theories". We learn that Alice sold the manuscript at Sotheby's in 1928 for pound;15,400, and confessed before she died at 82 that she was "tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does that sound ungrateful?"

The site is a partnership between the British Library (which holds the manuscript), the Museum of Oxford and the South East Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. The multimedia "Journeys to Wonderland" left me swimming in the Pool of Tears, with the key to the promised Flash-delivered games out of reach after several attempts. But no doubt others will have more success chasing after the White cyber-Rabbit. If you don't, the historical sections and guide to Oxford landmarks are accessible and fun.

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