Alice’s Adventures Under Ground actually came before Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was a tale told to a group of children by Carroll, which was so loved that Lewis hand wrote and illustrated it for them. The manuscript was praised so highly by family members and friends that Carroll decided to rewrite it again and publish the famous novel that we know today.
Taking the original art and text into consideration is immensely important for true study of the novel. Just as we view all of our adaptations in this course in careful consideration of their “parent”, Alice’s Adventure’s Under Ground must be taken the same way.
Carroll’s original illustrations are really something. Almost every page is decorated with a unique picture to depict the action of the story. It’s interesting to see Carroll’s original intent compared to the adaptations created of the story today.
One of the biggest differences between Wonderland and Under Ground is the length. Under Ground is a lot shorter than the revised Wonderland version, however, the plot line for both versions remain nearly the same.
The action in Under Ground moves a lot faster than in Wonderland, which is saying a lot, considering the already fast paced nature of the story.
Other differences come in small doses. For one, Alice plays croquet with an ostrich and not a flamingo in Under Ground. Also, the “Mouse’s Tale” is completely different. Here’s the Wonderland version and then the Under Ground version. I haven’t been able to find any reasoning for this change, however, if I had to guess, I would assume Carroll wished to adapt the poem so that it sounded more like a story.
This manuscript currently resides in the British Library after being presented to them from America in appreciation of their contributions to the second world war. It has been printed and sold in various collections over the years as well. It is definitely an item coveted by true collectors and lovers of Alice.