Source of legend and lyric, reference and conjecture, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
is, for most children, pure pleasure in prose. While adults try to decipher Lewis Carroll's putative use of complex mathematical codes in the text, or debate his alleged use of opium, young readers simply dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, pursuing "The dream-child moving through a land / Of wonders wild and new". There they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle and the Mad Hatter, together with a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser", seemingly without moral or sense.
For more than 130 years, children have revelled in the delightfully non-moralistic, non-educational virtues of this classic. In fact, at every turn Alice's new companions scoff at her traditional education. The Mock Turtle, for example, remarks that he took the "regular course" in school: Reeling, Writhing and branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision. Carroll believed John Tenniel's illustrations were as important as his text. Naturally, Carroll's instincts were good; the masterful drawings, reproduced here, are inextricably tied to the well-loved story. (All ages)
'It takes hubris to reinterpret artist John Tenniel's original vision of Alice's journey. Enter the so-called "Mad Hatter of Canadian Graphic Arts," engraver George Walker, who began the project as a student twenty years ago. Tender and dark at the same time, these extraordinary woodcuts reflect their maker's youthful energy. An introduction by Alberto Manguel says it best: "Glimpses, snapshots, details of larger scenes tell of Walker's reading, a reading that follows Alice's frantic pace, far from Victorian sobriety, from madness to greater madness." Both Alice's story and these remarkable illustrations communicate on many levels. Ages nine to twelve.' ForeWord Magazine 'Walker is an artist of many talents and media -- and many contradictions. A figurative artist, he is interested in illuminating abstractions cast up from his unconscious. Literate and articulate, he expresses complex thoughts and ideas in singular images. He published a book without text, letting the images carry the narrative. A generous nature can give way suddenly to a disquisition on social inequality that he also translates into the grammar of picture making. There is a startling muteness and directness to his pictures, yet they are intended to effect change, often in the immediate world around him, or in the viewer's perceptions of the world around them. The technical dimension of his artistic practice is privileged and apparent in the work, yet the art far exceeds material, method and process. His art is often grounded in the process of automatism, allowing for the unconscious to speak directly and spontaneously in images, even as his technique embraces the painstaking and precise nomenclature of wood engraving, block printing and bookbinding. The immediacy of his messages and their meanings are the product of careful rendering, circumspection and consideration.' -- Tom Smart Devil's Artisan The Porcupine's Quill has just released a wonderful new edition of Alice in Wonderland lavishly illustrated with wood engravings by George Walker and with a new introduction by Alberto Manguel. Following in the tradition of the Cheshire Cat Press edition published nearly 25 years ago by Bill Poole, George Walker and Joseph Brabant (one of the finest examples of a Canadian private press book), the story is as beautiful woven through the illustrations and design as it is through the magical words we are all familiar with. -- Richard, Bytown Bookshop Walker's edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Cheshire Cat Press, 1988) announced forcefully his precocious talents as a printmaker and book artist. His enormously expressive woodcut illustrations paired with master letterpress publisher Bill Poole's sensitive handling of type, printing and binding, comprised one of the finest hand-printed volumes ever produced in Canada. Alice has just been issued in a trade edition paperback by Porcupine's Quill in Erin, Ont. -- Tom Smart "The great Canadian (graphic) novel", Telegraph-Journal 'The classic Alice in Wonderland is known by all, but the story is off the wall enough that one's interpretation may be different from another's. Alice Adventure's in Wonderland: Wood Engravings is George A. Walker's own take with woodcuts as he illustrates Carroll's famed story. Showing a unique skill in his interpretation, he captures a charm that's been lost with the decline of woodcuts, and makes for a unique journey. Alice's Adventure in Wonderland is a must for any fan of the story and unique art styles.' Midwest Book Review 'Fanciful and eccentric, [George A. Walker's] engravings cast Lewis Carroll's classic fantasy fiction in a darker more sinister hue that will appeal to the inner child of many mature readers.' -- Robert Reid The Record