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This review is from: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
These are two of the greatest books ever written. They are, of course, not nonsense. They may have been written for children, but their appeal to any reasonably perceptive adult is so intense that those who have fallen under their spell can practically recite the entire texts of both. In fact, they constitute profoundly penetrating statements, or summaries, of the human condition: physical in Wonderland, and intellectual in Looking-Glass. They do not ramble. Every word, every incident, has been chosen with the utmost precision. Tenniel's illustrations are inspired perfection, and the result of prolonged and dedicated collaboration between author and artist. They will never be improved upon, although many have attempted to replace them with their own images. Wonderland is, in effect, an analysis of the significance and sensations of growth and discovery in the development of a human being, advancing from childhood into adolescence. Starting with the trauma of birth, it describes the experience of adjustment to the world of adults, but succeeds nevertheless in demonstrating that adult society is nothing but a construction of charades --- a house of cards. Looking-Glass raises perennial philosophical questions, such as what is reality? what do words actually mean? what is the nature of time, and identity? Does the world consist of as much anti-matter as matter? It is an extraordinarily compressed summary of the riddles of thought and existence. These works are absolute masterpieces of writing: two of the most sophisticated productions ever penned during the late Victorian era. At the same time they are uniquely readable, witty and amusing.