You would think that Lewis Carroll an English author, mathematician and logician would sit down and write a logical, didactical novel, instead he wrote a novel of the literary nonsense genre. Unusual, is it not? Maybe we should take a closer look at Carroll's “nonsense“ and see why is it considered to be random, senseless, unpredictable, and without rules. Moreover, even justice is not spared of parody, injustice and chaos are logical consequences of living in Wonderland.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a story about a little girl who comes into contact with unpredictable, illogical, basically mad world of Wonderland by following the White Rabbit into a huge rabbit – hole. Everything she experiences there challenges her perception and questions common sense. This extraordinary world is inhabited with peculiar, mystical and anthropomorphic creatures that constantly assault Alice which makes her to question her fundamental beliefs and suffer an identity crisis. Nevertheless, as she woke up from “such a curious dream” she could not help but think “as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been ”.
As I mentioned earlier, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, beside being an English author was a mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer . Carrol created the character of Alice to entertain a daughter of his good friend Dean of Christ Church, little girl named Alice Liddell. The story was first published in 1865.
One of the key characteristics of Carroll's story is his use of language. Consequently, much of the nonsense in Alice has to do with transpositions, either of mathematical scale or in the scrambled verse parodies. As an illustration of mathematical scale transposition here is a quote from the beginning of the book in which Alice multiplies incorrecttly:
Correspondingly, multiple poems that Lewis wrote for the novel are full of scrambled verse parodies of well known Victorian children's books, these verses children were made to memorize and recite . Thus, “How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a parody of Isaac Watts' nursery rhyme, "Against Idleness And Mischief”, The Duchess's lullaby, "Speak roughly to your little boy" is a parody of David Bates' "Speak Gently", "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" is a parody of Jane Taylor's "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "The Lobster Quadrille" is a parody of Mary Botham Howitt's "The Spider and the Fly". There are few more, but these are best – known.