Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Illustrated by Salvador Dalí in 1969, Finally Gets Reissued

On can­vas and paper, Sal­vador Dalí cre­at­ed appar­ent­ly non­sen­si­cal real­i­ties that nev­er­the­less oper­at­ed accord­ing to log­ic all their own; in writ­ing, Lewis Car­roll, author of Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land, did the very same. It thus only makes sense, despite their dif­fer­ences in nation­al­i­ty and sen­si­bil­i­ty as well as their bare­ly over­lap­ping life spans, that their artis­tic worlds — one with its grotesque­ly mis­shapen objects, obscure sym­bols, and haunt­ing­ly emp­ty vis­tas, the oth­er full of word­play, whim­sy, and math­e­mat­ics — would one day col­lide. It hap­pened in 1969, when an edi­tor at Ran­dom House com­mis­sioned the mas­ter sur­re­al­ist to cre­ate illus­tra­tions for an exclu­sive edi­tion of Car­rol­l’s time­less sto­ry for the house­’s book-of-the-month club.

“Dalí cre­at­ed twelve heli­ogravures — a fron­tispiece, which he signed in every copy from the edi­tion, and one illus­tra­tion for each chap­ter of the book,” writes Brain Pick­ings’ Maria Popo­va. “For more than half a cen­tu­ry, this unusu­al yet organ­ic cross-pol­li­na­tion of genius remained an almost myth­ic arti­fact, reserved for col­lec­tors and schol­ars,” until Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Press saw fit to reprint it for Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land’s 150th anniver­sary (much as Taschen recent­ly reis­sued Dalí’s bizarre cook­book Les Din­ers de Gala).  Sweet­en­ing the deal still fur­ther, they’ve includ­ed essays by math­e­mati­cian and Dalí col­lab­o­ra­tor Thomas Ban­choff as well as Lewis Car­roll Soci­ety of North Amer­i­ca pres­i­dent Mark Burstein.

“Although the out­ra­geous­ness of Rev­erend Charles Lutwidge Dodg­son, who came up with the pen name Lewis Car­roll in 1856, was limned with­in a con­ven­tion­al fairy tale,” writes Burstein, “the sur­re­al­ists delib­er­ate­ly sought out­rage and provo­ca­tion in their art and lives and ques­tioned the nature of real­i­ty. For both Car­roll and the sur­re­al­ists, what some call mad­ness could be per­ceived by oth­ers as wis­dom.” He describes sur­re­al­is­m’s ini­tial objec­tive as mak­ing “acces­si­ble to art the realms of the uncon­scious, the irra­tional, and the imag­i­nary, and its influ­ence soon went far beyond the visu­al arts and lit­er­a­ture, embrac­ing music, film, the­ater, phi­los­o­phy, and pop­u­lar cul­ture. As have the Alice books.” And with so many realms of the uncon­scious, the irra­tional, and the imag­i­nary left to explore, this inter­sec­tion of Car­roll and Dalí’s dif­fer­ent yet com­pat­i­ble meth­ods of explo­ration should hold more appeal than ever.

You can find copies of the Prince­ton reis­sue of Dalí’s Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Tarot Card Deck Designed by Sal­vador Dalí

Sal­vador Dalí’s 1973 Cook­book Gets Reis­sued: Sur­re­al­ist Art Meets Haute Cui­sine

Sal­vador Dalí’s Avant-Garde Christ­mas Cards

Behold Lewis Carroll’s Orig­i­nal Hand­writ­ten & Illus­trat­ed Man­u­script for Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land (1864)

See Ralph Steadman’s Twist­ed Illus­tra­tions of Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land on the Story’s 150th Anniver­sary

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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