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Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (original 1871; edition 1984)

by Lewis Carroll

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4,698941,009 (3.99)2 / 182
Member:williamawright
Title:Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Authors:Lewis Carroll
Info:Alfred A. Knopf, New York;
Collections:Classics & Great Books, Read, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Read

Work details

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (1871)

  1. 20
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (SilentInAWay)
    SilentInAWay: Juster's witty wordplay is in the same league as Carroll's
  2. 00
    Reckless by Cornelia Funke (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Both books use a mirror as a portal to another world where everyday things and ideas become reversed and distorted.
  3. 01
    Gambit by Rex Stout (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two books centered on a chess game
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WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Alice sits in her armchair at home, drowsily watching her pet kitten, Kitty, as she unravels a ball of string. She snatches Kitty up and begins telling her about “Looking-Glass House,” an imaginary world on the other side of the mirror where everything is backward. Alice suddenly finds herself on the mantelpiece and steps through the mirror into Looking-Glass House. On the other side of the mirror, Alice discovers a room similar to her own but with several strange differences. The chessmen stand in the fireplace in pairs, oblivious to Alice’s presence. She comes to the aid of the White Queen’s daughter, Lily, but realizes that the chess pieces cannot see her. Alice becomes distracted by a book on the shelf, in which she reads a nonsensical poem entitled “Jabberwocky.” Frustrated by the strange poem, she sets off to explore the rest of the house.

Alice leaves the house and spots a beautiful garden in the distance, but every time she tries to follow the path to the garden she finds herself back at the door to the house. Confused, she wonders aloud how to get to the garden, and to her surprise a Tiger-lily responds. Other flowers join in the conversation, and several of them start to insult Alice. Alice learns from the flowers that the Red Queen is nearby, and Alice sets off to meet her. Alice meets the Red Queen, and the two engage in conversation, but the Red Queen constantly corrects Alice’s etiquette. Alice looks out over a field, sees a great game of chess in progress, and tells the Red Queen that she would like to join. The Red Queen tells Alice she can stand in as a White Pawn and marks a course for Alice, explaining that when she reaches the end of the game, Alice will become a Queen.

Alice inexplicably finds herself on a train with a Goat, a Beetle, and a man dressed in white paper. They each nag Alice until the train eventually lurches to a halt. Alice finds herself in a forest, conversing with a chicken sized Gnat, who tells her about the different insects of Looking-Glass World. After learning the names of the insects, Alice sets off again and discovers that she has forgotten the names of things, even her own name. She comes across a Fawn, who has also forgotten the names of things, and the two press on through the forest.

When Alice and the Fawn emerge from the forest, their memories of names come back, and the Fawn runs away in fear of Alice. Alice soldiers on alone until she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, an identical pair of heavyset men. The twins ignore Alice’s repeated requests for directions and recite a poem instead. Tweedledum and Tweedledee notice the Red King sleeping nearby and explain to Alice that she exists only as a figment of the Red King’s dream. Upset at first, Alice decides that the two of them speak nonsense. A fight spontaneously erupts between Tweedledum and Tweedledee over a broken rattle. A giant crow swoops down and interrupts the fight, sending Tweedledum and Tweedledee running.

Alice slips away and encounters the White Queen, who explains that time moves backward in Looking-Glass World. As they speak, the White Queen plasters her finger, then screams in pain, and finally pricks her finger on a brooch. After explaining to Alice that she used to practice the impossible daily, she transforms into a sheep in a shop. The Sheep asks a disoriented Alice what she would like to buy. Though the shop is full of curious things, Alice finds that she cannot fix her eye on any one thing. The Sheep asks Alice if she knows how to row. Before she knows it, Alice finds herself in a boat with the Sheep, rowing down a stream. The boat crashes into something and sends Alice tumbling to the ground. When she stands she finds herself back in the shop. She purchases an egg from the Sheep, who places the egg on a shelf. Alice reaches for the egg and finds herself back in the forest, where the egg has transformed into Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty sits on a wall and criticizes Alice for having a name that doesn’t mean anything, explaining that all names should mean something. Humpty Dumpty treats Alice rudely, boasting that he can change the meanings of words at will. When Alice learns this, she asks Humpty Dumpty to explain the words of the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky” to her. He defines the words of the first stanza and then recites a portion of his own poem. He abruptly bids her goodbye, and Alice storms off, annoyed. All of a sudden, a loud crash shakes the forest and she watches soldiers and horsemen run by.

Alice comes across the White King, who explains to her that he has sent all of his horses and men, presumably to put the shattered Humpty Dumpty back together again. The King’s messenger Haigha approaches and informs them that the Lion and the Unicorn are doing battle in the town. Alice sets off with her new companions toward the town to watch the battle. They catch up with another of the King’s messengers, Hatta, who explains the events of the fight thus far. The Lion and Unicorn stop battling and the White King calls for refreshments to be served. The White King tells Alice to cut the cake, but she finds that every time she slices the cake the pieces fuse back together. The Unicorn instructs Alice that Looking-glass cakes must be passed around first before they are sliced. Alice distributes the cake, but before they begin eating, a great noise interrupts, and when Alice looks up, she finds herself alone again.

The Red Knight gallops up to Alice and takes her as a prisoner. The White Knight arrives at Alice’s side and vanquishes the Red Knight. Alice and the White Knight walk and talk together, and Alice finds a friend in the eccentric chessman. He promises to bring her safely to the last square where she will become a queen. As they walk, he tells her about all of his inventions before sending her off with a song. She crosses the final brook and finds herself sitting on the bank with a crown on her head.

Alice finds herself in the company of the Red Queen and the White Queen, who question her relentlessly before falling asleep in her lap. The sound of their snoring resembles music. The sound is so distracting that Alice doesn’t notice when the two queens disappear. Alice discovers a castle with a huge door marked “QUEEN ALICE.” Alice goes through the door and finds a huge banquet in her honor. She sits and begins eating, but the party quickly devolves into total chaos. Overwhelmed, Alice pulls away the tablecloth and grabs the Red Queen.

Alice wakes up from her dream to find herself holding Kitty. She wonders aloud whether or not her adventures where her own dream or the dream of the Red King. ( )
  bostonwendym | Aug 24, 2016 |
Warning: This review was written late at night, and consequently may contain many things that do not necessarily pertain to this book, or it's quality.
I think I liked this better than 'Alice in Wonderland' I don't know why really, but the books don't make sense, so I don't think my opinions of them should have to either. I will say that, much like Peter Pan, the writing is one of the things that really makes these books for me. Which is probably one of the reasons that I didn't really like either when I first read abridged versions*.
*For a long story/rant on how abridged children's books ruined my life, read the P.S.

P.S. You have no idea how much more sense my childhood makes now that I have read this book. To begin, you really have to go back to when I was about six. My family went on a trip to the beach. We camped, and I remember my Mom was pregnant and mostly stayed on the sand with my one(?) year old sister, while my older sister and I jumped over waves as they came in to the shore. Meanwhile my younger brother was off picking up dead jellyfish that looked like plastic bags, and all those sorts of boy things. It was the only time I've ever been to the beach, so of course I was sick for the last day or two. I specifically remember sitting on a fold-up chair, reading any of about a dozen abridged children's classics bought especially to help pass the driving time, and wallowing in self-pity, as I watched my siblings frolic about collecting sand dollars and seashells in a plastic bucket. During that trip I read 'Alice in Wonderland' for the first time, but being that the actual writing of Alice is one of the main charms, I didn't like it much. The next time I read it I was around eight, and had received another abridged copy from my uncle as a gift. I promptly read it, although I hadn't remembered liking it much, and was surprised to discover that, among other things, the "Shoes and ships and sealing wax" quote, which I thought I had read the first time, was nowhere to be found. I was also confused by the inexplicable absence of Tweedles Dee and Dum, and talking flowers, which I had seen many times in the movie at my grandparent's. Needless to say, I finished the book feeling unfulfilled, and wondering if I was crazy for remembering reading so many things in a book, that obviously hadn't happened. "Ah, well," I thought to myself, "maybe I dreamt it." (which was a surprisingly fitting thing to think, given the premise of the book.)
A few weeks ago, I read the original, unabridged version of Alice in Wonderland, because of the TV show 'Once Upon A Time in Wonderland' After all, I have a hard time watching movies or shows without reading the book first. It was much better this time around, although I did find myself wondering where the Tweedles, and talking flowers, and the Walrus and the Carpenter had come from. You know, wether they were a figment of Walt Disney's imagination, or found somewhere else. That's when I discovered 'Through the Looking Glass' Which I had always known existed, but never really knew wether it was an alternate name or a sequel, and hadn't cared enough to find out. The book does NOT take place in Wonderland by the way, and now it will forever bug me whenever a Wonderland in anything contains characters from this book. I mean, really, get it together. Sheesh. Anyway, what I have realized while reading this book, is that many people do condense 'Through the Looking Glass' into their adaptation of 'Alice in Wonderland' Which was what happened to the first Alice I read.

No.

I don't think you understand.

I thought I was crazy for a very long time, because I distinctly remembered reading things in abridged books that, after reading the original, discovered hadn't ever happened.

This happened a lot.

How many abridged books with sequels have I read? How many books am I going to have to re-read, just so I can read the sequel in context? Why on earth did my first Alice not specify that it included things from the sequel?
On a positive note, I now know that my madness is a more recent development than I had previously thought. I also know that you are a very patient, and probably very bored person, if you have reached the end of this rather long history/tirade, and I apologize for airing my problems on the Internet, but I wrote this review late at night when it seemed fine to post it, so whatever. What's done is done is done is..... Well, I'm done anyway ( )
  theliteraryelephant | Aug 11, 2016 |
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Alice sits in her armchair at home, drowsily watching her pet kitten, Kitty, as she unravels a ball of string. She snatches Kitty up and begins telling her about “Looking-Glass House,” an imaginary world on the other side of the mirror where everything is backward. Alice suddenly finds herself on the mantelpiece and steps through the mirror into Looking-Glass House. On the other side of the mirror, Alice discovers a room similar to her own but with several strange differences. The chessmen stand in the fireplace in pairs, oblivious to Alice’s presence. She comes to the aid of the White Queen’s daughter, Lily, but realizes that the chess pieces cannot see her. Alice becomes distracted by a book on the shelf, in which she reads a nonsensical poem entitled “Jabberwocky.” Frustrated by the strange poem, she sets off to explore the rest of the house.

Alice leaves the house and spots a beautiful garden in the distance, but every time she tries to follow the path to the garden she finds herself back at the door to the house. Confused, she wonders aloud how to get to the garden, and to her surprise a Tiger-lily responds. Other flowers join in the conversation, and several of them start to insult Alice. Alice learns from the flowers that the Red Queen is nearby, and Alice sets off to meet her. Alice meets the Red Queen, and the two engage in conversation, but the Red Queen constantly corrects Alice’s etiquette. Alice looks out over a field, sees a great game of chess in progress, and tells the Red Queen that she would like to join. The Red Queen tells Alice she can stand in as a White Pawn and marks a course for Alice, explaining that when she reaches the end of the game, Alice will become a Queen.

Alice inexplicably finds herself on a train with a Goat, a Beetle, and a man dressed in white paper. They each nag Alice until the train eventually lurches to a halt. Alice finds herself in a forest, conversing with a chicken sized Gnat, who tells her about the different insects of Looking-Glass World. After learning the names of the insects, Alice sets off again and discovers that she has forgotten the names of things, even her own name. She comes across a Fawn, who has also forgotten the names of things, and the two press on through the forest.

When Alice and the Fawn emerge from the forest, their memories of names come back, and the Fawn runs away in fear of Alice. Alice soldiers on alone until she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, an identical pair of heavyset men. The twins ignore Alice’s repeated requests for directions and recite a poem instead. Tweedledum and Tweedledee notice the Red King sleeping nearby and explain to Alice that she exists only as a figment of the Red King’s dream. Upset at first, Alice decides that the two of them speak nonsense. A fight spontaneously erupts between Tweedledum and Tweedledee over a broken rattle. A giant crow swoops down and interrupts the fight, sending Tweedledum and Tweedledee running.

Alice slips away and encounters the White Queen, who explains that time moves backward in Looking-Glass World. As they speak, the White Queen plasters her finger, then screams in pain, and finally pricks her finger on a brooch. After explaining to Alice that she used to practice the impossible daily, she transforms into a sheep in a shop. The Sheep asks a disoriented Alice what she would like to buy. Though the shop is full of curious things, Alice finds that she cannot fix her eye on any one thing. The Sheep asks Alice if she knows how to row. Before she knows it, Alice finds herself in a boat with the Sheep, rowing down a stream. The boat crashes into something and sends Alice tumbling to the ground. When she stands she finds herself back in the shop. She purchases an egg from the Sheep, who places the egg on a shelf. Alice reaches for the egg and finds herself back in the forest, where the egg has transformed into Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty sits on a wall and criticizes Alice for having a name that doesn’t mean anything, explaining that all names should mean something. Humpty Dumpty treats Alice rudely, boasting that he can change the meanings of words at will. When Alice learns this, she asks Humpty Dumpty to explain the words of the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky” to her. He defines the words of the first stanza and then recites a portion of his own poem. He abruptly bids her goodbye, and Alice storms off, annoyed. All of a sudden, a loud crash shakes the forest and she watches soldiers and horsemen run by.

Alice comes across the White King, who explains to her that he has sent all of his horses and men, presumably to put the shattered Humpty Dumpty back together again. The King’s messenger Haigha approaches and informs them that the Lion and the Unicorn are doing battle in the town. Alice sets off with her new companions toward the town to watch the battle. They catch up with another of the King’s messengers, Hatta, who explains the events of the fight thus far. The Lion and Unicorn stop battling and the White King calls for refreshments to be served. The White King tells Alice to cut the cake, but she finds that every time she slices the cake the pieces fuse back together. The Unicorn instructs Alice that Looking-glass cakes must be passed around first before they are sliced. Alice distributes the cake, but before they begin eating, a great noise interrupts, and when Alice looks up, she finds herself alone again.

The Red Knight gallops up to Alice and takes her as a prisoner. The White Knight arrives at Alice’s side and vanquishes the Red Knight. Alice and the White Knight walk and talk together, and Alice finds a friend in the eccentric chessman. He promises to bring her safely to the last square where she will become a queen. As they walk, he tells her about all of his inventions before sending her off with a song. She crosses the final brook and finds herself sitting on the bank with a crown on her head.

Alice finds herself in the company of the Red Queen and the White Queen, who question her relentlessly before falling asleep in her lap. The sound of their snoring resembles music. The sound is so distracting that Alice doesn’t notice when the two queens disappear. Alice discovers a castle with a huge door marked “QUEEN ALICE.” Alice goes through the door and finds a huge banquet in her honor. She sits and begins eating, but the party quickly devolves into total chaos. Overwhelmed, Alice pulls away the tablecloth and grabs the Red Queen.

Alice wakes up from her dream to find herself holding Kitty. She wonders aloud whether or not her adventures where her own dream or the dream of the Red King. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 18, 2016 |
Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Set about 6 months, Alice again enters a fantastical world, but this time climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. The looking-glass world she enters takes the form of a giant chessboard, the squares divided by hedges and brooks. Nothing is quite what it seems. Carroll explores concepts of mirror imagery, time running backward, and strategies of chess, through stories and characters of the Red and White Queens, the White Knight (who is my favorite character), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Humpty Dumpty and more. The book is full of full of humor, word play, puzzles and rhymes and well as two poems that have taken on a life of their own "Jabberwocky" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter." Though I enjoyed Alice’s Adventure—this sequel was a nice treat—perfect for the whole family. 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jul 15, 2016 |
Once again Alice's adventures capture perfectly the omnipotent imagination of all children.
This will always be one of the many classics of children literature and this story was definitely worthy of that spot. ( )
  FilipaCorreia | Jun 30, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (84 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carroll, Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ingpen, RobertIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
CanaiderIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
尚紀, 柳瀬Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engelsman, SofiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodacre, Selwyn H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, James R.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matsier, NicolaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oxenbury, HelenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peake, MervynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ZadieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steadman, RalphIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tenneil, Sir JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Todd, JustinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it: -- it was the black kitten's fault entirely.
Quotations
One can’t believe impossible things.

I dare say you haven’t had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
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This is an edition of "Through the looking-glass and what Alice found there" only; please don't combine with copies that include other works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140620877, Paperback)

I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole ...without the least idea what was to happen afterwards,' wrote Charles Dodgson, describing how Alice was conjured up one 'golden afternoon' in 1862 to entertain his child-friend Alice Liddell. His dream worlds of nonsensical Wonderland and the back-to-front Looking-Glass kingdom depict order turned upside-down: a baby turns into a pig; time is abandoned at a disordered tea-party; and a chaotic game of chess makes a seven-year-old girl a Queen. But amongst the anarchic humour and sparkling word play, puzzles, paradoxes and riddles, are poignant moments of elegiac nostalgia for lost childhood. Startlingly original and experimental, the Alice books provide readers with a double window on both child and adult worlds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:58 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

After climbing through the mirror in her room, Alice enters a world similar to a chess board where she experiences many curious adventures with its fantastic inhabitants.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 34 descriptions

Legacy Library: Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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23 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

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3 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 140010209X, 140010887X, 1400115752

 

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