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Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (also known as Alice Through the Looking-Glass or simply Through the Looking-Glass) is an 1871 novel by Lewis Carroll and the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Alice again enters a fantastical world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. There she finds that, just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic (e.g. running helps you remain stationary, walking away from something brings you towards it, chessmen are alive, nursery rhyme characters exist, etc.).
It was the first of the "Alice" stories to gain widespread popularity, and prompted a newfound appreciation for its prequel when it was published.
Chapter One - Looking-Glass House: Alice is playing with a white kitten (whom she calls "Snowdrop") and a black kitten (whom she calls "Kitty") when she ponders what the world is like on the other side of a mirror's reflection. Climbing up onto the fireplace mantel, she pokes at the wall-hung mirror behind the fireplace and discovers, to her surprise, that she is able to step through it to an alternative world. In this reflected version of her own house, she finds a book with looking-glass poetry, "Jabberwocky", whose reversed printing she can read only by holding it up to the mirror. She also observes that the chess pieces have come to life, though they remain small enough for her to pick up.
Alice entering the looking-glass.
Chapter Two - The Garden of Live Flowers: Upon leaving the house (where it had been a cold, snowy night), she enters a sunny spring garden where the flowers can speak; they perceive Alice as being a "flower that can move about". Elsewhere in the garden, Alice meets the Red Queen, who is now human-sized, and who impresses Alice with her ability to run at breathtaking speeds.
Chapter Three - Looking-Glass Insects: The Red Queen reveals to Alice that the entire countryside is laid out in squares, like a gigantic chessboard, and offers to make Alice a queen if she can move all the way to the eighth rank/row in a chess match. Alice is placed in the second rank as one of the White Queen'spawns, and begins her journey across the chessboard by boarding a train that jumps over the third row and directly into the fourth rank, thus acting on the rule that pawns can advance two spaces on their first move. She arrives in a forest where a depressed gnat teaches her about the looking glass insects, strange creatures part bug part object (e.g., bread and butterfly, rocking horse fly), before flying away sadly. Alice continues her journey and along the way, crosses the "wood where things have no names". There she forgets all nouns, including her own name. With the help of a fawn who has also forgotten his identity, she makes it to the other side, where they both remember everything. Realizing that he is a fawn, she is a human, and that fawns are afraid of humans, it runs off (to Alice's frustration).
Alice meeting Tweedledum (centre) and Tweedledee (right)
Chapter Four - Tweedledum and Tweedledee: She then meets the fat twin brothers Tweedledum and Tweedledee, whom she knows from the nursery rhyme. After reciting the long poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", they draw Alice's attention to the Red King--loudly snoring away under a nearby tree--and maliciously provoke her with idle philosophical banter that she exists only as an imaginary figure in the Red King's dreams. Finally, the brothers begin suiting up for battle, only to be frightened away by an enormous crow, as the nursery rhyme about them predicts.
The Red King dreaming
Chapter Five - Wool and Water: Alice next meets the White Queen, who is very absent-minded but boasts of (and demonstrates) her ability to remember future events before they have happened. Alice and the White Queen advance into the chessboard's fifth rank by crossing over a brook together, but at the very moment of the crossing, the Queen transforms into a talking Sheep in a small shop. Alice soon finds herself struggling to handle the oars of a small rowboat, where the Sheep annoys her with (seemingly) nonsensical shouting about "crabs" and "feathers".
Chapter Six - Humpty Dumpty: After crossing yet another brook into the sixth rank, Alice immediately encounters Humpty Dumpty, who, besides celebrating his unbirthday, provides his own translation of the strange terms in "Jabberwocky". In the process, he introduces Alice to the concept of portmanteau words, before his inevitable fall.
The White Knight
Chapter Seven - The Lion and the Unicorn: "All the king's horses and all the king's men" come to Humpty Dumpty's assistance, and are accompanied by the White King, along with the Lion and the Unicorn, who again proceed to act out a nursery rhyme by fighting with each other. In this chapter, the March Hare and Hatter of the first book make a brief re-appearance in the guise of "Anglo-Saxon messengers" called "Haigha" and "Hatta".
Chapter Eight - "It's my own Invention": Upon leaving the Lion and Unicorn to their fight, Alice reaches the seventh rank by crossing another brook into the forested territory of the Red Knight, who is intent on capturing the "white pawn"--Alice--until the White Knight comes to her rescue. Escorting her through the forest towards the final brook-crossing, the Knight recites a long poem of his own composition called Haddocks' Eyes, and repeatedly falls off his horse.
Chapter Nine - Queen Alice: Bidding farewell to the White Knight, Alice steps across the last brook, and is automatically crowned a queen, with the crown materialising abruptly on her head (a reference to pawn promotion). She soon finds herself in the company of both the White and Red Queens, who relentlessly confound Alice by using word play to thwart her attempts at logical discussion. They then invite one another to a party that will be hosted by the newly crowned Alice--of which Alice herself had no prior knowledge.
Chapter Ten - Shaking: Alice arrives and seats herself at her own party, which quickly turns into chaos. Alice finally grabs the Red Queen, believing her to be responsible for all the day's nonsense, and begins shaking her.
Chapter Eleven - Waking: Alice awakes in her armchair to find herself holding the black kitten, who she deduces to have been the Red Queen all along, with the white kitten having been the White Queen.
Chapter Twelve - Which dreamed it?: The story ends with Alice recalling the speculation of the Tweedle brothers, that everything may have been a dream of the Red King, and that Alice might herself be no more than a figment of his imagination. The book ends with the line "Life, what is it but a dream?"
One of the key motifs of Through the Looking-Glass is that of mirrors, including the use of opposites, time running backwards, and so on, not to mention the title of the book itself. In fact, the themes and settings of the book make it somewhat of a mirror image to its predecessor, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The first book begins in the warm outdoors, on the 4th of May;[a] uses frequent changes in size as a plot device; and draws on the imagery of playing cards. The second book, however, opens indoors on a snowy, wintry night exactly six months later, on the 4th of November (the day before Guy Fawkes Night);[b] uses frequent changes in time and spatial directions as a plot device; and draws on the imagery of chess.
Lewis Carroll's diagram of the story as a chess game
Whereas the first book has the deck of playing cards as a theme, Through the Looking-Glass is based on a game of chess, played on a giant chessboard with fields for squares. Most of the main characters are represented by a chess piece, with Alice being a pawn.
The looking-glass world is divided into sections by brooks or streams, with the crossing of each brook usually signifying a change in the scene, and corresponding to Alice advancing by one square. Furthermore, since the brook-crossings do not always correspond to the beginning and ends of chapters, most editions of the book visually represent the crossings by breaking the text with several lines of asterisks ( * * * ). The sequence of moves (white and red) is not always followed. The most extensive treatment of the chess motif in Carroll's novel is provided in Glen Downey's 1998 dissertation The Truth About Pawn Promotion: The Development of the Chess Motif in Victorian Fiction.
The White Queen offers to hire Alice as her lady's maid and to pay her "twopence a week, and jam every other day." Alice says that she doesn't want any jam today, to which the Queen replies, "you couldn't have it if you did want it. The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day." This is a reference to the rule in Latin that the word iam or jam--which means now, in the sense of already or at that time--cannot be used to describe now in the present, which is nunc in Latin. Therefore, "jam" is never available today. This exchange is also a demonstration of the logical fallacy of equivocation.
Lewis Carroll decided to suppress a scene involving what was described as "a wasp in a wig" (possibly a play on the commonplace expression "bee in the bonnet"). A biography of Carroll, written by Carroll's nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, suggests that one of the reasons for this suppression was a suggestion from his illustrator, John Tenniel, who wrote in a letter to Carroll dated 1 June 1870:
I am bound to say that the 'wasp' chapter doesn't interest me in the least, and I can't see my way to a picture. If you want to shorten the book, I can't help thinking - with all submission - that there is your opportunity.
For many years, no one had any idea what this missing section was or whether it had survived. In 1974, a document purporting to be the galley proofs of the missing section was auctioned at Sotheby's; the catalogue description, in part, read, "the proofs were bought at the sale of the author's...personal effects...Oxford, 1898." The document would be won by John Fleming, a Manhattan book dealer, for a bid of about US$832 (equivalent to $4,313 in 2019). The contents were subsequently published in Martin Gardner's More Annotated Alice (1990), and is also available as a hardback book.
The rediscovered section describes Alice's encounter with a wasp wearing a yellow wig, and includes a full previously unpublished poem. If included in the book, it would have followed, or been included at the end of, Chapter 8 - the chapter featuring the encounter with the White Knight. The discovery is generally accepted as genuine, but the proofs have yet to receive any physical examination to establish age and authenticity.
Alice in the Land in the Other Side of the Mirror (1982) is a 38-minute Soviet cutout-animated TV film produced by Kievnauchfilm studio and directed by Yefrem Pruzhanskiy. Despite its translated name, the film's original, Russian title is ? ?, 'Alice in Wonderland'.
A 2-hour multimedia stage production (2007), conceived by Andy Burden, was produced by the Tobacco Factory. The show would be directed by Burden and written by Hattie Naylor, with music and lyrics by Paul Dodgson.
The animated Alice in Wonderland (1951) is the 13th animated feature film of Walt Disney and the most famous among all direct adaptions of Carroll's work. The film features several elements from Through the Looking-Glass, including the talking flowers, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, and "The Walrus and the Carpenter".
Alice in Wonderland (1985) is a two-part TV musical produced by Irwin Allen that covers both books, and stars Natalie Gregory as Alice. In this adaptation, the Jabberwock materialises into reality after Alice reads "Jabberwocky", pursuing her throughought the second half of the musical.
Alice in Wonderland (1999), a made-for-TV Hallmark/NBC film with Tina Majorino as Alice, uses elements from Through the Looking Glass, such as the talking flowers, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, and "The Walrus and the Carpenter", as well as the chess theme, including the snoring Red King and White Knight.
Alice (2009) is a Syfy TV miniseries that contains elements from both novels.
A 2-part production by Iris Theatre in London was staged in the summer of 2013, in which the second part consisted of Through the Looking-Glass. Both parts included Laura Wickham in the role of Alice.
Alice (2010), written by Laura Wade, was a modern adaptation of both books that premiered at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 2010.
Wonder.land (2015), a live musical by Moira Buffini and Damon Albarn, takes some characters from the second novel, notably Dum and Dee and Humpty Dumpty, while the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen are merged into one character.
^During the "Mad Tea-Party", Alice reveals that the date is "the fourth" and that the month is "May" (chap.7).
^In the first chapter, Alice speaks of the snow outside and the "bonfire" that "the boys" are building for a celebration "to-morrow," a clear reference to the traditional bonfires of Guy Fawkes Night that take place on the 5th of November. In Chapter 5, she affirms that her age is "seven and a half exactly."