Through the Looking-Glass (First Edition) by Lewis Carroll



2015-06-26 10:27:16

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There is a children’s novel by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). The first edition of this work was printed in 1871 by Macmillan, London. Background

This work was written as a sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It seems to be almost a mirror-image of the first novel, using and subverting much of the imagery and plot devices in the first novel. Like the first, it features a child called Alice, based on Carroll’s girl child friend Alice Liddell. After the publication of the novels, the Liddell family had fallen out with Carroll, and it is possible that his writing of this work was during a time when he was not seeing the Liddell girls, and missing them – hence the wondering if Alice was simply part of the dream of the Red King, symbolising Carroll himself.

Much like the first novel, it was illustrated once again by famed Victorian illustrator John Tenniel.

Plot, Characters, Themes

The story involves the girl Alice from the first book, who again begins this novel quite bored, and climbs through the mirror above the fireplace. She enters another world, similar to that of the first novel, populated by anthropomorphic plants and chess pieces. Time, space and size all change dramatically, such as time running backwards and the chess pieces quite suddenly becoming human sized. It is much like an epic journey across a giant chess board. At the end she awakens, but while this suggests that it was all just a dream, Alice speculates that in fact, she may just be a part of the dream of the Red King whom she met sleeping in the mirror.


Lewis Carroll was an English author and photographer, best known for his nonsense children’s literature.

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

First editions (1871, Macmillan, London) are often sold together with the prequel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

These are worth infinitely more if they retain their original bindings. It is not recommended to restore or rebind them.

First editions were sold by Christie’s with an inscription of ‘Carroll’ AND ‘Dodgson’, for $36,800 in December 1998, a presentation copy from illustrator John Tenniel for £21,600 in November 2005, another presentation copy from illustrator John Tenniel for $40,250 in June 1999, and the presentation copy given to Alice Liddell by Carroll for £57,600 in January 2006.

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