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4 Extra Debut. 4th July 1862: On a river trip with the Liddells, Lewis Carroll tells them a story about Alice. Read by Simon Russell Beale.

On 4th July 1862, Lewis Carroll is on a river trip with the three Liddell girls and tells them a fairy-tale about a little girl called Alice.

Read by Simon Russell Beale.

Where did Alice stop and ‘Alice’ begin?

Wonderland is part of our cultural heritage – a shortcut for all that is beautiful and confusing; a metaphor used by artists, writers and politicians for 150 years.

But beneath the fairy tale lies the complex history of the author and his subject. The story of Charles Dodgson the quiet academic, and his second self Lewis Carroll – storyteller, innovator and avid collector of child-friends. And also of his dream-child Alice Liddell, and the fictional alter ego that would never let her grow up.

This is their secret history - one of love and loss, of innocence and ambiguity, and of one man’s need to make Wonderland his refuge in a rapidly changing world.

Drawing on previously unpublished material, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst traces the creation and influence of the Alice books against a shifting cultural landscape – the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood and sexuality, and the tensions inherent in the transition between the Victorian and modern worlds.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in April 2015.

21 days left to listen

15 minutes

Last on

Last Tuesday 02:45

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Reader Simon Russell Beale
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Writer Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

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