This fascinating piece about Salvador Dali’s rare illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland grabbed my attention in a fast moving blip, passing through my Twitter stream. Something about the combination of colors and oddly placed lines drew my eyes closer and closer, until I saw enough to make me want to read the article.

I actually first read Alice and Through the Looking Glass as an adult, though I was almost as familiar with many scenes and characters as if I had read them long before, from quotes peppered throughout some books by a favorite old school novelist who was often lumped into the massive genre called romance. Her name was Emilie Loring, and she wrote novels spanning a large swath of the 20th Century. Though they all embodied sweeping romance, I would term them dramas, for their cinematic qualities that made reading them akin to watching the fine old black and white movie masterpieces from the Golden Age of Hollywood. She was fond of scattering quotes from classic literature throughout her prose, which I suspect were the root of my becoming a Dickens fan and wanting to read Carroll as a grownup. I went down the rabbit hole and through Alice’s looking glass looking for the source of the quotes, which enhanced my enjoyment of the books even more.

Dali is not really my cup of Mad Hatter poured tea. My only real knowledge of his work has been his Melting Clocks, which is a bit like wondering if the Mad Hatter was pouring time pieces, as well as tea, on some occasions. I’ve been of the vague opinion that Dali’s paintings are so far into surrealism that my brain can’t quite catch up.

That still holds for these illustrations, though their softer smudgy colors and Alice subject matter render them just over the edge into the realm of charming. Somewhat. I find them confounding, as well as intriguing, as I try to match them to the familiar stories they depict. Dali and Dodgson seem an odd combination at first, but, on further thought, they just may be a match made in the places where  surrealism and Wonderland meet.

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