Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Book Watch
by Fran Haraway

Alice I Have Been
by Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin was prompted to write a novel about Alice Liddell, the model for the main character in Alice in Wonderland, when she saw a photograph of ten-year-old Alice costumed as a gypsy beggar girl. It was a portrait which, according to Benjamin, “. . . stopped me in my tracks.

She was so adult, so frank, so worldly as she gazed at the man behind the camera.” That man was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, a family friend and mathematics professor at Oxford University where Alice’s father held the prestigious position of dean. Dodgson was often the companion of Alice and her two sisters, taking them on picnics, boat excursions and enjoying other popular Victorian pastimes until, for an unknown reason, Alice’s mother cut off the relationship entirely. We can speculate as to why this happened - Alice and Dodgson did have an unusually close relationship - but there is no extant proof, and the author, sticking very close to Alice’s life, doesn’t offer gossip as fact. The break was only alluded to once in a letter written to Alice by her sister, Ina, who had told their mother that Dodgson was too affectionate toward Alice.

Alice Pleasance Liddell grew up to marry Reginald Hargreaves and have three sons. The Great War was devastating to the Hargreaves family, but Alice, determined to save her home, Cuffnells, decided to sell her most precious possession, her copy of Alice’s Adventures Underground which appeared in print as Alice in Wonderland. In the course of her travels she visited Columbia University to receive an honorary doctorate, and while she was there she had a conversation with a young man named Peter Lewellyn-Davies. She told him, “. . . I’ve had a great many other things happen to me in my life - a great many. But Alice is what people will want to remember. Not all the rest.” The younger man readily agreed with that assessment because he too had been befriended by an author, then immortalized. Peter Llewellyn-Davies admitted to Alice Hargreaves, “I do get tired of being Peter Pan.”

To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org




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