3 of 25: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

As well as being an actor I am also a literature scholar (or as I like to call it, a qualified bookworm) having studied English Literature for my undergraduate degree. I knew, back in Sixth Form, that I wanted to study English for my bachelor’s as opposed to Drama or Theatre Studies – there was a method to my madness, but I won’t bore you with all the details. So, as I began Year 12, I did what many prospective literature undergraduates do – I started reading a sh*tton of books!

One of these books included Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which proved to be something of a revelation to me at 16 years of age. It had never been read to me as a child, and I had never taken an interest in the Disney 1951 animated adaptation, as my childhood interests drew me to dinosaurs and nature documentaries instead. So I came to the world of Wonderland a little later than most as I did my best to cover the 19th Century literary canon in the mad dash towards university applications.

In a way, I am glad that I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a mature adolescent – the Victorian prose was not nearly as daunting as it could be for a younger, less patient child, and I could enjoy the craft of the novel more as I prepared to dedicate myself to three years of literary study in higher education. The dreamlike quality to Carroll’s narrative, the strange whimsy and the earnest clarity of Alice’s character – I was enthralled by this book. There is something so unique about the Alice stories, something which has never quite been captured before or since in literature.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired me as a writer and as a creative, with Carroll’s weird and wonderful characters being something of an inspirational feast for my actor’s brain. There is something irresistible about the grotesques and creatures Lewis Carroll conjures up, and even 153 years since its publication, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland still manages to captivate and inspire.