Alice in space


This course is finished. You can read reports of the two fascinating talks on our Blog, here.


Saturday 25 February 2017, 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Price: £45.00. Tea and coffee provided.
Venue: Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP
Bookings here.

Come and celebrate the publication of Gillian Beer's new book, Alice in Space. With Gillian Beer and Zoe Jaques. Discover the vibrant intellectual world of Lewis Carroll: from eggs to evolution, corkscrews to classification, Anglo-Saxon attitudes, feasting and riddling along the way.


Gillian Beer will discuss the sideways Victorian world of Lewis Carroll, exploring his lively interest in the intellectual debates of his time. In the Alice books, arguments about evolution, education and logic, dialogues and dream theory, are transformed as parody and play. Carroll releases children from an authoritarian world where the human is always the privileged exception. And where adults always have the answer. In this new world every thing – cat, queen, egg, door, mock turtle, Time or child – has an opinion and can speak.

Zoe Jaques will talk about Alice among the Animals. Lewis Carroll's Alice books are celebrated as works of whimsy, free of any moral or lesson. Yet the stories are also deeply invested in what one might call 'the animal question', or the ethical relationship between humans and other beings in a moral environment. Zoe's talk will explore how Carroll's deep personal interest in animal rights emerges in his playful tales. There is a philosophy in Alice that aligns as much with modern views of the subjectivity of animals as it does with mid-nineteenth-century questions about the rights of man.

Each lecture is followed by questions and discussion.

A unique opportunity to hear new ideas from leading Carroll scholars, along with a superb student actor, Adam Mirsky, reading a selection of favourite Alice scenes and poetry by Lewis Carroll.

Bookings here.

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Gillian Beer

Professor Dame Gillian Beer is retired Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge and former President of Clare Hall. Her many books include George EliotDarwin’s PlotsArguing with the PastVirginia Woolf: The Common GroundOpen Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter and Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll. She edited the first collected and annotated edition of Carroll’s poems: Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense: Collected Poems (Penguin Classics).

Gillian Beer recently published an essay on Alice in Nature, 17 November 2016: read here

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Zoe Jaques

Zoe Jaques is a Fellow of Homerton College and Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her publications include Children’s Literature and the Posthuman, a co-authored book on the publishing history of the Alice books, and articles on Charles Kingsley, Lewis Carroll, and J. R. R. Tolkien.