Alicious objects: Believing in six impossible things before breakfast; Or reading Alice nostologically

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While Lewis Carroll's stories of Alice, as well as his photography, have long been understood, and rightly so, as an attachment to childhood, especially girlhood, what happens when we read Alice geriatrically? This essay reads Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, not as a nostalgic yearning for childhood, but as a yearning for agedness. "Alicious Objects" makes good a word that has not yet made it into our current vocabulary: nostology. Nostology is another word for gerontology, but with the ring of nostalgia. At the heart of this investigation is Carroll's old and forgetful White Queen, whom he based on a character, seemingly plagued with Alzheimer's, from Wilkie Collins' 1862 novel No Name. Through the lens ofthe elder, it turns out that Carroll is less about childhood than we mayhave previously understood. Using Carroll's nonsense writing as a springboard, "Alicious Objects" playfully engages with a range of images: including photographs of the real Alice (Alice Liddell) as well as works by such contemporary artists as Ann Hamiltion, Sally Mann, Olivier Richon and Rosemarie Trockel. This is an effort to undo ageism, to see nostology as forward thinking, to make growing old, and even loving the old, less shameful ". © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-66
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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