One of the best-loved and most scrutinized texts after Shakespeare and the Bible is the brace of Alice books, Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, written for a pair of real Alices by the pseudonymous Lewis Carroll; it would seem implausible that there is any aspect of them left unexamined. Yet there is one large-scale motif running through the two books that has essentially escaped critical attention - the pervasive mediaeval theme. It is remarkable that there seem to have been no previous suggestions for the sources of what is really the main context of the Alice stories, the mediaeval temperament of many of the characters. Much has been made of the Victorian underpinnings of the tales, and they have been analyzed from an impressively diverse range of perspectives. But, for some curious reason, the issue of the deep historical sources of the story lines seems never to have been addressed in the plethora of analyses of the works. How it could have escaped scrutiny, given the prevalence of the mediaeval themes throughout both texts, is difficult to understand, but the present treatment attempts to correct this omission with an extended comparison of numerous aspects of the sequences of events to those of the 12th century royal courts, in particular. 144 pages. Over 100 colour illustrations. Bibliography, index.
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Christopher Tyler is an English visual neuroscientist based in San Francisco with extensive interests in the historical development of ideas. He stumbled onto the issue of the parallel history of the Alice stories through an investigation of the role of women in the European intellectual lineage, such as the founding of universities. His scientific work is focused on the understanding of the human perception of the third dimension, but has ranged from the dynamics of color vision to the diagnosis of medical disorders of the visual system.
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