Monday, July 2, 2012

A Very Edgy Alice In A Very Weird Wonderland

By Stephen J. Gertz

Alice doesn't live here anymore. 

At least, not in Wonderland as imagined by John Tenniel in his original illustrations for Lewis Carroll's classics about the curious domain found on the far end of the rabbit hole and through the looking glass.

Glimmers of bondage, sexual hegemony, and voyeurism with fetish as relish are condiments that season a two-volume, in French and English edition of Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass illustrated by Dutch-born artist, Pat Andrea. Published in France in 2006, it is now available through Ken Sanders Rare Books by special arrangement with the publisher.

With his fully-realized reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll's two Wonderland volumes, Andrea turns the story on its head to present a protean Alice with an attitude absent from traditional Alice illustration.

It's precocious Alice in 21st century Wonderland, a virgin touched and never the same. Think Britney Spears from Disney to fishnets and Baby One More Time. Oops, she did it again, confounding our expectations and opening our eyes as she journeys through a transmogrified Wonderland, a realm of the sensuous. It's 3 AM at Hef's place, the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles, as imagined by David Hockney on LSD.

The work of painter Pat Andrea, born in 1942 in Den Haag, Netherlands and now living in Paris and Buenos Aires, has achieved international success. With over eighty international exhibitions of his work, including at The Hague and the Centre Pompidou, and four retrospectives on his forty-year career, he presently teaches in France. He has been justifiably hailed as a modern master of magical realism. 

As written by Lewis Carroll, the Alice books present dreamlike and nightmarish fantasy, lack of logic, and bizarre characters. As illustrated by Pat Andrea, the books present a dreamlike and nightmarish fantasy, lack of logic, and bizarre characters that would have scared the bejesus out of Carroll but that Freud would have recognized.

Imagined by Andrea, this is one little girl that Anglican deacon Charles Lutwidge Dodgson would have never photographed in his Oxford studio. She might have innocently come on to him and thrown him into a terminal tizzy blubbering "jabberwocky, jabberwocky, jabberwocky, jabberwocky" until gently led away by the men in white coats for sedation and recovery in a Victorian sanitarium.

Heavens! We weren't in Kansas to begin with and we're surely not in Kansas anymore, certainly not now. This is Wonderland as Times Square before New York's Mayor Bloomberg sanitized it for our protection and turned it into Disney World.

Is that a hot dog on your head, Tweedle-Dum,
or are you just glad to see us?

This edition is a stunning addition to the Alice canon, a fresh and provocative vision.

CARROLL, Lewis.  Les Aventures d'Alice au pays des Merveilles et De l'autre cote du mirroir et de ce qu'Alice y trouva [Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There].  Paris: Diane de Selliers, 2006.  

First edition thus.  Oblong quarto [27 cm by 32 cm].  Two hardcover volumes in slipcase with prospectus.  Dual language edition (French and English) translated into French by Henri Parisot. Illustrations by Pat Andrea.

You may order here.

All images courtesy of Ken Sanders Rare Books, with our thanks and with a nod and a wink to Melissa Sanders.

1 comment:

  1. check out Trevor Brown's version:


Subscribe to BOOKTRYST by Email