3 vols., 4to, (285 x 225 mm), 2656 pages; cloth-bound.
This is the most extensive analysis ever done of translations of any single English language novel. On 4 October 1866 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson/Lewis Carroll wrote to his publisher Macmillan stating "Friends here [in Oxford] seem to think that the book is untranslatable." But his friends were wrong, as this book shows with translations in 174 languages.
The first translations of Alice in Wonderland were into German and French, just a few years after the first English edition in 1865. Translations into virtually every European language followed including all six Celtic languages and six languages of Spain. The Indian sub-continent is represented by twelve languages and Africa by eight including Zulu, Seychelles Creole, and Swahili. There are translations in three Jewish languages and a number from the Middle East.
Prof. Zongxin Feng of Tsinghua University in Beijing, who writes about the 463 Chinese editions, says "Of all Western literary masterpieces introduced into China in the twentieth century, no other work has enjoyed such popularity." The book is also published in Mongolia, Lao, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Editions exist in Maori of New Zealand and Pitjantjatjara, an Aboriginal language of Australia. Five Pacific Island languages are represented. There is even one in Brazilian Sign Language.
The first volume contains general essays and essays about each language's translations. In volume two the same eight pages from Chapter VII, "A Mad Tea-Party" are translated back into English so one can compare how translators went about dealing with Lewis Carroll's nonsense, homophones and twists of meaning. Volume three is a checklist of 174 languages and over 9,000 editions and reprints of Alice and the sequel Through the Looking-Glass.
Alice in a World of Wonderlands is copiously illustrated, with 127 book covers reproduced in colour and another 164 in black and white.
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