Epic Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Homeric Tradition

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alyssa Caswell Mimbs (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Jill Ehnenn

Abstract: The purpose of this project was to reveal Lewis Carroll’s famous children’s novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There to be an attempt by the author to write a Victorian mock-heroic epic, one that is based largely on Homer’s Odyssey. Using a great deal of documented biographical information, it is evident that Carroll had more than just the expected education with Classical studies. By reading the two Alice novels as one story and setting them in comparison to Homer’s Odyssey, it is possible to find a great deal of similarities between the experiences of the two heroes and various characters throughout each narrative. Further exploration reveals that Carroll’s works include many structural techniques that support a poetic or oral telling of the story and all of the dominant themes that appear are also significant in the Odyssey. Conclusions reveal that literary genres as we know them are not nearly as rigid or uniform as they appear, as a work such as Carroll’s can be long known as the epitome of one genre, and then turn out to have so much in common with a quite different and much older genre.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Mimbs, A.C. (2012). Epic Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Homeric Tradition. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2012
Keywords
Lewis Carroll, Homer, Epic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass