It is rare for the sequel to a highly creative literary work to surpass the original, but such is the case with Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, which followed Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published six years earlier. For most readers, the two books are so closely entwined that they are considered a unit. Although joined by a common heroine and themes, the characters in the two books are quite distinct. Through the Looking-Glass is perhaps more attractive to adults than to children, for this second fantasy by Carroll (the pen name for the Oxford mathematics lecturer and tutor the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) presents an even more sophisticated puzzle about reality and logic than does the earlier story. In Through the Looking-Glass there is a conscious suggestion of the cruel questions rather more delicately presented in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The books share many characteristics: Each has twelve chapters, and both merge the fairy tale with science. Alice is seven years old in the first book and seven and a half on her second adventure. A slight shift in scene turns the pleasant outdoor summer setting of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into the more somber indoor winter stage of Through the Looking-Glass. Corresponding to the card game of the first book is chess in Through the Looking-Glass, another game that involves...
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