The Fourth of July...
It all began on July 4, 1862. That was the "golden afternoon" on which Carroll and his friend Robinson Duckworth took three little girls on a boating trip up the Isis, a tributary of the Thames. The girls were the daughters of Henry George Liddell (his name rhymed with "fiddle"), dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Carroll taught mathematics. Carroll was especially fond of Alice Liddell, then ten. It was mainly for her that he began his story of another Alice's tumble clown the rabbit hole, inventing the whimsical details as he went along.
The "interminable fairy-tale," as Carroll referred to it in his diary, lasted through many later boating trips. Carroll assured Alice that he would write it all down for her, but it was not until February of the following year that the task was completed. This first manuscript, which he called Alice's Adventures under Ground, was probably destroyed by Carroll in 1864 when he prepared a more elaborate hand-printed copy with thirty-seven pictures drawn by himself. We cannot be sure, but it seems likely that this second manuscript differed in many respects from the first. At any rate, we do know that on November 26, 1864, Carroll gave it to Alice as a Christmas present.
While Carroll was preparing this second version of his story, friends were urging him to find a publisher for it. He set about revising and expanding until the story was almost twice as long as it had been, and considerably more sophisticated. It was published by Macmillan and Company, in London, with illustrations by John Tenniel, on July 4, 1865. Carroll had suggested the date to commemorate the day, three years earlier, on which he had first extemporized his story.
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