The British Library is releasing the latest title in its ground breaking series of ebook treasures, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground - Lewis Carroll’s handwritten and illustrated original version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
iPad users will be able to explore this perennial classic – one of the British Library’s best-loved treasures – as it was first conceived by Lewis Carroll and experience in close up Carroll’s small, neat script and striking illustrations.
iPad users will be able to turn the pages of the manuscript, zoom in to view Carroll’s illustrations in vivid detail and give the reader an experience akin to holding the original manuscript. iPad users will also enjoy listening to award winning actress Miriam Margoyles as she narrates Alice’s adventures bringing to life Carroll’s much loved characters.
One summer’s day in 1862 Lewis Carroll, pen name of Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson, entertained a group of children on a boat trip with a story of Alice’s adventures in a magical world entered through a rabbit-hole. The ten-year-old Alice was so entranced that she begged him to write it down for her. It took him some time to write out the tale and complete the 37 illustrations. Alice finally received the 90-page book, dedicated to a ‘dear child, in memory of a summer day’, in November 1864.
Urged by friends to publish the story, Dodgson re-wrote and enlarged it, adding two new chapters and removed some of the private family references. The published version was illustrated by the artist John Tenniel.
Many years later, Alice was forced to sell her precious manuscript at auction. It was bought by an American collector, but returned to England in 1948 when a group of American benefactors presented it to the British Library in appreciation of the British people's role in the Second World War.
Jamie Andrews, Head of English and Drama says “Alice is a classic story of English literature, whose characters and situations have inspired generations of readers, writers, artists, and musicians.”
“The British Library's manuscript of Alice is one of our most precious and best-loved treasures, and is the key to understanding fully the origins of Dodgson's Alice and her Adventures under ground”.
From today, William Blake’s Notebook is also available to download from the iBookstore for £6.99. The closely-filled pages of Blake’s Notebook contains sketches and drafts of his poems and will allow iPad users to follow – line by line – the genesis of some of his best-known works, including poems such as London and The Tyger, giving a fascinating glimpse into Blake’s compositional process.
Jane Austen’s History of England is also available to download from the iBookstore for £5.99. Completed in November 1791 when she was just 15 years old, this lively parody pokes fun at the standard schoolroom books of her time and includes original illustrations drawn by her older sister Cassandra.
These new releases are the latest among the 75 ebook titles, developed with Armadillo Systems, being made available over the next two years, either in their entirety or as a selection of highlights. iPad users and researchers will gain unprecedented access to some of the British Library’s most precious manuscripts and the opportunity to build their own classic ‘elibrary’.
Frances Brindle, the British Library’s Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications commented: “The iPad allows for greater intimacy and engagement akin to reading the original and we are delighted to be the first to provide full access to some of our unique Treasures in this way. The Library is committed to maximising access to all of its collections and increasingly, digital variations of books and manuscripts are allowing us to do just that.”
The Alice’s Adventures Under Ground app will cost £6.99 to download from the iBookstore once the initial free offer expires in two weeks.
The British Library
is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs,
newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.
"Established in 1993, Armadillo Systems develop award-winning applications to provide access and interpretation for libraries and museums. We work with some of the greatest institutions in the world and are developers of the original Turning the Pages software. eBookTreasures marks the beginning of our effort to make the greatest books in the world available to everyone. More information on the company is available at www.armadillosystems.com
, and on eBookTreasures at www.ebooktreasures.org