Parodies of ‘Alice’

This section of my web site is devoted to political parodies based on the “Alice” books by Lewis Carroll. In the early 1900s, there was a spate of such parodies. Reviewing one of them in The Speaker (“Olla Podrida”, 16 April 1904), the columnist E V Lucas wrote:

One is beginning to wonder how political skits were written at all before Alice went forth on her adventures. The modern way is to press the button and let Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel do the rest; and the curious thing is that the effect is almost always what it should be. Lewis Carroll seems to have anticipated every situation, every crisis; the lightest only of adaptive touches is needful. Thus, not only is it true that one fool makes many, but that one wit makes many too. In the last three or four years, we have had the Clara in Blunderlandbooks, by Caroline Lewis, the Alice of “Saki” (perhaps the deftest of all), stray chapters in Punch and other papers, and now John Bull’s Adventures in the Fiscal Wonderland by Charles Geake and F Carruthers Gould. There is no reason why the supply henceforward should ever be less. The Fiscal Wonderland is extraordinarily good fun, . . . But what footnotes the book will need a hundred years hence!

Taking up Lucas’s last point, I intend to annotate these works as time permits. In the meantime, they are all available here as illustrated texts:-

Clara in Blunderland, by ‘Caroline Lewis’ (a pseudonym for M H Temple, J Stafford Ransome and Harold Begbie), with illustrations by ‘S R’ (Stafford Ransome).

Published in 1902, Clara in Blunderland satirises the government of Lord Salisbury and its handling of the Second Boer War; the ‘Clara’ of the title is Arthur Balfour, who was the Leader of the House of Commons in Salisbury’s Government.

Lost in Blunderland, by ‘Caroline Lewis’, with illustrations by Stafford Ransome.

This is a sequel to Clara in Blunderland, published in 1903; it satirises the government of Arthur Balfour, who succeeded his uncle, Salisbury, in July 1902.

The Westminster Alice, by Hector H Munro (better known as “Saki”), with illustrations by F Carruthers Gould.

The Westminster Alice first appeared in the Westminster Gazette in 1902 as a series of articles in each of which Alice tries to make sense of some political issue of the day. The pieces were collected and published in book form in the same year, together with two of Gould’s other cartoons on an ‘Alice’ theme.

John Bull’s Adventures in the Fiscal Wonderland, by Charles Geake, with illustrations by F Carruthers Gould.

Published in 1904, this is a satire on the tariff reform (‘fiscal’) proposals of Joseph Chamberlain.