2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Adventures in Wonderland: Darwinism and John Tenniel's Illustrated White Rabbit
Mamie E. Cox
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Dr. Sara Orel, Dr. Donna Rhinesmith, and Dr. Alanna Preussner, Faculty Mentors

Late nineteenth-century children's literature and illustration commonly exhibited a theme still popular in children's books today: the anthropomorphized animal. While, since their origins, animals in illustrations of children's literature have exhibited human qualities, the mid to late nineteenth century saw a significant development in this theme, as characters began to be depicted as possessing a unique synthesis of both human and animal characteristics. This shift in depictions of animals can be viewed in direct relation to Darwin's 1859 publication of The Origin of Species. Illustrations of anthropomorphized animals in children's literature, such as those found in John Tenniel's depictions of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) reflect these changes in scientific thought. Tenniel provided a new reading of the text through illustration, his images acting as a reflection of Darwin's newly proposed and highly controversial ideas of evolution. Through close examination of Tenniel's illustrated animals of Wonderland, specifically the White Rabbit, the viewer is presented with an illustrated reaction to nineteenth-century cultural and scientific exploration and discoveries.

Keywords: Children's Literature, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, John Tenniel, Darwin, Naturalism, Illustration

Topic(s):Art - Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 106-3
Location: OP 2210
Time: 8:30

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