Alice in Many Tongues

Alice in Many Tongues: The Translations of Alice in Wonderland by Warren Weaver.

Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, 1964.

Hardback first edition with dust jacket.

Warren Weaver was a civil engineer and mathematician who studied at the University of Wisconsin. He was a pioneer of machine translation.

There is a history of translations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and a bibliography at the back of all the foreign editions that Weaver was able to locate.

My favorite part is the chapter “How can Alice be Translated” which looks at the ‘quality’ of the a few versions by examining the way the nonsense, puns and logical jokes in the Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party are handled. I’ve always wondered how translations ‘work’, so that bit is really fascinating. Some translations handle things rather better than others…

There are some pictures of some of the versions: including Hebrew, Swedish, Swahili, Bengali and Thai.

Bought in the bookshop on Curzon Street with the Nancy Mitford blue plaque.

There’s a reprint available on amazon: Alice in Many Tongues: The Translations of Alice in Wonderland


1 Response to “Alice in Many Tongues”

  1. 1 Luca
    May 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Wow, lucky you! I’m from Hungary, and as far as I know it, there’s only one copy of this book in the country, that in our national library. How I wish for a copy to own!! This is such a valuable book…

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March 2010
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