Eightface

by Dave Kellam

The absurdity in Alice in Wonderland is often attributed to drugs or a dark trip into the subconscious. For her PhD work, Melanie Bayley examined some of the most popular scenes from a mathematical perspective, which is summed up in Alice’s adventures in algebra. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll) was a rather conservative mathematician, who disagreed with many of the new mathematical theories emerging during the 19th century.

The madness of Wonderland, I believe, reflects Dodgson’s views on the dangers of this new symbolic algebra. Alice has moved from a rational world to a land where even numbers behave erratically.

I don’t imagine that Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland will delve too deeply into mathematical theory.

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