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Archives, Dreams, and Nonsense in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Chia-chen Kuo

Page / 79-102

Abstract


The two Alice books of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (or Lewis Carroll, his much more famous pseudonym) have been acclaimed as the cornerstone of children’s literature and of nonsense literature. By having recourse to Jacques Derrida’s conception of archive and its relation with dreams, this paper intends to read these two Alice books as archives, which reflect and condense miscellaneous Victorian phenomena. Meanwhile, it also regards them as Derridean (non)archive, which indicates that every residual of archive fever (the residual of language, of desire, of writing and of memory) is silently but staunchly lurking in the archive. Since these two stories are dreams, the intangible and incompatible residual within further horizontally/rhizomatically connects us to the nonsense writing: every hilarious, ridiculous, nonsensical, illogical and unbelievable plot rather directs us toward an outside, a beyond which points out that these two Alice books are not writing of nonsense (absence or lack of sense), but nonsense (proliferation of sense).

Keywords : archive, dream, nonsense, Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass
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