Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a work of children's literature by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), generally categorized as literary nonsense. It is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, although it makes no reference to its events. In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites, time running backwards, and so on.
Whereas the first book has the deck of cards as a theme, this book is loosely based on a game of chess, played on a giant chessboard with fields for squares. Most main characters met in the story are represented by a chess piece, with Alice herself being a pawn. However, the chess game described cannot be carried out legally due to a move where white doesn't move out of check (a list of moves is included - note that a young child might make this error due to inexperience). The looking-glass world is divided into sections by brooks, with the crossing of each brook usually signifying a notable change in the scene and action of the story: the brooks represent the divisions between squares on the chessboard, and Alice crossing them signifies the advancing of her piece one square. The sequence of moves (white and red) is not always followed, however, which goes along with the book's mirror image reversal theme as noted by mathematician and author Martin Gardner.
Carroll lived at Beckley, overlooking Otmoor and the chessboard theme is believed to have been inspired by the characteristic field pattern resulting from its enclosure and drainage
The characters of Hatta and Haigha (pronounced as the English would have pronounced "hatter" and "hare") make an appearance, and are pictured (by Sir John Tenniel, not by Carroll) to resemble their Wonderland counterparts, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. However, Alice does not recognize them as such.
"Dinah," Alice's cat, also makes a return - this time with her two kittens.
Though she does not appear, Alice's sister is mentioned.
In both Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There, there are puns and quips about two non-existing characters, Nobody and Somebody.
Paradoxically, the gnat calls Alice an old friend, though it was never introduced in Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.
Alice ponders what the world is like on the other side of a mirror, and to her surprise, is able to pass through to experience the alternate world. She discovers a book with looking-glass poetry, "Jabberwocky," which she can read only by holding it up to a mirror. Upon leaving the house, she enters a garden, where the flowers speak to her and mistake her for a flower. There, Alice also meets the Red Queen, who offers a throne to Alice if she just moves to the eighth rank in a chess match. Alice is placed as the White Queen's pawn, and begins the game by taking a train to the fourth rank, since pawns in chess can move two spaces on the first move.
Red King snoring, by John Tenniel
Red King snoring, by John Tenniel
She then meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, of whom she knows from the famous nursery rhyme. After reciting to her the long poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter," the two proceed to act out the events of their own poem. Alice continues on to meet the White Queen, who is very absent-minded and later transforms into a sheep.
The following chapter details her meeting with Humpty Dumpty, who explains to her the meaning of "Jabberwocky," before his inevitable fall from the wall. This is followed by an encounter with the Lion and the Unicorn, who again proceed to act out a nursery rhyme. She is then rescued from the Red Knight by the White Knight, who many consider to be a representation of Lewis Carroll himself.
At this point, she reaches the eight rank and becomes a queen, and by capturing the Red Queen, puts the Red King (who has remained stationary throughout the book) into checkmate. She then awakes from her dream (if it had been a dream), and blames her black kitten (the white kitten was wholly innocent) for the mischief caused by the story. The two kittens are the children of Dinah, Alice's cat in the first book
"The Wasp in a Wig"
Lewis Carroll decided to suppress a scene involving what was described as "a wasp in a wig." It has been suggested in a biography by Carroll's nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, that one of the reasons for this suppression was due to the suggestion of his illustrator, John Tenniel. In a letter to Carroll, dated June 1, 1870, Tenniel wrote:
…I am bound to say that the "wasp" chapter doesn't interest me in the least, and I can’t see my way to a picture. If you want to shorten the book, I can’t help thinking – with all submission – that there is your opportunity.
For many years no one had any idea what this missing section was or whether it had survived. In 1974, a document purporting to be the galley proofs of the missing section was sold at Sotheby's; the catalog description read, in part, that "The proofs were bought at the sale of the author's … personal effects … Oxford, 1898…." The bid was won by John Fleming, a Manhattan book dealer. The winning bid was £1700. The contents were subsequently published in Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition, and is also available as a hardback book The Wasp in a Wig: A Suppressed Episode ... (Clarkson Potter, MacMillan & Co.; 1977).
The "rediscovered" section describes Alice's encounter with a wasp wearing a yellow wig, and includes a full previously unpublished poem. If included in the book, it would have followed, or been included at the end of, chapter 8 — the chapter featuring the encounter with the White Knight.