Alice was beginning to get very tired
sitting by her sister on the bank, and
nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had
no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use
a book;' thought Alice, "without
pictures or conversations.-LEWIS
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Like Alice, I am very fond of pictures and conversations. In fact, my
earliest work on Lewis Carroll was a series of performances (conversa-
tions, really) within an elaborate installation space that featured walls
filled with colored-pencil pictures-floors littered with large, painted
cut-outs of anthropomorphic animals-and even a miniature house that
the viewer could walk into (with some difficulty). The pinkened walls of
the house were lined with Carroll's photographs of girl-children (framed
in gold), which I, like Carroll, had fetishized. During the performances, I
always played an impish professor (a portmanteau of Alice and Carroll the
Oxford don), filled with Alice and malice, as I lectured (punished?) the
audience on the real Alice (Alice Pleasance Liddell) and her role, not only
as muse but also as author.! My Alice conversations (which were as one-
sided as Humpty Dumpty's lectures to Alice- "The question is which is
to be master-that's all") insisted on two basic points: one, that children
have a sexuality that is as complex as anyone's; and two, that their sex-
uality deserves recognition, respect, and scrutiny.2 One chapter in this
book, "Dream-Rushes: Lewis Carroll's Photographs of Little Girls," fo-
cuses on these issues. My performances grew into that chapter, and that
chapter, like Alice, grew and grew until it became this book. And as Alice
once said, when "she found her head pressing against the ceiling, and had
Previous Page Next Page