From the Bruce Peel Special Collections: Down the Rabbit Hole

Author: Lewis Carroll

Artist: Tara Bryan, walking bird press

Collection: Artists’ books

Year: 2005

Call Number: N 7433.4 B73 A6 D69 2005

While Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865, a newer rendition designed by Tara Bryan hit book-collecting markets in 2005. Down the Rabbit Hole is a “tunnel-book” that reiterates Alice’s fall into Wonderland in both a literary and a physical dimension. The flat square of handmade, multi-coloured paper opens into a long, vertical, accordion-style structure that gives the reader the impression of tumbling down into a mysterious new land. To read the work, one must hold the suspended stack of pages below their vantage point to literally look down the “rabbit hole.” Opening the piece are the author’s and the designer’s names, followed by lines excerpted from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

While the work uses text by Carroll, it’s filed in with the Bruce Peel Special Collections because of the amount of design work that went into it. A number of Bryan’s works have been acquired by the U of A, and thus it’s more useful for them to be organized together.

“You could sell this and put a barcode on the back, make them by the hundreds, and put them in Chapters, they would sell for sure. But that would be different because somebody would be creating them for a different consumer experience and there would be much more people involved. Whether it appeared exactly like this or whether it would be watered down for cost.”

— Jeff Papineau, Library Assistant, Bruce Peel Special Collections & Archives

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