AS Byatt writes about Alice in Wonderland in today's Guardian.
Another thing which is odd about reading Alice is that the reader – even a reader aged seven or eight – can never stop thinking about the language. The texture of reading Alice is a series of linguistic puzzles, contradictions and jokes, of which Humpty Dumpty's assertions of his own arbitrary power over words (a word "means what I choose it to mean") are only the most striking. Alice is as much part of this linguistic tissue as the creatures she meets. As she falls through the earth she doesn't feel terror, she thinks, she talks to herself and analyses what is happening and may happen. She is prepared to give as good as she gets in arguments with pigeons, caterpillars, frog footmen, smiling cats and red and white queens. Her main emotion is trying to make sense against increasing odds.