Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life


by Robin Wilson

Art Director: Chin-Yee Lai // W. W. Norton & Co.

While doing research for this book, I came across a medical condition called Alice in Wonderland Syndrome:
also known as micropsia and macropsia, is a brain condition affecting the way objects are perceived by the mind. For example, an afflicted person may look at a larger object, like a basketball, and perceive it as if it were the size of a mouse. The condition manifests itself in connection with various other conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety, and migraines. The disease is named after Lewis Carroll's novel due to the size changes Alice experiences. Carroll documented cases of classic migraines, so scholars have speculated that he may have experienced symptoms of macropsia or micropsia.

Since the emphasis of this book was on Lewis Carroll's forgotten achievements in the world of mathematics, I thought it was a a good idea to refer to Alice in Wonderland on the cover, but drastically de-emphasize her scale to frame it in this book's context to numbers.


Jacket illustration: Alice and the Cheshire Cat, illustration from Alice in the Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Color Litho) by John Tenniel, Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library.

Alternate comps:


Lewis Carroll's "The Mouse's Tale" is one of my favorite example of a typeset book interior from 1865.

8 comments:

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

What a wildly fun cover.

I have a friend who lives out here in Marin who has one of the most immaculate collections of everything related to Alice... I am sure this will end up with everything else.

Interesting that you focused your solution for this cover on the micropsia disorder...

I like how you carried some of the frame elements from the early comps on to the spine of the final.

This is reminiscent of the cover you did for The Bonfire of the Vanities. Nice nice work as always.

Gould said...

Great design!

Have you seen the UK edition one?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51B3o8o5nQL._SS500_.jpg

Not bad.

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

wow. that is a funny UK edition. Not bad. Funny, but not bad. In a European way.

Jason R Gabbert said...

Freakin' yeah Henry! This rocks!

Catherine said...

This cover really speaks to Carroll's personality as a mathematician—it's fun and interesting, which is exactly what Carroll wanted math to be. He created all kinds of clever math games and riddles and used a lot of logic-based themes in his books (the chess game in Through the Looking-glass is one example). Beautiful, smart design! Great color scheme, too.

Jonathan Hoefler said...

This sounds fantastic, Henry -- just pre-ordered a copy. Thanks for sharing it!

karen said...

Wow, I love this!

Christopher Tobias said...

a dynamic cover, henry. it is classic and modern at the same time. really nice.