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.