291 Alice

The referent for the name of this minor planet is unknown.

This minor planet was named by discoverer Johann Palisa in 1890. It should be noted that one of the most famous Alice's, real or fictional, is the titular character from Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which did a lot to popularize the name. This story came out in 1865 and its sequel in 1871, and this minor planet was named in the height of the initial popularity of the name. Therefore, its entirely possible that it was named after the plucky, polite, curious heroine.

Alice has an interesting role in contemporary culture. The original story is not widely read as far as classics go, but numerous popular adaptations over time have solidly placed the character of Alice in the public consciousness. In fact, faithfulness to the text is never a priority in these adaptations; some scholars identify her as more of a modern myth, a blank canvas for the intentions of the adapter. There are as many Alices as there are Wonderlands. And yet Alice in the simple blue dress is so iconic, more so than any of the colorful characters or bizarre sights she encounters, that it ties all of these Alice's together.

Therefore, the symbol of this minor planet is a representation of Alice herself, in a dress and smock. It is an equilateral triangle with a rectangular shape inside as the apron, a small circle above for the head, and two short vertical lines for the legs.

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