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Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

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Template:Infobox WriterThe Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Template:IPAEng) (27 January 183214 January 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll (Template:IPA), was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman, and photographer.

His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky", all considered to be within the genre of literary nonsense.

His facility at word play, logic, and fantasy has delighted audiences ranging from children to the literary elite, and beyond this his work has become embedded deeply in modern culture, directly influencing many artists.

There are societies dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of his works and the investigation of his life in many parts of the world including North America, Japan, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.


Early life


Dodgson's family was predominantly northern English, with some Irish connections. Conservative and High Church Anglican, most of Dodgson's ancestors were army officers or Church of England clergymen. His great-grandfather, also Charles Dodgson, had risen through the ranks of the church to become a preacher. His grandfather, another Charles, had been an army captain, killed in action in 1803 when his two sons were hardly more than babies.

The elder of these sons — yet another Charles — was Carroll's father. He reverted to the other family business and took holy orders. He went to Rugby School, and thence to Christ Church, Oxford. He was mathematically gifted and won a double first degree, which could have been the prelude to a brilliant academic career. Instead he married his first cousin in 1827 and retired into obscurity as a country parson.

Young Charles' father was an active and highly conservative clergyman of the Anglican church who involved himself, sometimes influentially, in the intense religious disputes that were dividing the Anglican church. He was High Church, inclining to Anglo-Catholicism, an admirer of Newman and the Tractarian movement, and he did his best to instill such views in his children. Young Charles, however, was to develop an ambiguous relationship with his father's values and with the Anglican church as a whole.

Young Charles

Young Dodgson was born in the little parsonage of Daresbury in Cheshire, the oldest boy but already the third child of the four-and-a-half year old marriage. Eight more were to follow and, remarkably for the time, all of them — seven girls and four boys (including Edwin H. Dodgson) — survived into adulthood. When Charles was 11, his father was given the living of Croft-on-Tees in north Yorkshire, and the whole family moved to the spacious Rectory. This remained their home for the next twenty-five years.

During the earlier times in his life, young Dodgson was educated at home. His "reading lists" preserved in the family testify to a precocious intellect: at the age of seven the child was reading The Pilgrim's Progress. He also suffered from a stammer — a condition shared by his siblings — that often influenced his social life throughout his years. At twelve he was sent away to a small private school at nearby Richmond, where he appears to have been happy and settled. But in 1845, young Dodgson moved on to Rugby School, where he was evidently less happy, for as he wrote some years after leaving the place:

I cannot say ... that any earthly considerations would induce me to go through my three years again ... I can honestly say that if I could have been ... secure from annoyance at night, the hardships of the daily life would have been comparative trifles to bear.[1]

Scholastically, though, he excelled with apparent ease. "I have not had a more promising boy his age since I came to Rugby" observed R.B. Mayor, the Mathematics master.[1]


He left Rugby at the end of 1849 and, after an interval that remains unexplained, went on in January 1851 to Oxford, attending his father's old college, Christ Church. He had only been at Oxford two days when he received a summons home. His mother had died of "inflammation of the brain" — perhaps meningitis or a stroke — at the age of forty-seven.

His early academic career veered between high-octane promise and irresistible distraction. He may not always have worked hard, but he was exceptionally gifted and achievement came easily to him. In 1852 he received a first in Honour Moderations, and shortly after he was nominated to a Studentship, by his father's old friend Canon Edward Pusey. However, a little later he failed an important scholarship through his self-confessed inability to apply himself to study. Even so, his talent as a mathematician won him the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship, which he continued to hold for the next twenty-six years. The income was good, but the work bored him. Many of his pupils were older and richer than he was, and almost all of them were uninterested. However, despite early unhappiness, Dodgson was to remain at Christ Church, in various capacities, until his death.

Character and appearance

Physical appearance

The young adult Charles Dodgson was about six feet tall, slender and handsome, with curling brown hair and blue eyes. He was described in later life as somewhat asymmetrical, or as carrying himself rather stiffly and awkwardly, though this may be on account of a knee injury sustained in middle age. At the age of seventeen, he suffered a severe attack of whooping cough, which left him with poor hearing in his right ear and was probably responsible for his chronically weak chest in later life. The only overt defect he carried into adulthood was what he referred to as his "hesitation", a stammer he acquired in early childhood and which plagued him throughout his life.


The stammer has always been a potent part of the conceptions of Dodgson; it is part of the belief that he stammered only in adult company and was free and fluent with children, but there is no evidence to support this idea.[2] Many children of his acquaintance remembered the stammer while many adults failed to notice it. It came and went for its own reasons, but not as a clichéd manifestation of fear of the adult world. Dodgson himself seems to have been far more acutely aware of it than most people he met; it is said he caricatured himself as the Dodo in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, referring to his difficulty in pronouncing his last name, but this is one of the many "facts" oft-repeated, for which no firsthand evidence remains. He did indeed refer to himself as the dodo, but that this was a reference to his stammer is simply speculation.


Although Dodgson's stammer troubled him, it was never so debilitating that it prevented him from applying his other personal qualities to do well in society. At a time when people commonly devised their own amusements and when singing and recitation were required social skills, the young Dodgson was well-equipped to be an engaging entertainer. He could sing tolerably well and was not afraid to do so before an audience. He was adept at mimicry and storytelling, and was, reputedly, quite good at charades.

He was, by modern lights, a snob, but probably no more so than any middle class Victorian. He once remarked, for example, that the only trouble with Margate (a town in Kent) was the "commercial" type of person one was bound to encounter there. Similarly, he tended toward the priggish and hypocritical; on the pretense of maintaining a high moral standard, he summarily terminated his long friendship with Ellen Terry when she decided to go and live with a man to whom she was not married, yet, Dodgson himself was involved romantically, over a number of years, with more than one married woman.

Dodgson was also quite socially ambitious and anxious to make his mark on the world as a writer or an artist. In the interim between his early published writing and the success of the Alice books, he began to move in the Pre-Raphaelite social circle. His scholastic career may well have been intended as something of a stop-gap on the way to other more exciting achievements. He first met John Ruskin in 1857 and became friendly with him. He developed a close relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his family, and also knew William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Arthur Hughes among other artists. He also knew the fairy-tale author George MacDonald well — it was the enthusiastic reception of Alice by the young MacDonald children that convinced him to submit the work for publication.

The traditional image of his social life as entirely child-centered has recently been challenged (see Karoline Leach's work on the "Carroll Myth"' below), and we have been reminded that he did enjoy a very active adult social life.

Dodgson the artist

The Author

From a young age, Dodgson wrote poetry and short stories, sending them to various magazines and enjoying moderate success. Between 1854 and 1856, his work appeared in the national publications, The Comic Times and The Train, as well as smaller magazines like the Whitby Gazette and the Oxford Critic. Most of this output was humorous, sometimes satirical, but his standards and ambitions were exacting. "I do not think I have yet written anything worthy of real publication (in which I do not include the Whitby Gazette or the Oxonian Advertiser), but I do not despair of doing so some day", he wrote in July 1855.

In 1856 he published his first piece of work under the name that would make him famous. A very predictable little romantic poem called "Solitude" appeared in The Train under the authorship of "Lewis Carroll". This pseudonym was a play on his real name; Lewis was the anglicised form of Ludovicus, which was the Latin for Lutwidge, and Carroll being an anglicised version of Carolus, the Latin for Charles.


Image:Alice par John Tenniel 30.png
"The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo"

In the same year, 1856, a new Dean, Henry Liddell, arrived at Christ Church, bringing with him his young family, all of whom would figure largely in Dodgson's life, and greatly influence his writing career, over the following years. Dodgson became close friends with Liddell's wife, Lorina, and their children, particularly the three sisters: Lorina, Edith and Alice Liddell. He was for many years widely assumed to have derived his own "Alice" from Alice Liddell. However the proponents of the "Carroll Myth" dispute this. It's pointed out, for example, that Dodgson himself repeatedly denied in later life that his "little heroine" was based on any real child,[3] But there are still many who insist Alice Liddell is 'Alice'. They point to the acrostic poem at the end of Through the Looking Glass (reading downward, taking the first letter of each line, spells out Alice's name in full). However, Dodgson frequently dedicated his works to girls of his acquaintance and added their names in acrostic poems at the beginning of the text. Gertrude Chataway's name appears in this form at the beginning of The Hunting of the Snark, and no one has ever suggested this means any of the characters in the narrative are based on her. This is yet another area of current controversy it would appear.

Though information is scarce (Dodgson's diaries for the years 1858–1862 are missing), it does seem clear that his friendship with the Liddell family was an important part of his life in the late 1850s, and he grew into the habit of taking the children (first the boy, Harry, and later the three girls) on rowing trips to nearby Nuneham Courtenay or Godstow.

It was on one such expedition, on July 4 1862, that Dodgson invented the outline of the story that eventually became his first and largest commercial success. Having told the story and been begged by Alice Liddell to write it down, Dodgson eventually (after much delay) presented her with a handwritten, illustrated manuscript entitled Alice's Adventures Under Ground in November 1864.

Before this, the family of friend and mentor George MacDonald read Dodgson's incomplete manuscript, and the enthusiasm of the MacDonald children encouraged Dodgson to seek publication. In 1863, he had taken the unfinished manuscript to Macmillan the publisher, who liked it immediately. After the possible alternative titles Alice Among the Fairies and Alice's Golden Hour were rejected, the work was finally published as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 under the Lewis Carroll pen name, which Dodgson had first used some nine years earlier. The illustrations this time were by Sir John Tenniel; Dodgson evidently thought that a published book would need the skills of a professional artist. A first edition copy (1886) of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, now highly sought after by literary collectors, changed hands to a private collector on January 26, 2006. It was sold at Christie's for £4,800 by the Duke of Gloucester, its previous owner, to pay for his father's death duties.[4]

The overwhelming commercial success of the first Alice book changed Dodgson's life in many ways. The fame of his alter ego "Lewis Carroll" soon spread around the world. He was inundated with fan mail and with sometimes unwanted attention. He also began earning quite substantial sums of money. However, he didn't use this income as a means of abandoning his seemingly disliked post at Christ Church.

In 1872, a sequel — Through the Looking-Glass — was published. Its somewhat darker mood possibly reflects the changes in Dodgson's life. His father had recently died (1868), plunging him into a depression that would last some years.

The Hunting of the Snark

In 1876, Dodgson produced his last great work, The Hunting of the Snark, a fantastic "nonsense" poem, exploring the adventures of a bizarre crew of variously inadequate beings, and one beaver, who set off to find the eponymous creature. The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti reputedly became convinced the poem was about him.

The Photographer

Image:Alice Liddell 2.jpg
Photo of Alice Liddell by Lewis Carroll. (1858)

In 1856, Dodgson took up the new art form of photography, first under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later his Oxford friend Reginald Southey.

He soon excelled at the art and became a well-known gentleman-photographer, and he seems even to have toyed with the idea of making a living out of it in his very early years.

A recent study by Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling[5] exhaustively lists every surviving print, and Taylor calculates that just over fifty percent of his surviving work depicts young girls. He would later use many of his photographs of children in conjunction with his writings to add illustration to his work. Alexandra Kitchin, known as "Xie" (pronounced "Ecksy"), was his favourite photographic subject. From 1869 until his giving up photography in 1880, Dodgson took at least fifty exposures of her, the last of which just before her sixteenth birthday. However, before attempting to draw any conclusions about Dodgson's proclivities or obsessions, it should be noted that less than a third of his original portfolio has survived. He also made many studies of men, women, male children and landscapes; his subjects also include skeletons, dolls, dogs, statues and paintings, trees, scholars, scientists, old men, and little girls. His notorious (and possibly misunderstood) studies of nude children were long presumed lost, but six have since surfaced, four of which have been published.

Photo of John Everett Millais and his wife Effie Gray with two of their children, signed by Effie. (c1860)

He also found photography to be a useful entrée into higher social circles. During the most productive part of his career, he made portraits of notable sitters such as John Everett Millais, Ellen Terry, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Michael Faraday and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Dodgson abruptly ceased to photograph in 1880. Over 24 years, he had completely mastered the medium, set up his own studio on the roof of Tom Quad, and created around 3,000 images. Fewer than 1,000 have survived time and deliberate destruction. His reasons for abandoning photography remain uncertain.

With the advent of Modernism tastes changed, and his photography was forgotten from around 1920 until the 1960s. He is now considered one of the very best Victorian photographers, and is certainly the one who has had the most influence on modern art photographers.

Hugues Lebailly and "The Victorian Cult of the Child"

Recent studies, principally by Hugues Lebailly have endeavoured to set our view of Dodgson's child-photography in what it deems a more realistic light — placing it within the "Victorian Child Cult", that perceived child-nudity as essentially an expression of innocence. Lebailly has pointed out that studies of child nudes were mainstream and fashionable in Dodgson's time and that most photographers, including Oscar Rejlander and Julia Margaret Cameron made them as a matter of course. He has pointed out that child nudes even appeared on Victorian Christmas cards — implying a very different social and aesthetic assessment of such material. Lebailly claims it has been an error of Dodgson's biographers to view his child-photography with 20th or 21st century eyes and, to have presented it as some form of personal idiosyncrasy, when it was in fact a response to a very prevalent aesthetic and philosophical movement of the time.

The Inventor

To promote letter writing Carroll invented The Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case in 1889. This was a cloth-backed folder with twelve slots, two marked for inserting the then most commonly used 1d. stamp, and one each for the other current denominations to 1s. The folder was then put into a slip case decorated with a picture of Alice on the front and the Cheshire Cat on the back. All could be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse. When issued it also included a copy of Carroll's pamphletted lecture, Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing.[6][7][8]

He also appears to have invented, and certainly popularised, the Word Ladder (or "doublet" as it was known at first): a form of brain-teaser that is still popular today: the game of changing one word into another by altering one letter at a time, each successive change always resulting in a genuine word. For instance, CAT is transformed into DOG by the following steps: CAT, COT, DOT, DOG.

The later years

Over the remaining twenty years of his life, throughout his growing wealth and fame, his existence remained little changed. He continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and remained in residence there until his death. His last novel, the two-volume Sylvie and Bruno, was published in 1889 and 1893 respectively. Its extraordinary convolutions and apparent confusion baffled most readers and it achieved little success. He died at his sister's home, The Chestnuts in Guildford on January 14 1898 of pneumonia following influenza. He was 2 weeks away from turning 66 years old. He is buried in Guildford at the Mount Cemetery.

Controversies and mysteries

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

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.

The possibility of drug use

There has been much speculation that Dodgson used psychoactive drugs, however there is no direct evidence that he ever did. It is true that the most common painkiller of the time — laudanum — was in fact a tincture of opium and could produce a "high" if used in a large enough dose.[9] Most historians would admit Dodgson probably used it from time to time, since it was the standard domestic painkiller of its day and was to be found in numerous patent medicines of the time, but there is no evidence he ever abused it or that its effects had any impact on his work. There is no factual evidence to support a suggestion that he smoked cannabis. However, many people regard Alice's hallucinations in the Wonderland, when surrounded by teas, mushrooms and smoking insects, (though tea and mushrooms were quite common) as references to psychedelic substances. This suggestion of psychedelic drug use made him extremely popular to the counterculture of the 1960s and was a positive way of showing the mainstream that one of their most famous and highly regarded writers also used these forbidden substances. Grace Slick wrote a song, "White Rabbit," recorded with both The Great Society and Jefferson Airplane, which depicted Carroll's Alice in Wonderland as a psychedelic drug trip. Cannabis was not a very popular drug at the time and the caterpillar has been speculated to have been smoking a range of different things.

It has also been suggested that Dodgson suffered from lead poisoning,Template:Fact as it was common at the time, though no evidence supports this claim.

The priesthood

Dodgson had been groomed for the ordained ministry in the Anglican Church from a very early age and was expected, as a condition of his residency at Christ Church, to take holy orders within four years of obtaining his master's degree. However, for reasons not presently explained, he became reluctant to do this. He delayed the process for some time but eventually took deacon's orders in December 1861. But when the time came, a year later, to progress to priestly orders, Dodgson appealed to the dean for permission not to proceed. This was against college rules, and Dean Liddell told him he would very likely have to leave his job if he refused to take orders. He told Dodgson he would have to consult the college ruling body, which would almost undoubtedly have resulted in his being expelled. However, for unknown reasons, Dean Liddell changed his mind and permitted Dodgson to remain at the college, in defiance of the rules.[10] Dodgson never became a priest. Dean Liddell's behaviour remains puzzling and unexplained, though some theories have been put forward to explain it.

There is currently no conclusive evidence about why Dodgson rejected the priesthood. Some have suggested his stammer made him reluctant to take the step, because he was afraid of having to preach, but this seems unlikely given his willingness to take on other public performances (story-telling, recitations, magic lantern shows), and the fact that he did indeed preach in later life, even though not in orders. Others have suggested, perhaps more plausibly, that he was having serious doubts about the Anglican church. It is known that he was interested in minority forms of Christianity (he was an admirer of FD Maurice) and "alternative" religions (theosophy) so this may well have been a reason. However, it is also true that Dodgson was deeply troubled by an unexplained sense of sin and guilt at this time (the early 1860s), and frequently expressed the view in his diaries that he was a "vile and worthless" sinner, unworthy of the priesthood,[11] so this may well also have been a contributing factor.

Currently it is unknown why Dodgson was consumed with a sense of sin at this time, though again several theories have been put forward.

The missing diaries

At least four complete volumes[12] and around seven pages[13] of text are missing from Dodgson's 13 diaries. The loss of the volumes remains unexplained; the pages have been deliberately removed by an unknown hand. Most scholars assume the diary material was removed by family members in the interests of preserving the family name, but this has not been proven.[14] All of the missing material, except for a single page, is believed to date from the period between 1853 (when Dodgson was 22) and 1863 (when he was 32).[15]

Many theories have been put forward to explain the missing material. A popular explanation for one particular missing page (June 27, 1863) is that it might have been torn out to conceal the fact that Dodgson had proposed marriage on that day to the 11-year old Alice Liddell. However, there has never been any evidence to suggest this was so, and a paper[16] that came to light in the Dodgson family archive in 1996 provides some evidence to the contrary.

The "Cut Pages in Diary" document

The "cut pages in diary" document, in the Dodgson family archive in Woking, UK.

This paper, known as the "cut pages in diary document", was compiled by various members of Carroll's family after his death. Part of it at least was presumably written at the time that some of the pages were being mutilated, as it offers a brief summary of two diary pages that are now missing, including the one for June 27 1863. The summary for this page states that Mrs Liddell told Dodgson there was gossip circulating about him and the Liddell family's governess, as well as about his relationship with "Ina", presumably Alice's older sister, Lorina Liddell. The "break" with the Liddell family that occurred soon after was presumably in response to this gossip.[17][18] An alternate interpretation has been made regarding Carroll's rumored involvement with "Ina": Lorina was also the name of Alice Liddell's mother. What is most crucial and surprising is that the entry seems to make it clear Dodgson's break with the family was not connected with Alice at all.

Suggestions of Pedophilia

Dodgson's friendships with young girls, together with his perceived lack of interest in romantic attachments to adult women, and psychological readings of his work — especially his photographs of nude or semi-nude girls[19] — have all led to speculation that he was, in modern parlance, a pedophile. This possibility has underpinned numerous modern interpretations of his life and work, particularly Dennis Potter's play Alice and his screenplay for the motion picture, Dreamchild, and a number of recent biographies, including Michael Bakewell's Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1996), Donald Thomas's Lewis Carroll: A Portrait with Background (1996) and Morton N. Cohen's Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1995). All of these works more or less unequivocally assume that Dodgson was a pedophile, albeit a repressed and celibate one.

Cohen claims Dodgson's "sexual energies sought unconventional outlets", and further writes:

We cannot know to what extent sexual urges lay behind Charles's preference for drawing and photographing children in the nude. He contended the preference was entirely aesthetic. But given his emotional attachment to children as well as his aesthetic appreciation of their forms, his assertion that his interest was strictly artistic is naïve. He probably felt more than he dared acknowledge, even to himself.[20]

Cohen notes that Dodgson "apparently convinced many of his friends that his attachment to the nude female child form was free of any eroticism", but adds that "later generations look beneath the surface" (p. 229).

Cohen and other biographers argue that Dodgson may have wanted to marry the 11-year old Alice Liddell and that this was the cause of the unexplained "break" with the family in June 1863.[21] But there has never been much evidence to support such an idea, and the 1996 discovery of the "cut pages in diary document" (see above) seems to imply that the 1863 "break" had nothing to do with Alice, but was perhaps connected with her 14 year old sister or, possibly, her mother.

Some writers, e.g., Derek Hudson and Roger Lancelyn Green, who have fallen short of accepting Dodgson as a pedophile, have tended to concur that he had a passion for small female children and next to no interest in the adult world. The issue is considered at length in Darien Graham-Smith's 2005 PhD thesis Contextualising Carroll, and in Sadi Ranson's article,[22] which discusses claims of Dodgson's "nympholepsy" (as Vladimir Nabokov called it) and the roles children took in Victorian art.

Carroll's interest in young girls might best be demonstrated in his own words, as recorded in his letters: "I am fond of children" writes Carroll, "except boys".

"The Carroll Myth"

The accepted view of Dodgson's biography — and most particularly his image as a potential paedophile — has received a challenge in quite recent times, when a loosely knit group of scholars lead by Hugues Lebailly and Karoline Leach have set out to look past the received image of Carroll and base their research on the neglected primary sources. A new and controversial analysis of Dodgson's sexual proclivities (and indeed the evolution of the entire process of his biography) appeared in Karoline Leach's 1999 book In the Shadow of the Dreamchild. She states that the image of Dodgson's alleged paedophilia was built out of a failure to understand Victorian morals, as well as the mistaken idea that Dodgson had no interest in adult women, which evolved out of the minds of various biographers. She termed this simplified — and often, in her view, fictional — image "the Carroll Myth".

The researches of Lebailly and Leach, among others, have shown Dodgson's real life to be very different from the accepted biographical image. His diaries and letters reveal him, while fond of children, to have been very far from exclusively interested in them; he was also keenly interested in adult women, married and single, and enjoyed several daring and indeed (in the social mores of his time) scandalous relationships with them - many of those he described as "child-friends" were not children at all, but girls in their late teens and even twenties.[23] Examples of such adult friendships inculde Catherine Lloyd, Constance Burch, May Miller, Edith Shute, Ethel Rowell, Beatrice Hatch and Gertrude Thomson, among many others. Some of these were girls he met as children but continued to be close to in adulthood. Others were women he met as adults and with whom he shared very close and meaningful friendships. Suggestions of paedophilia only evolved many years after his death, when his well-meaning family had suppressed all evidence of his adult friendships in order to try to preserve his reputation, thus giving a false impression of a man interested only in little girls.

As shown by Leach the image of "Lewis Carroll" was constructed almost accidentally by generations of biographers. One of these, Langford Reed, writing in 1932, was the first to state that many of Carroll's female friendships ended when the girls reached the age of 14,[24] though Reed apparently only intended to suggest that Dodgson was thereby a "pure man" untainted by sexual desire.[25] This statement, that Dodgson lost interest in girls once they reached puberty, was later caught up by other biographers, including Florence Becker Lennon (Victoria Through the Looking-Glass — UK title "Lewis Carroll", 1945) and the highly influential Alexander Taylor (The White Knight, 1952) who remained unaware of the evidence to the contrary since Dodgson's family refused to publish his diaries and letters. By the time more evidence became available, this image was so ingrained that any revision seemed "unnecessary, even impertinent",[26] and thus a supposed biography was preserved.

Since the publication of Leach's book and Lebailly's early articles they have been joined by a group of supportive scholars and writers in the formation of Contrariwise, an "association for new Lewis Carroll studies". The group argues collectively that a powerful mythology has grossly distorted our understanding of Dodgson's true nature, and that considered in the context of his real life — as opposed to the misconceptions of it — and the fashions and mores of his time, many aspects of the received image of Dodgson (including assertions of paedophilia) become nonsensical and amount to a failure to understand the complexity of Dodgson's character, as well as the Victorian "Cult of the Child".




  • There is a popular urban legend that Queen Victoria, having enjoyed one of Carroll's children's books, wrote to him graciously suggesting that he dedicate his next book to her. Carroll, according to the story, obligingly did so dedicate it, but the work happened to be a mathematical opus entitled An Elementary Treatise on Determinants. This story originated in Carroll's lifetime, and he wrote himself that "nothing even resembling it has occurred".[27][28]
  • A combination of his real name and pseudonym was used by Michael Crichton for the name of a character in Jurassic Park: Lewis Dodgson, the CEO of a rival genetic engineering corporation, who hires Dennis Nedry to steal embryos from the park. Nedry's method of stealing the embryos also makes reference to Carroll: to shut down the security systems, he uses a program called "whte_rbt.obj", referring to the White Rabbit.
  • Lewis Carroll was good friends with Alice Ottley,[29] the first headmistress at The Alice Ottley School. As a result, one of the houses is called "Carroll," after Lewis Carroll.
  • His works have inspired a blog-writers holiday of sorts on the anniversary of his birth. Users of Livejournal and other blogging utilities write stories/entries inspired by or dedicated to Lewis Carroll. January 27th,2005 was the first ever Rabbit Hole Day, suggested here

See also





  • Bowman, Isa (1899), The Story of Lewis Carroll, Told by the Real Alice in Wonderland, London: Dent
  • Cohen, Morton N. (1995), Lewis Carroll: A Biography, London: Macmillan
  • Collingwood, Stuart Dodgson (1898), The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, London: T. Fisher Unwin
  • Graham-Smith, Darien (2005), Contextualising Carroll, University of Wales, Bangor: PhD Thesis ([1])
  • Huxley, Francis (1976), The Raven and the Writing Desk. (ISBN 0-06-012113-0).
  • Kelly, Richard, Lewis Carroll. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.
  • Kelly, Richard, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Leach, Karoline (1999), In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll, London: Peter Owen Publishers
  • Lennon, Florence Becker (1947), Lewis Carroll, London: Cassell
  • Reed, Langford (1932), The Life of Lewis Carroll, London: W. and G. Foyle
  • Sunghyun Kim, 'Political Unconscious in Fantastic Narrative: Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland(Korean)', Yonsei University Graduate School, 2005
  • Taylor, Alexander L., Knight (1952), The White Knight, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd
  • Taylor, Roger & Wakeling, Edward, Lewis Carroll, Photographer, 2002 (Catalogues nearly every Carroll photograph known to be still in existence.)
  • Wullschläger, Jackie, Inventing Wonderland, (ISBN 0-7432-2892-8) — also looks at Edward Lear (of the "nonsense" verses), J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan), Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows), and A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh).
  • n.n., Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll. Yale University Press & SFMOMA, 2004. (Places Carroll firmly in the art photography tradition.)


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Template:Persondata Template:DEFAULTSORT:Carroll, Lewisar:لويس كارول bs:Lewis Carroll bg:Луис Карол ca:Lewis Carroll cs:Lewis Carroll da:Lewis Carroll de:Lewis Carroll et:Lewis Carroll el:Λιούις Κάρολ es:Lewis Carroll eo:Lewis Carroll fa:لوئیس کارول fr:Lewis Carroll fy:Lewis Carroll ga:Lewis Carroll gl:Lewis Carroll ko:루이스 캐럴 hi:लुइस कैरल hr:Lewis Carroll io:Lewis Carroll is:Lewis Carroll it:Lewis Carroll he:לואיס קרול la:Ludovicus Carroll lt:Lewis Carroll hu:Lewis Carroll nl:Lewis Carroll ja:ルイス・キャロル no:Lewis Carroll oc:Lewis Carroll pms:Lewis Carroll pl:Lewis Carroll pt:Lewis Carroll ro:Lewis Carroll ru:Льюис Кэрролл simple:Lewis Carroll sr:Луис Керол sh:Lewis Carroll fi:Lewis Carroll sv:Lewis Carroll ta:லூயிஸ் கரோல் tg:Люис Кэрролл tr:Lewis Carroll uk:Льюїс Керрол zh:路易斯·卡羅

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