a.k.a. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Pen Name: Lewis Carroll


Author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Lewis Carroll, 1863


Following are different accounts about Lewis Carroll—English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer—as found online. A very interesting and intriguing character!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lewis Carroll

The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 - 14 January 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, 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.

Read more at Wikipedia


Lewis Carroll

Charles L. Dodgson

The English cleric Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), who wrote under the name Lewis Carroll, was the author of "Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass". He was also a noted mathematician and photographer.

(1832-98) English mathematician and logician, who also wrote the children's classics Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. In the early 1870s Dodgson stumbled on the problem of cycling independently of Borda and Condorcet (copies of whose works in the libraries Dodgson used remain uncut to this day). He proposed several voting procedures, including one for breaking a cycle should no Condorcet winner exist. In the 1880s he turned his attention to proportional representation. Because of the eccentricity of his personality, all this work was totally ignored until recently.

Lewis Carroll, Writer/Mathematician

Name at birth: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Lewis Carroll was a church deacon and mathematician who published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass in 1871. Originally conceived as nursery tales for the daughter of family friends, they quickly became classics of children's literature. Carroll also wrote light verse, including "The Hunting of the Snark."

As an author of nonsense verse, Carroll is sometimes compared with his fellow Englishman Edward Lear.

By Gillian Avery

Lewis Carroll

Carroll, Lewis (pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-98), author of the Alice books. An enthusiastic photographer, his first encounters with the young Liddells, children of the dean of Christ Church, the Oxford college where Dodgson taught mathematics were in 1856 when he went to photograph Christ Church cathedral from the deanery garden. The first Alice story was extemporized for the three eldest daughters, Lorina, Alice, and Edith, on a summer picnic in 1862. The written version that the 10-year-old Alice begged for did not materialize until Christmas 1864, when Dodgson presented her with the neatly handwritten text of Alice's Adventures under Ground, which he had illustrated himself. Encouraged by such friends as George MacDonald, Dodgson decided to flesh out the story for publication. He expanded it to more than twice its original length, enhancing the comedy, adding some of his most original characters like the Duchess and the Cheshire Cat, and the entire episode of the Mad Tea-Party. Illustrated by John Tenniel, it was published for Christmas 1865 with the new title Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The fantasy derives not from traditional fairy stories but from the violence and anarchy of English nursery rhymes—that unique corpus of verse fragments never primarily intended for children. He added sharply delineated comic characters, many of them caricatures of people known to the Liddell children, and, being a mathematician, he made much of pursuing concepts to their logical and often ludicrous ends. It is the first literary fairy tale for children with no moral purpose whatever. Alice moves in a dreamworld, remote from ordinary laws and principles. At first bewildered by her size-changes, intimidated by the grotesque and often ill-mannered beings that she encounters—types of the adult world—she gradually gains confidence to argue with them, and finally triumphantly dismisses them: 'Who cares for you...You're nothing but a pack of cards!' she says contemptuously to the formidable Queen of Hearts who has ordered her to hold her tongue, indeed has threatened to have her beheaded.

Dodgson was completely unconscious of the nihilistic character of Wonderland. This can be seen from the way he reduced it in The Nursery 'Alice' (1889) to a bland mush, excluding all the humour and wordplay and adding moral comment. Indeed he was always to think of the Alice books as sedate and soothing, saying to a correspondent that he hoped they had given 'real and innocent pleasure sick and suffering children'. He was also unaware of the implication of his parodies of pious Sunday verse by such writers as Southey and Isaac Watts, though in ordinary life he was morbidly scrupulous, with an exaggerated dread of irreverence.

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There appeared as a Christmas book for 1871, though with the date 1872. By this stage Dodgson was no longer friendly with the Liddells, and Alice Liddell herself was 20; Looking-Glass Alice tells Humpty-Dumpty that she is 'seven years and six months'. He retorts that it is an uncomfortable sort of age; his dispassionate view being that it would be better to 'leave off at seven'—which perhaps Dodgson wistfully regarded as the perfect age in Alice Liddell. Except in the opening poem and in the epilogue his feeling for her was not shown in Wonderland, but it creeps into Looking-Glass. The White Knight with his bizarre inventions is often taken to be a self-portrait, and there is a yearning note in the description of his parting with Alice.

Though still taking place in a dream, Looking-Glass, with its account of Alice's chessboard progress to queenhood, is more tightly organized than its predecessor. Many of the characters are from nursery rhymes, but the humour has a ruthless, nightmare quality, especially in the Jabberwock poem (enhanced by a powerful Tenniel illustration originally intended as a frontispiece). The Walrus and the Carpenter eat the trusting Oysters; Alice is expected to carve the leg of mutton to whom she has just been introduced. The Hunting of the Snark (1876), Dodgson's only other extended work of nonsense, a mock-heroic poem which he called 'an agony in eight fits' is the most nihilistic of all his works. It ends with the Baker's triumphant shout as he finds the Snark, but then

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,

In the midst of his laughter and glee,

He had softly and suddenly vanished away—,

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

Much has been made of the possible symbolism of Dodgson's nonsense; there have been many attempts to discover hidden meanings and lurking cryptograms. There have also been many imitations; once the way had been shown, dreams seemed a useful device to avoid constructing a plot. Among the more popular were George Edward Farrow's The WallyPug of Why (1895) and its sequels, and Eleanor Gates's The Poor Little Rich Girl (1912), where the logic of a child's dreamworld shows up the illogicality of adults.

Dodgson wrote one work of fiction for adults, Sylvie and Bruno (1889, with a continuation in 1893); it was illustrated by Harry Furniss. The nucleus of this was 'Bruno's Revenge', a short story about two fairy children which had appeared in Aunt Judy's Magazine in 1867. He embedded it in a rambling novel which he hoped 'would not be out of harmony with the graver cadences of life'. Of it his biographer, Morton Cohen, said: 'as a novel it is trite; as a work of philosophic speculation, hazardous', but that it was the most personally revealing of all Dodgson's works.


Carpenter, Humphrey, 'Alice and the Mockery of God', Secret Gardens (1985).
Cohen, Morton N., Lewis Carroll (1995).
Goldthwaite, John, "'The Unwriting of Alice in Wonderland'", in The Natural History of Make-Believe (1996).
Gray, Donald J. (ed.), Alice in Wonderland, Norton Critical Edition (2nd edn., 1992).
Sigler, Carolyn (ed.), Alternative Alices: Visions and Revisions of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books (1997).

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