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Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was the exceptionally talented creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In addition to being an author, Dodgson also possessed qualities of a logician, mathematician, Anglican deacon and photographer. Belonging to the genre of literature called literary nonsense, some of his most famous works other than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland include its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and poems, The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky. Dodgson was the master of creating fantasy and highly acclaimed for his sharp skills at word play and logic.

Dodgson was born on January 27, 1832 at Daresbury, Cheshire. He was the third child of his parents and was followed by eight more. He was educated at home during his early years and went to school at the age of 12 after the family moved to North Yorkshire when Dodgson’s father was posted there as rector of Croft in Yorkshire. He attended the Richmond Grammar School while contributing prose, poetry and drawings to a series of family magazines.

Struggling with a stammer condition throughout his childhood, Dodgson moved to Rugby School in 1846. Leaving Rugby in 1849, he completed his matriculation from Christ Church, Oxford in 1850 and continued studying there obtaining residency in early 1851. Although Dodgson did not always work hard, he showed brilliance and achieved excellence in mathematics. In 1852, he was awarded first class honors in Mathematics Moderations followed by another first class honors in the Final Honours School of Mathematics. His exceptional academic record and mathematical skills won him the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship in 1855. He taught at the college for twenty-six years. All through this time Dodgson continued to write and publish his works frequently under the pen name, Lewis Carroll.

In 1856, Henry Liddell, a new dean of the college arrived in Christ Church. Carroll formed a bonding relationship with his family who played an influential role in his writing career. In July 1862, on a boat trip with the Liddell family, Carroll passed time by telling the children, particularly Alice Liddell, a nonsense tale. Alice persuaded him to write it down. In 1864, Carroll presented Alice with a handwritten illustrated manuscript of the story, Alice’s Adventures Underground. Before he gave it to Alice, Carroll’s friend, George MacDonald along with his children read the manuscript and insisted Carroll to get it published. The publication of the book significantly changed Carroll’s life. In addition to gaining a huge fan following, Carroll also began earning huge sums of money. The success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland encouraged Carroll to publish a sequel entitled, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1871. Lewis Carroll’s last significant work came to surface in 1876, another work of nonsense literature, the poem was entitled, The Hunting of the Snark.

A prolific writer, Carroll wrote several novels, short stories and mathematical works. He also contributed his analysis and critique to political pamphlets. Although his literary fame and success came from writing children’s book, he preferred to see himself as a man of science and mathematics. Lewis Carroll was laid to rest in Mount Cemetery, Guildford, Surrey after he died of bronchitis on January 14, 1898.

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