Alice In Wonderland: Biography: Lewis Carroll

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Biography

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in Daresbury, England on January 27th, 1832. A precocious boy, he wrote often at an early age. By the age of thirteen he was composing trifling bits of poetry for his family and friends. 

In 1850 he attended his first year at Oxford. He studied mathematics (a field which would for years capture his imagination) and won several scholarships and awards. A requirement of his studentship was that he not marry or having any relationships (Oxford, at the time, was still a very strict religious institution and an education there was a closely related to the priesthood). Carroll also took up the hobby of photography and started down the road to becoming a portraitist of some note. It should be made clear that a peculiar Victorian art form was the nude photography of very children, commissioned by the parents. Carroll did in fact do such photography, as it would have been common practice for any portraitist of the time. The photographs were intended to simulate angels and cherubs of classical art. A modern version of this form would be the work of Anne Geddes. It is, essentially, for this reason that Lewis Carroll has sometimes been accused of pedophilia. There is no evidence that he was anything but the proper English bachelor-scholar that he appeared to be.

In 1854 Carroll graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree and published his first bits of both poetry and prose in the Whitby Gazette.

In 1855, selections from what would become the Alice books were published. In the same year Carroll became a lecturer of mathematics at Oxford. In 1856 he first used the pen name of Lewis Carroll.

By 1857 Carroll took a Masters degree in Mathematics and went on to publish several mathematical textbooks. In 1861 the Bishop of Oxford ordained him a deacon.

On July 4th, 1862, Carroll picnicked with the family of Henry George Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford (his boss). They had a young daughter named Alice, with whom Carroll developed a gentle friendship. At that picnic near Godstow, England, Carroll first told Alice of Wonderland. In November, Carroll began writing down the manuscript of the stories he had told Alice Liddell. By February 10th, 1863 Carroll had completed the text version of his story, which he called Alice's Adventures Underground. By 1865 the manuscript had grown and become Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. On December 14th, the book was finally published. Carroll sent a copy of the first edition to Alice Liddell for Christmas.

After the first publication of Wonderland, Carroll went on to pen a sequel (Through the Looking Glass) a variety of books of poetry, several more prose stories, and some mathematical texts.

He died at Guilford, Surrey, on January 14, 1898 at exactly 2:30pm, of influenza, 2 weeks before his 66th birthday, never having been married. Childless, it was his nephew who wrote the first inspection of his life.