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Charles L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

1832-1898

English author best known for his creation of the immortal fantasy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Lewis Carroll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
tinted monochrome 3/4-length photo portrait of seated Dodgson holding a book
 
Born 27 January 1832
Daresbury, Cheshire, England
Died 14 January 1898 (aged 65)
Guildford, Surrey, England
Pen name Lewis Carroll
Occupation Author, mathematician, Anglicanclergyman, photographer
Nationality British
Genres Children's literature, fantasy literature, poetry, literary nonsense
Notablework(s) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,Through the Looking-Glass, "The Hunting of the Snark", "Jabberwocky"

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson(pronounced /ˈdɒdsən/, DOD-sən; 27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll(/ˈkærəl/, KAH-rəl), was an Englishauthor, mathematician, logician,Anglican deacon and a 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 examples of the genre of literary nonsense. He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy, and 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 the United Kingdom,Japan, the United States, and New Zealand.

 Antecedents

Dodgson's family was predominantly northern English, with 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 bishop. His grandfather, another Charles, had been an army captain, killed in action in 1803 when his two sons were hardly more than babies. His mother's name was Frances Jane Lutwidge.[1]

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 became a country parson.[2]

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 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.[3]

Dodgson was born in the little parsonage of Daresbury near Warrington, Cheshire, the oldest boy but already the third child of the four-and-a-half-year-old marriage. Eight more were to follow. 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.

 Education

 Rugby

During his early youth, 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 (now part ofRichmond School), where he appears to have been happy and settled. But in 1846, 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.[4]

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.[4]


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