Today we are celebrating the birthday of Lewis Carroll, the renowned author of Alice in Wonderland.
Born on January 27th 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was the eldest son and third child in a family of seven girls and four boys born to Frances Jane Lutwidge and Rev. Charles Dodgson. He was an English logician, mathematician, photographer, Anglican deacon and novelist.
Dodgson was an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1850. Whilst there, he excelled in mathematics and, on the strength of his examinations, was nominated to a studentship. He went on to become a ‘Master of the House’ and a senior student. In 1855, he was appointed a lecturer in mathematics, a position he held for 26 years, until his resignation in 1881.
As Charles L. Dodgson, he published a number of academic works on mathematics. However, it was his novels, written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, a pen name based on the Latinate form of his first names Charles Lutwidge, for which he is well-known. Dodgson is known to have had close friendships with children, and it was whilst in the company of the children of Henry George Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church, that the story of Alice in Wonderland began to take shape. The story was first told on a picnic during a river trip with Alice Liddell and her sisters on 4th July 1862. Alice enjoyed the story so much that she begged Dodgson to write it down, which he did, presenting it to her for her birthday in 1864 complete with illustrations. The book was published in 1865. The success of the book encouraged Dodgson to write a sequel, Through the Looking Glass, published in 1872.
Under Lewis Carroll he published a number of novels and poetry, including The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky, which are renowned for their wordplay and nonsense language. His works are viewed as belonging to the genre of literature called literary nonsense.
By his death, Alice’s Adventures had become the most popular children’s book in England; by his centenary in 1932, it was one of the most popular children’s books in the world. Lewis Carroll was laid to rest in Guildford, Surrey after he died of bronchitis on January 14th, 1898.
Below is a list of books we publish with chapters on Lewis Carroll or Alice in Wonderland that would be enjoyed by any Lewis Carroll enthusiasts: