Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

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Lewis Carroll | Biography


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who used the pen name Lewis Carroll, was born on January 27, 1832, in Cheshire, England. His father was an Anglo-Catholic clergyman with conservative views on religion. Dodgson was taught at home until age 12, when he was sent to Rugby School. He was deaf in one ear and troubled with a stammer, and older Rugby boys made life miserable for him. Nevertheless, he did very well academically and was admitted to Christ Church college at Oxford University.

Dodgson excelled at mathematics and won the highest mathematics honors of anyone in his class. He graduated in 1854, was assigned a mathematical lectureship in 1855, and wrote several books on mathematics between 1879 and 1888. Although his religious views were not nearly as fixed as those of his father, Dodgson became a deacon in the Church of England. Like many Victorians, he was interested in "psychical research" (paranormal research) and mind reading. He was also a skilled amateur photographer and loved designing games and puzzles.

In 1856 a new Christ Church dean, Henry Liddell, came to Oxford with his family. Dodgson, who loved children, became friendly with the Liddell household. He was especially close to three of the Liddell daughters—Lorina, Edith, and Alice—and his adventures with them inspired Alice in Wonderland. But something went wrong in his relationship to the Liddell family, and by the time Alice in Wonderland was published, Dodgson was no longer in contact with Alice Liddell or her siblings. Carroll died on January 14, 1898, in Guildford.

Alice in Wonderland was an immediate popular success with readers of all ages. Well over 7,500 different editions have been published, and it's one of the most quoted books in the world.

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