Read about Lewis Carroll

Brief Biography

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author best known for Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and other classic children’s books.

He was born on January 27th, 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, to Charles Dodgson, a clergyman, and Frances Jane Lutwidge. Lewis was the oldest boy of 11 children born to his parents, and because of his father’s church activities he was raised in a spacious rectory in North Yorkshire.

Lewis was homeschooled until he was 12 years old, at which time he was sent to Richmond Grammar School. His school years at Rugby (1846-1849) were unhappy. Lewis went on to be educated at Oxford and in 1850 he was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford. He graduated in 1854, and in 1855 he became mathematical lecturer at the college. He was a noted mathematician.

His literary career supposedly began as the result of a picnic, where he told a young girl named Alice, a story. The story would later become Alice in Wonderland.

Some Interesting Facts about Lewis Carroll

  • Lewis Carroll was deaf in one ear. He had a fever as a young child that was believed to be the cause of the deafness.
  • Lewis Carrol had a stammer, for which he was often teased for growing up.
  • There are a few theories of how Alice in Wonderland came to be. One theory is that Lewis Carroll told the story to Alice Lidell, the daughter of Henry Lidell, who then encouraged Lewis to publish his story. Another theory is that Lewis Carroll told the story to George MacDonald’s children, and he encouraged Lewis to publish it. George MacDonald was a children’s author as well, and Lewis Carroll’s mentor.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published in 1865. It became very popular.
  • Lewis Carroll wrote the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, titled Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. It was published in 1871.
  • Lewis Carroll was also a photographer, and took many photographs that still exist today. He photographed people in higher social circles including Lord Salisbury and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
  • Although Lewis Carroll was a wealthy and famous writer he taught at Christ Church his entire adult life.
  • By the time Lewis Carroll died at the age of 65, in 1898, Alice was England’s most popular children’s book.
  • By 1932 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was one of the most popular children’s books in the world. It has been made into several movies.
  • There is a library called the Lewis Carroll Children’s Library in Islington on Copenhagen Street.
  • There is a memorial stone for Lewis Carroll in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey. It was unveiled by Lewis Carroll’s great-nephew in 1982.
  • There is an interesting link between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Specifically, the title of Carroll’s book was suggested to him by Tom Taylor, the author of Our American Cousin – the play Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated in 1865. Carroll wanted to call his book Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, but Taylor thought that with such a title, young readers might think the book had something to do with mining!
  • He almost always brewed his tea for exactly ten minutes. He would time it, too. Quite fitting that the author who was also a mathematician took such a mathematical and precise attitude even when it came to his afternoon tea.
  • He called himself ‘Dodo’. ‘Dodo’ was a result of his stammering pronunciation of his surname. The dodo in the illustration in the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland represents Lewis Carroll.
  • “Alice in Wonderland” is chock-full of animals, including the Cheshire cat, flamingos that serve as croquet mallets, a baby that turns into a pig, a Jubjub bird, March hare, White rabbit, and Absolem the Caterpillar.

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