Lewis Carroll, the author of two children’s classics ‘Alice in wonderland’ and its sequel ‘Through the Looking Glass’, is lovingly remembered and widely quoted, but very few would associate Carroll (his pen-name) with the Oxford don, Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898).
Yet Carroll was but a shadow—a shadow whose substance was C.L. Dodgson. Dodgson taught mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, for twenty-six years but his twin loves were mathematics and logic on the one hand, and little children on the other. He entertained children, photographed them, and went for outings on the river with them. It was during one such river expedition in 1862 that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was born as narrated to a seven-year-old Alice Liddell. When published in 1865, the book made him famous overnight. The success was repeated with its sequel ‘Through the Looking Glass’ in 1871. Dodgson, a don and a bachelor, was no doubt a genius but he was also an eccentric.
One of his illustrators, Harry Furniss, has summed up the man as ‘a wit, a gentleman, a bore and an egotist—and like Hans Andersen, a spoilt child’. This book explores the life and works of Lewis Carroll, a master of the art of nonsense, who blended logic, mathematics, and poetry into the most glorious absurdity.