We are celebrating the birth of literature’s most fantastical author Charles L Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, born on January 27th 1832. He gave us the brilliant children’s classics “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and “Through the Looking Glass” (1871) which have created various adaptations from films to comic books.
He suffered from a stammer throughout his childhood and found that when he spoke to children, he was vocally fluent.
In 1855 his exceptional mathematic skills won him the opportunity to lecture at Christ Church College, he taught there for 26 years. So whilst he worked at the college he also wrote his famous classics under his pen name Lewis Carroll.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.
Henry Liddell became the new dean of the college in 1856 and with him he bought the inspiration for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, his daughter Alice Liddell. The original story was written by Dodgson for Alice as a Christmas present. However before giving it to Alice, he had his friend George MacDonald read the manuscript and insisted that he got it published.
He published “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865 and due to its mammoth success he created the sequel “Through the Looking Glass” in 1871.
Just before his 66th birthday he sadly caught influenza which led to pneumonia and he died on January 14th, 1898. By the time of his death, Alice became the most popular children’s book in England and by 1932 it was the most popular in the world.
“Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
My personal love for Alice in Wonderland began with my first ever World Book Day at Primary School. I dressed as Alice and I won a prize. I was over the moon. I don’t think I ever understood the story as it is rather nonsensical; however I did enjoy the songs and Alice herself in Walt Disney’s classic and when I was old enough to appreciate the original novel, it has become one of my favourite classic books.
Without Lewis Carroll I wouldn’t have such fond memories of some of my most well-loved adapted characters; however you can never beat the original. So thank you for creating such a beautiful place as Wonderland to escape to when the real-world gets a bit too much.