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Charles Ludwidge Dodgson was born on January 27 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, the third child out of eleven born to Rev. Charles and Frances Dodgson. In 1843 his family moved to Croft-on-Tees, Yorkshire, where they lived in the large Rectory; they lived there for the following 25 years. Dodgson was educated at home at first, where he displayed great intellect, having read The Pilgrim’s Progress at age 7. He went to boarding school in Richmond, Yorkshire, in 1844, where he was quite happy, and then Rugby school from 1846 to 1849, where he was considerably less so.

In 1851, he went up to Oxford to his father’s old college, Christ’s Church. Two days after his arrival, he was summoned home; his mother had died of “inflammation of brain”, something that may have been called meningitis or stroke today. Despite this loss, Dodgson still did well at Oxford. In 1854 he received First Class Honours in Mathematics, and in 1855, he was appointed Mathematical Lecturer. He was paid well, but it bored him, as the students were not extremely intelligent, and most were disinterested.

Young adult Charles Dodgson was roughly 6ft tall; he was slender, with brown curls and blue eyes. It was a bout of whooping cough at 17 that caused him to have poor hearing in his left ear, a chronically weak chest, and created the stammer which never went away the rest of his life. He was egoistic, greatly enjoyed and actively sought attention; he was also socially ambitious, constantly sending out his art and writing to several magazines, always improving, always trying to find ways to create better work from which he could make money.

In 1856, he created his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, to accompany the poem “Solitude”, which was published in The Train. The same year, the new Dean arrived, Henry Liddell; he became friends with the mother and the children of the family, and often took the girls out on outings. In 1862, on one of these outings, Alice in Wonderland was born, and was written down and published with the encouragement of one of the girls, Alice Liddell, in 1865, under the same pseudonym he had created in 1856.


After Alice in Wonderland, his fame continued to grow as he published more and more literature. He published Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there in 1872, his poem The Hunting of the Snark in 1876, and his novel Sylvie and Bruno in two parts in 1889 and 1893 respectively. (Leach) He also published many mathematical pieces under his own name, like "Euclid and His Modern Rivals” in 1979, and “Symbolic Logic Part One” in 1896; part two was never finished. (Woolf) He continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and stayed there until he died of pneumonia January 14, 1898. (Leach)

Lewis Carroll

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