Who Is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)?June 25, 2021
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was a famous English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican priest, and photographer.
Carroll’s most famous works; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (“Alice in Wonderland”) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass (“Through the Looking-Glass”) and poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky” are all examples of absurd literature. He gained fame thanks to his talent in word games, logic and fantasy. But beyond that, his works are well entrenched in modern culture. It has directly influenced many artists. In many parts of the world, notably in North America, Japan, England and New Zealand, there are organizations devoted solely to the enjoyment and further dissemination of Carroll’s work and the study of his life.
In his youth, Dodgson was homeschooled. The “reading lists” preserved in the family archives testify to Dodgson’s worthy intellect: At the age of seven he was reading the Christian allegory, The Crucifixion. He also suffered from a form of stuttering that affected many of his siblings and affected his social life.
At the age of twelve he was sent to Richmond Grammar School near Richmond.
In 1846 the young Dodgson was sent to Rugby School. That he was not very happy there can be clearly seen in the following paragraph, which he wrote a few years after he left:
“I can’t say… any earthly thought can persuade me to relive these three years… I can honestly say… if I had been safe from the rigors of the night, it would have been relatively easy to endure the rigors of daily life.”
But Dodgson had no trouble succeeding in his education. Mathematics teacher at that time, R.B. Mayor said of him, “I haven’t seen a more promising boy since I came to Rugby.”
He left Rugby in 1849 and enrolled at Oxford in May 1850 as a member of his father’s old school, Christ Church. He settled in a house in January 1851, after waiting for dorm rooms to be empty at the university. He had only been in Oxford for two days when the call to come back home came. His mother had died at the age of forty-seven of “brain inflammation”, perhaps from meningitis or a cerebral stroke.
Early in his academic career, he fluctuated between showing great promise and having an irresistible distraction. He didn’t always work hard, but he was very talented and easy for him to achieve. He earned honors in Mathematics in 1852, and soon after, an old friend of his father’s, Canon Edward Bouverie Pusey, nominated him for a scholarship. In 1854, he completed his undergraduate education as an honor student in Mathematics in the final exams.
He stayed at Christ Church. He worked and taught at the same time. However, he missed a crucial scholarship the following year. He himself admitted that it was because he was not sufficiently devoted to work. However, thanks to his talent in mathematics, he got the chance to teach mathematics at Christ Church in 1855. Dodgson held this post for the next twenty-six years. Despite his initial unhappiness, Dodgson remained at Christ Church until his death and held many positions.
Charles Dodgson was a tall, slender young man with curly brown hair and gray or blue eyes, depending on the situation. It is said that in his later years his body was asymmetrical and that he had a somewhat awkward and too upright posture, but this may have been the result of a knee injury he suffered in middle age. As a very young child, he lost his ability to hear in one ear as a result of a febrile illness. Severe pertussis at the age of seventeen was most likely the cause of chronic pulmonary diseases later in life. Another problem is stuttering, which he describes as “hesitancy”, which he acquired in his childhood and which has been his scourge throughout his life.
The influence of his stuttering on Dodgson’s behavior has always been very strong. There is a belief that Dodgson stutters only among adults, that he can express himself very fluently and freely when speaking to children, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this belief.
While many children familiar with him remember stuttering, most adults have not noticed it. He seems to be focusing more on Dodgson stuttering than on people he meets. Dodgson is said to have caricatured himself as the Dodo in “Alice in Wonderland,” and identified the character with himself because of difficulty pronouncing his last name, but there is no first-hand evidence of this.
Although Dodgson’s stuttering bothered him, it did not prevent him from taking a place in society by using his other personal characteristics. Singing to entertain the community, where people entertain themselves, or