Lewis Carroll

Of all of Lewis Carroll?s works, Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland has a unique standing in the category of whimsical, nonsense literature. Much has been written about how this novel contrasts with the vast amount of strict, extremely moralistic children?s literature of the Victorian time Lewis Carroll lived in. Yet, as odd as this novel appears in relation to the other Victorian children?s stories, this short novel is odder because it was written by an extremely upright, ultra conservative man; a Victorian gentleman. Even though the novel seems to contrast with the time of Lewis Carroll, many experiences of Lewis Carroll and his unique character have a great influence in the creation of Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland.
Lewis Carroll, the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury England. He was the oldest boy in a family of eleven children of Reverend Charles Dodgson and his wife, Francis Jane Lutwidge. The childhood of Lewis Carroll was relatively pleasant, full of ideas and hobbies that contributed to his future creative works. Carroll?s life at Daresbury was rather secluded, and his playmates were mostly his brothers and sisters (Green 18). Interacting with mostly his sisters, he was the "master of their ceremonies, inventor of games, magician, marionette theater manager, and editor of family journals" (DLB v. 163 45). A great deal of Carroll?s childhood was spent taking care of his little sisters, and his imagination was constantly being exercised in order to entertain them (Green 18). A childhood trouble that Carroll possessed and persisted throughout his life was stammering severely. It is suggested that his stammer may have arisen from his parent?s attempts to correct his left-handedness. This attempt early in his life may have caused Carroll to think he was not normal, therefore hurting his self-confidence (Kelly 13-14). When Carroll spoke to adults, his speech became extremely difficult to understand. Apparently, he panicked; his shyness and stammering always seemed worse when he was in a world of adults (Leach 2). Partly as a result of his stammering, he felt very comfortable around children and he was able to easily form close relationships among them. While speaking with younger children, Carroll?s stammering had magically disappeared. He "simply became one of them-whether or not they accepted him-and most did" (Pudney 20). As a child, Carroll had a fondness of inventing games and language puzzles (14).
Lewis Carroll "divided himself into two names, Lewis Carroll and Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson" (DLB v.18 45). The pen name Lewis Carroll is very interesting as to how it was created. While teaching at Christ Church, Oxford, Carroll wrote comic literature and parodies for a humorous paper. The editor thought Dodgson needed a name that was not too journalistic. Dodgson wrote to his editor and suggested a number of variations and anagrams based on the letters of his actual name, "Charles Lutwidge Dodgson." "Lewis Carroll was the name finally decided upon (Pudney 53). Clearly, Carroll was fascinated with anagrams and various patterns and puzzles. The pen name that he created, he tried to keep totally separate from his born name, which creates the idea of Carroll having two selves: the pragmatic character of the regular, Oxford don and the mysterious character living in a shadowy world of fantasy. Carroll insisted on this division to a great extent and he would not accept fan mail addressed to Lewis Carroll at Christ Church (DLB v.18 45). Another odd obsession of Carroll?s was wearing gloves all the time when being in the outdoors. No matter what the temperature was, he would wear gloves (Pudney 13).
Reverend Charles Dodgson, Carroll?s father, had a big impact on his life. When Carroll was 36 years old, his father passed away and he called this the "saddest blow he has known". His father was an honorable minister of Christ Church and the Christ Church of England. His father mounted Carroll?s religious devotion and a "belief in earnest endeavor strong enough to make Carroll sometimes feel slack in his work and tardy in his progress." Those who knew Reverend Dodgson would probably think he was a pious and gloomy man, almost devoid of any sense of humor. Yet, in his letters to his son, there evidence of a remarkable sense of fun. For example, in one letter he writes: "I will have a file and a screwdriver, and a ring, and if they are