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Great Literature

Lewis Carroll And His Works

Lewis Carroll
1832 - 1898

Lewis Carroll {a pseudonym} was born on 27th January 1832 as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in the little parsonage of Daresbury in Cheshire. In his life he was not only a well-known British author, but also as a mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer. He was born into a well to do family with a long line of members in both the army and the Anglican church, many of his ancestors were also named Charles including his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so on.

Charles' father, Charles went to Westminster School, and thence to Christ Church, Oxford. He was mathematically gifted and won a double first degree. He was indeed a brilliant person who could have gone in a different direction in life. Instead he decided to become a parson and married his cousin to live a quiet life in the country.

Young Charles was raised with 10 brothers and sisters. When Charles was just 11 years of age, his father was given a place to live by the church at Croft-on-Tees in north Yorkshire and the whole family moved to the spacious Rectory.

In the early years he was educated at home. He showed amazing brilliance for his age and soon attended school at age twelve where he was sent away to a small private school at nearby Richmond and then on to Rugby School, located in the town of Rugby in Warwickshire. He later attended Christ Church, Oxford as his father did before him.

He held a teaching position as a mathematician, but was not an effective teacher as he had a problem with stammering which made communication difficult with a class that was largely uninterested in the subject matter. It has also been suspected, though not proven, that he may have had epilepsy.

In 1856, Charles sought more enjoyable activities as math was a bore. One of his talents was found in photography. The odd thing about his collection and themes therein was it was more than half made up of little girls with and without clothing giving him a reputation as a possible paedophile. Alexandra Kitchin was one of his favourite models who happened to be a family friend. Most of his children photo collection had either been sent to the child's family or deliberately destroyed. Charles work as a photographer ended in the 1880s.

The debate over whether Charles was a paedophile or not still continues. He in fact was keenly interested in adult women and enjoyed several relationships with women, married and single, many of these were friends he had since childhood. He never married nor had children of his own. The rumors about his sexual inclinations came about due to his family suppressing his diaries and other documents along with the huge collection of nude children photos they tried to eliminate. It is also argued that during the Victorian era, many people photographed pictures of nude children to show their innocence and this was a social norm. However, most people did not have such a huge collection.

That rumor was serious, but the more laughable rumor concerning Charles was that he was Jack The Ripper.

In 1856 he published his first piece of work, a poem called "Solitude" which appeared in The Train under his well known name Lewis Carroll. He came up with this name as a play on his real name. Lewis is the Anglicised version of Ludovicus which is the Latin word for his last name of Lutwidge. Carroll is the Anglicised version of Carolus which is Latin for Charles.

His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the comic poem The Hunting of the Snark. He also published many mathematical papers and books under his own name.

In spite of his growing wealth and fame, he continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881 when he retired. He was allowed to live in his residence until his death on 14th, January 1898.