Lewis Carroll was a famous 19th-century novelist, poet, mathematician, lecturer and clergyman best known for his imaginative writings for children. Some of his most famous books include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
Who is Lewis Carroll?
Lewis Carroll, born January 27, 1832, was actually born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He didn’t begin using the pen name of Lewis Carroll until the age of 24 in 1856, when he published a romantic poem called Solitude. The names Lewis and Carroll are the anglicized versions of his real name.
He began writing poems and short stories from a young age, and even earned money from them by publishing them in a variety of British publications. However, before he earned fame from his writing, he was involved in a number of other professions.
When he was 19, Lewis Carroll moved from his family’s home and began attending Christ Church, the same school his father attended. He was very academically inclined, particularly in mathematics. He received a BA and then went on to graduate with an MA three years later. He also won the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship, teaching math for the next 26 years.
Lewis Carroll remained at Christ Church until he died in 1898, serving in a number of capacities. He took holy orders at 29 and became a deacon for Christ Church. However, his writing and hobbies kept him from becoming a priest.
Why is Lewis Carroll Significant?
Lewis Carroll is considered a significant author of his time for a number of reasons. His most famous works, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, have been studied for years.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were written for children and based on stories he told to a young girl named Alice Liddell, whom he befriended. He father was the Dean at Christ Church, and Lewis became close friends of the Liddell family.
The Alice books are often said to be significant because, if you read them, you’ll notice they are full of complicated, seemingly mature thought processes and reasoning. Many experts think Lewis Carroll did this purposely to illustrate that children are capable of complicated thoughts and reasoning as well, sometimes even more so than adults.
The complicated writing also has led many critics to speculate on the hidden meanings behind his books and poems, in particular the Alice books, which is why many people also believe that contrary to popular belief, these books are not intended for children, but rather adults whom Carroll believes should have the opportunity to revisit their childhood. Other people, on the other hand, believe that Carroll, who had a strong affection for children, wrote these books in defense of children. In the 1800s when the books were published, children did not have the rights and were not thought of very highly as they are now. Many believe that Carroll wrote the Alice books in defense of children and to prove that they are capable of the same thoughts, feelings, and reasoning powers as adults.
Regardless of his intended audience, his hidden meanings, or any of the other many reasons his works are considered significant, Lewis Carroll was a gifted human being and storyteller who managed to write tales and poetry that have been loved and read by adults and children for many years.