Lewis Carroll is one of the most beloved authors of our time. His most famous works include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass. Lewis Carroll lived a fascinating life as a very talented author.
While he is best known as an author under his pen name of Lewis Carroll, he was actually a man of many different talents and trades, including author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer.
Born January 27, 1832, Lewis Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
At the age of 19, in 1951, he moved to Oxford and began attending Christ Church, the same school his father attended. Despite his intelligence, which made success in school easy for him, he admitted that he had an inability to apply himself to his schooling. Nonetheless, 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. He remained at Christ Church until he died in 1898.
Lewis Carroll served at Christ Church in various capacities. In 1861, he took holy orders (which included the commitment to not marry) and was a deacon at the Christ Church Cathedral. However, he had a stuttering problem that made both leading services as well as teaching difficult for him. He was never fully ordained a priest, as his hobbies often made it difficult to completely devote himself to the parish. He traveled the country to photograph. Another hobby he began was his writing, which he did after the encouragement of friends.
His career as a writer
Even at a young age, Lewis Carroll was a writer, writing poetry and short stories. A number of his earlier works were published successfully in a variety of magazines, with work appearing in a number of national publications around England.
He published his first work under his pen name, Lewis Carroll, in 1856. The pen name is actually a play on words of his real nameâ€”Lewis is the anglisized form of Ludovcicus, which is Latin for his middle name Lutwidge, and Carroll is the anglicized version of Carolus, Latin for Charles. The work was a romantic poem called “Solitude.”
Lewis Carroll is best known for his fantasy works, his most famous writings being Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, as well as the poems The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky. These works have been classified in the literary genre of “literary nonsense.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865 and has been successful ever since then.
The background of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an interesting one. Lewis Carroll had a strong friendship with the Dean at Christ Church and his family, which included three young daughters, one of whom was named Alice. The Alice stories, named after Alice, who asked him to tell her a story, came from boating down the Thames with the three girls. While he often told stories to the girls while boating, this time Alice asked him to write them down for her. Eventually, he wrote them down and had them illustrated by John Tenniel, a well-known cartoonist.
Lewis Carroll lived a rich and interesting life as a famous author, clergyman, photographer, mathematician, and college professor. Over a hundred years later, people all over the world are still enjoying his books and poetry.
Learn more with these Alice in Wonderland websites.