Alice In Wonderland author’s regret: Why Lewis Carroll hated being a literary legend

Alice In Wonderland author’s regret: Why Lewis Carroll hated being a literary legend

ACCORDING to a previously unseen letter which will soon be auctioned author Lewis Carroll despised fame a great deal he wished he had never written the books about Alice’s adventures that made him a legend that is literary

Lewis Carroll’s life changed forever after Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published GETTY

An obscure mathematician called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned a range of learned works with titles such as A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry and The Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically in the mid-19th century.

Five years after the latter in 1865 he embarked on a change that is radical of.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll along with his life changed for good.

Queen Victoria loved it, fan mail arrived because of the sackful and then he started to be recognised in the street.

This is sheer hell for a shy and retiring academic who doubled as an Anglican deacon while the extent of his torment is revealed for the first time in a previously unseen letter which can be anticipated to fetch a lot more than Ј4,000 when it is auctioned at Bonhams month that is next.

In the letter written to Anne Symonds, the widow of eminent Oxford surgeon Frederick Symonds, he laments being thrust to the public eye by his success and treated like a zoo animal by admirers.

He even suggests that he wishes he previously never written the classic tales that brought him worldwide fame.

“All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection aided by the books, and to my being pointed out to, and stared at by strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’,” he wrote.

“And I hate all of that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I had never written any books after all.”

The letter, written in 1891, was penned 26 years after the publication of Alice In Wonderland, when he was 59 november.

He died six years later and if he had known then how his reputation would be tarnished in death he would have been even more horrified. His fondness for the kids along with his practice of photographing and sketching them, sometimes when you look at the nude, resulted in a lynching that is posthumous the court of literary opinion.

As a result the creative genius who gave us Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat plus the Mad Hatter was labelled a pervert, paedophile and pornographer.

Alice Liddell inspired him to write the book GETTY

and I also hate all of that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I experienced never written any books at all

The reality that four of this 13 volumes of his diaries mysteriously went missing and that seven pages of another were torn out by an hand that is unknown put into the circumstantial evidence against him.

But while Dodgson never married, there clearly was loads of evidence in his diaries that he had a keen interest in adult women both married and single and enjoyed a wide range of relationships that could have now been considered scandalous by the standards of that time.

Sympathetic historians also argue his studies of naked children have to be noticed in the context of their hours.

The “Victorian child cult” perceived nudity as an expression of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable instead of emblematic of a sick fascination with young flesh.

The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its roots in his relationship because of the little girl who was the inspiration for his fictional Alice. The real-life Alice was the younger daughter of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, where Dodgson plied his trade as a mathematician and served as a deacon.

She was by all accounts a pretty and vivacious 10-year-old when he first surely got to know her and he would often take her out along with her sisters for picnics and boat trips in the Thames.

On these days he would entertain them with his stories about the Alice that is fictional he had been eventually persuaded to place into book form and send to a publisher.

While his critics have suggested after growing into adolescence, one biographer proposes a very different analysis that he grew fixated with Alice Liddell, took photographs of her in inappropriate poses and was devastated when she broke away from him.

The dodo presenting Alice with a thimble in an illustration by Tenniel GETTY

“There is not any evidence from her presence. that he was in love with her,” wrote Karoline Leach into the Shadow regarding the Dreamchild. “No evidence that her family focused on her, no evidence that they banned him”

She added: “There are no letters or private diary entries to suggest any type of romantic or passionate attachment, or even to indicate that he had a unique interest in her for any but the briefest time.”

It absolutely was not Alice who was the main focus of Dodgson’s attentions, she suggests, but her mother Lorina. Far from being a means of grooming the daughter, their day trips were a cover for a passionate and affair that is reckless the caretaker. When the Alice books were written Dodgson was at his 30s that are early.

Lorina, while 5 years older, was – into the words of writer William Langley – “a free spirit and a renowned beauty stuck in a dull marriage to Henry, the Dean, who was both notoriously boring and reputedly homosexual”.

He added:“Carroll might have been regarded as something of an oddity around Oxford however in contrast to Henry he was handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. In which he was able to spend an astonishing amount of time at the Liddells’ house most of it while Henry wasn’t in.”

It click was this liaison, relating to Leach, which led nearest and dearest to censor his diaries rather than any inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. Her thesis is sustained by the findings of another author, Jenny Woolf.

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She tracked down Dodgson’s bank records for her 2010 book The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll and discovered that despite often being with debt Dodgson gave away about Ј50 per year (Ј5,500 in today’s money) to various charities while earning an income of Ј300 (Ј33,000 today) teaching mathematics at Christ Church and double that in the shape of royalty payments from Macmillian, his publisher.

An organisation that “used to track down and prosecute men who interfered with children” among the charities Dodgson supported was the Society For The Protection Of Women And Children.

Woolf adds: “He also supported other charities which rehabilitated women who have been trafficked and abused and a hospital which specialised in the treatment plan for venereal disease. It suggests the damage concerned him the sex trade inflicted upon women.”

A sceptic might argue that it was the window-dressing of a young child abuser but Woolf makes a telling point in the favour.

About RogueAdventurer

Nic Jenzen-Jones is a freelance consult for the private security and defence industries. He is currently the co-editor of Security Scholar (securityscholar.com.au) and can be found on Twitter (@RogueAdventurer).
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