Alice In Wonderland author’s regret: Why Lewis Carroll hated being a legend that is literary
Relating to a previously unseen letter that may 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 literary legend
Lewis Carroll’s life changed forever after Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published GETTY
When you look at the mid-19th century an obscure mathematician called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned a variety of learned works closely with titles such as for example A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry together with Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically.
5 years after the latter in 1865 he embarked on a change that is radical of.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published underneath the pseudonym Lewis Carroll along with his life changed for ever.
Queen Victoria loved it, fan mail arrived because of the sackful and then he grew to become recognised in the pub.
This was sheer hell for a shy and retiring academic who doubled as an Anglican deacon plus the extent of his torment is revealed the very first time in a previously unseen letter which will be expected to fetch a lot more than Ј4,000 when it is auctioned at Bonhams month that is next.
The widow of eminent Oxford surgeon Frederick Symonds, he laments being thrust into the public eye by his success and treated like a zoo animal by admirers in the letter written to Anne Symonds.
He even suggests he had never written the classic tales that brought him worldwide fame that he wishes.
“All that kind of publicity contributes to strangers hearing of my real name in connection because of the books, and to my being pointed off to, and stared at by strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’,” he wrote.
“And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I experienced never written any books after all.”
The letter, printed 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 could be tarnished in death he could 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, led to a lynching that is posthumous the court of literary opinion.
Because of this 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 create the book GETTY
And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I had never written any written books after all
The fact four for the 13 volumes of his diaries mysteriously went missing and that seven pages of some other were torn out by an hand that is unknown included with the circumstantial evidence against him.
But while Dodgson never married, there is certainly a lot of evidence in his diaries which he had a interest that is keen adult women both married and single and enjoyed an amount of relationships that will have been considered scandalous by the standards of the time.
Sympathetic historians also argue his studies of naked children need to be noticed in the context of their own time.
The “Victorian child cult” perceived nudity as an expression of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable in place of emblematic of a sick desire for young flesh.
The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its roots in the little girl to his relationship 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 vivacious and pretty 10-year-old when he first surely got to know her and ninjaessays then he would often take her out along with her sisters for picnics and boat trips from the Thames.
On these days he would entertain them with his stories about the fictional Alice, tales he was eventually persuaded to put 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 which he was in love with her,” wrote Karoline Leach in The Shadow of this Dreamchild. “No evidence that her family focused on her, no evidence that they banned him from her presence.”
She added: “There are no letters or private diary entries to suggest almost any romantic or passionate attachment, or to indicate that he had a unique desire for her for any however the briefest time.”
It absolutely was not Alice who was the focus of Dodgson’s attentions, she suggests, but her mother Lorina. Not even close to being a way of grooming the daughter, their day trips were a cover for a separate and affair that is reckless the caretaker. Once the Alice books were written Dodgson was at his 30s that are early.
Lorina, while five years older, was – within the words of writer William Langley – “a free spirit and a renowned beauty stuck in a dull marriage to Henry, the Dean, who had been both notoriously boring and reputedly homosexual”.
He added:“Carroll might have been seen as something of an oddity around Oxford but in contrast to Henry he had been handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. And then he managed to spend an astonishing length of time at the Liddells’ house much of it while Henry wasn’t in.”
It had been this liaison, based on Leach, which led family relations to censor his diaries rather than any inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. Her thesis is supported by the findings of another author, Jenny Woolf.
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 charities that are various earning a salary of Ј300 (Ј33,000 today) teaching mathematics at Christ Church and double that by means of royalty payments from Macmillian, his publisher.
Among the list of charities Dodgson supported was the Society For The Protection Of Women and kids, an organisation that “used to track down and prosecute men who interfered with children”.
Woolf adds: “He also supported other charities which rehabilitated women who was in fact abused and trafficked and a hospital which specialised in the treatment plan for venereal disease. It suggests he was concerned by the damage the sex trade inflicted upon women.”
A sceptic might argue that this was the window-dressing of a young child abuser but Woolf makes a telling point in his favour.