Bayley's Claims about "Alice"
Farrell, Jeremiah, Word Ways
Melanie Bayley, a doctoral candidate in Victorian literature, has recently authored two articles (References 1 and 2) claiming that Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" was Charles Dodgson's attempt to satirize the "new mathematics" of his day. We disagree completely with her thesis. Some of Bayley's specifics:
(1) The episode from "Alice" of "Pig and Pepper" according to Bayley "parodies the principle of continuity, a bizarre concept from projective geometry which was introduced in the mid-19th century from France.... This principle involves the idea that one shape can bend and stretch into another ... a circle is the same as an ellipse or a parabola (the curve of the Cheshire cat's grin)."
(2) Alice's exchange with the Caterpillar, says Bayley "parodies the first purely symbolic system of algebra, proposed in the mid-19th century by Augustus DeMorgan, a London math professor."…
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Publication information: Article title: Bayley's Claims about "Alice". Contributors: Farrell, Jeremiah - Author. Magazine title: Word Ways. Volume: 43. Issue: 3 Publication date: August 2010. Page number: 172+. © 2009 Jeremiah Farrell. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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