Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, pseud. of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832–98, English writer, mathematician, and amateur photographer, b. near Daresbury, Cheshire (now in Halton). Educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, he was nominated to a studentship (life fellowship) in 1852, and he remained at Oxford for the rest of his life. Although his fellowship was clerical, Carroll never proceeded higher than his ordination as a deacon in 1861. Shy and afflicted with a stammer, he felt himself unsuited to the demanding life of a minister. He did, however, lecture in mathematics at Christ Church from 1855 until 1881. Among his mathematical works, now almost forgotten, is Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879).

Carroll is chiefly remembered as the author of the famous children's books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass (1872), both published under his pseudonym and both illustrated by Sir John Tenniel. He developed these stories from tales he told to the children of H. G. Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College, one of whom was named Alice. Many of his characters—the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, and the White Queen—have become familiar figures in literature and conversation. Although numerous satiric and symbolic meanings have been read into Alice's adventures, the works can be read and valued as simple exercises in fantasy. Carroll himself said that in the books he meant only nonsense. He also wrote humorous verses, the most popular of them being The Hunting of the Snark (1876). His later stories for children, Sylvie and Bruno (1889) and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893), though containing interesting experiments in construction, are widely regarded as failures.

Carroll remained a bachelor all his life. Partly because of his stammer he found association with adults difficult and was most at ease in the company of children, especially little girls, with whom he was clearly obsessed. Early in 1856 he took up photography as a hobby; his photographs of children are still considered remarkable.


See his complete works (ed. by A. Woolcott, 1939) and many recent editions; M. Gardner, ed., The Annotated Alice (1960, repr. 1970); S. Collingwood, Life and Letters (1898, repr. 1968); E. Wakeling, Lewis Carroll, Photographer (2002); biography by M. N. Cohen (1995), mathematical biography by R. Wilson (2008); studies by B. Clark (1988), R. Kelly (1990), and J. Wullschläger (1995); critical essays ed. by H. Bloom (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Lewis Carroll: Selected full-text books and articles

Alice in Wonderland By Lewis Carroll; John Tenniel Harper Festival, 2000
FREE! Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There By Lewis Carroll; John Tenniel Macmillan, 1906
The Alice behind Wonderland By Simon Winchester Oxford University Press, 2011
FREE! Phantasmagoria: And Other Poems By Lewis Carroll; Arthur B. Frost MacMillan, 1911
Lewis Carroll and Psychoanalysis: Why Nothing Adds Up in Wonderland By Lane, Christopher International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 92, No. 4, August 2011
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Natural History of Make-Believe: A Guide to the Principal Works of Britain, Europe, and America By John Goldthwaite Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "A Tutor Recants: The Unwriting of Alice in Wonderland"
Oxford in Wonderland By Day, David Queen's Quarterly, Vol. 117, No. 3, Fall 2010
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Dodgson's Dark Conceit: Evoking the Allegorical Lineage of Alice By Wheat, Andrew R Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, Vol. 61, No. 2, Winter 2009
In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People with Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images, and the Ironies of Creativity By Thomas G. West Prometheus Books, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "The Forgetful Mathematician: Lewis Carroll" begins on p. 131
A History of Game Theory By Mary Ann Dimand; Robert W. Dimand Routledge, vol.1, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Lewis Carroll and the Game of Politics"
The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature By Humphrey Carpenter; Mari Prichard Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Carroll, Lewis" begins on p. 97
Nineteenth-Century Women Writers of the English-Speaking World By Rhoda B. Nathan Greenwood Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Lewis Carroll and the Education of Victorian Women"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.