Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!

Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was born on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, England.  His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poems “Jabberwocky” and “The Hunting of the Snark.”  In his later life, he wrote Sylvie and Bruno as an attempted comeback from his early success with his Alice books.

Besides being a writer, he was a mathematician, a logician, an Anglican deacon, and a photographer. In addition to his works of fiction, he wrote nearly a dozen mathematical books and a logistics book which were published under his real name, though some of these were published posthumously.

When he was a young child, he suffered a fever that left him deaf in one ear.  He also stammered as a child, and this condition plagued him throughout his life.  And at seventeen, he suffered a severe attack of whooping cough that caused him to be weak in the chest later in his life.  He was homeschooled through his childhood, and later he attended Oxford, though he was there only two days when he was called home because his mother died.

In 1856, he took up the new art of photography, and at one point even considered making a career of it.  He was an avid photographer who often took photos of young girls (who were sometimes nude), and as such, and because he was a lifelong bachelor, there were nasty speculative rumors spread about him.

He is credited with numerous inventions, and he also devised numerous word games, one of which was an early version of what we now know as Scrabble.  He died on January 14, 1898, from pneumonia which followed a bout of influenza.  He died two weeks prior to his sixty-sixth birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Carroll!

Let’s chat!  Who is your favorite Alice in Wonderland character?  Have you ever heard of Sylvie and Bruno? 

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19 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!

  1. Once upon a long ago when I was at university in Guildford (Surrey) I visited his grave. It was part of a scavenger hunt type thing (though we didn’t have to steal his gravestone or anything, obviously!).

  2. You definitely have a knack for digging up rare trivia on people for their birthdays! I love Alice and Wonderland but would be hard pressed to find a favorite among the bizarre cast of characters. Like a favorite song, it would change from day to day.

  3. I kind of thought everyone knew about his photographs of nude girls and that Alice was a real girl, but I tend to know bizarre historical trivia. 🙂 I don’t think I have a favorite character. I love the “Jabberwocky” poem, of course. It’s been so long since I’ve read either book (the Alice books, not his math books), but it’s interesting how so many of the characters are well-known even by people who’ve never read the books. Two contrasting White Rabbits: when I was child, I had a Danny Kaye album with the song, “I’m Late,” that the White Rabbit sings, and then there’s Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”
    See what you’ve done, Rachel? I’ve gone down the memory lane rabbit hole! 🙂

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