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

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

ACCORDING 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 selection of learned works closely with titles such as for example A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry and also the Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically.

5 years after the latter in 1865 he embarked on a radical change of direction.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published underneath the pseudonym Lewis Carroll and his life changed for good.

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

This is sheer hell for a shy and retiring academic who doubled as an Anglican deacon therefore the extent of his torment is revealed for the first time in a previously unseen letter that will be likely to fetch significantly 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 which he wishes he had never written the classic tales that brought him worldwide fame.

“All that sort of publicity results in strangers hearing of my real name in connection aided by the books, and also to my being pointed off 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 experienced never written any books at all.”

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

He died six years later and then how his reputation would be tarnished in death he would have been even more horrified if he had known. His fondness for kids along with his practice of photographing and sketching them, sometimes within 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 together with 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 books after all

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

But while Dodgson never married, there was plenty of evidence in the diaries which he had a interest that is keen adult women both married and single and enjoyed a wide range of relationships that could have been considered scandalous because of 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 a manifestation of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable in place of emblematic of a fascination that is sick young flesh.

The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its own roots in his relationship utilizing the litttle lady who had been 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 then he would often take her out along with her sisters for picnics and boat trips on the Thames.

On these days he would entertain all of them with his stories about the fictional Alice, tales he was eventually persuaded to place into book form and send to a publisher.

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

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

“There is no evidence from her presence. that he was in love with her,” wrote Karoline Leach into the Shadow associated with 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 for any however the briefest time. that he had a unique interest in her”

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

Lorina, while five 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 had been both notoriously boring and reputedly homosexual”.

He added: “Carroll may have already been viewed as something of an oddity around Oxford but in contrast to Henry he was handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. And he been able to spend an astonishing amount of time at the Liddells’ house a lot of it while Henry wasn’t in.”

It was this liaison, according to Leach, which led members of the family to censor his diaries rather mailorderbrides dating site than any inappropriate relationship with an girl that is underage. Her thesis is supported by the findings of some other author, Jenny Woolf.

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She tracked down Dodgson’s bank records on her 2010 book The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll and discovered that despite often being in debt Dodgson gave away about Ј50 a 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.

Among the charities Dodgson supported was the Society When it comes to Protection Of Women And Children, 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 trafficked and abused and a hospital which specialised when you look at the treatment for venereal disease. It suggests the damage concerned him the sex trade inflicted upon women.”

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

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