Saturday, 14 January 2017

Lewis Carroll, 27 January 1832 - 14 January 1898

Walder Lewis Carroll in Guildford Surrey Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass
Alice through the looking glass, and me,
at Guildford Castle
Lewis Carroll  (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) died on this day in 1898. He might be best known for his stories about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland but he had other remarkable talents. He was also a mathematical lecturer at Oxford University.

So many stories and films were made about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and in recent years, there have been much speculation about Carroll's relationship with the real Alice, Alice Liddell. I support any new innovation in fiction but there is something about real people in fiction that doesn't appeal to me. Admittedly, there are those exceptional authors who do it right, and they manage to weave just about anything based on real people and create an engrossing mystery in the process. As Alice Liddell herself inspired the stories of Wonderland, in a way, Lewis Carroll falls under this category of using real people in fiction but he did so in the manner that we were caught in the intricacies of an extraordinary fantasy. Now, writing stories based on speculations of a real person's character doesn't really sound ethical to me, especially if such character is no longer around to defend himself, and people who knew him personally and had contact with him are also gone. Add to the fact that Carroll lived in an entirely different era, when things were vastly different that what was acceptable then wouldn't be today and vice versa.

Walder Lewis Carroll in Guildford Surrey Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass
Alice and M are staring at the White Rabbit (not in photo)
If you would like to get Lewis Carroll or Wonderland inspiration, Oxford is a great place to start. But as we're remembering his death anniversary, I'm sharing these pictures from 2014 of our visit to Guildford in Surrey, where Carroll wrote the second Alice book Through the Looking Glass. Here, Carroll bought The Chestnuts next to the castle ruins to serve as a home for his six unmarried sisters. Carroll lived the last year of his life in Guildford and he is also buried there.



Walder Lewis Carroll in Guildford Surrey Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll's (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) grave in Guildford, in the cemetery on The Mount, just inside the gates.
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