Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life

Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life

3.5 2
by Robin Wilson
     
 

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"In this book, the author explores the singular imagination of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - known to millions around the world as Lewis Carroll - the creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Lewis Carroll in Numberland shows how this incredible mind was not limited to the exuberant fantasy and wordplay of his children's books, which…  See more details below

Overview

"In this book, the author explores the singular imagination of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - known to millions around the world as Lewis Carroll - the creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Lewis Carroll in Numberland shows how this incredible mind was not limited to the exuberant fantasy and wordplay of his children's books, which also brim with mathematical allusions - arithmetical, geometrical, logical and mechanical." Robin Wilson's celebration of Dodgson's mathematical achievements reveals that his work in numbers went far beyond the purely academic. We are taken inside the mind of a man who turned his mathematical genius to the study of voting patterns, to the design of tennis tournaments and even to the prolific creation and popularization of imaginative numerical puzzles.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

British mathematician Wilson (Four Colors Suffice) paints a charming picture of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, in this slender biography. Skipping over the most chronicled aspects of Dodgson's life with only a sharp side note deriding rumors of his pedophilia as "bad history and bad psychology," Wilson focuses on Dodgson's mathematical and educational accomplishments: pamphlets and books on Euclid, an efficient way of calculating determinants, astute analysis of election methods, and systems of mnemonics and ciphers. Wilson also includes puzzles (some with unsatisfying solutions); a number of Dodgson's photographs, for which Wilson labels him "one of the most important photographers of the nineteenth century"; and humorous and satirical letters suggesting political postulates such as, "Let it be granted, that a speaker may digress from any one point to any other point." Though Dodgson was apparently not always a brilliant teacher or writer in his field, Wilson chooses some of his best work for the examples, and any fan of Victorian mind-benders or mid-level mathematics will enjoy the Dodo's witty and eager explanations of logical puzzles and games. 100 illus. (Nov.)

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Nature
Wilson shows that Dodgson turned the most sober of problems into child’s play.— Jascha Hoffmann
Jascha Hoffmann - Nature
“Wilson shows that Dodgson turned the most sober of problems into child’s play.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393060270
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/24/2008
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Robin Wilson is the author and editor of more than thirty books, including Four Colors Suffice and Lewis Carroll in Wonderland. He is a professor of pure mathematics at the Open University, and a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University. He lives in London.

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Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
Robin Wilson presents Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) in his day job, as a student and teacher of mathematics. Carroll made noted contributions to mathematics and drew from his interest and joy in quantitative and mathematical puzzles and patterns for his many fictional works as well as a few satirical letters. Wilson showcases a few of Carroll's other works which fall between his fictional works and his professional teaching and mathematical works, like Carroll's Symbolic Logic, which uses whimsical propositions and makes of logic a game. Carroll obviously took great joy in mathematics, patterns in number, and humor related to such. This book also works out some of the mathematical puzzles although you can read the book well without puzzling over these. Wilson's portrayal makes a clear connection between the wit, puns, and imagination shown in Carroll's popular works with his whole persona. This is an enjoyable read and provides insight into Carroll's life and works. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ebook version does not include the many diagrams and illustrations that are an essential part of the text. The mathematical equations are missing equal signs and sometimes other parts. A typical failing of many books of this sort provided by B&N in ebook form. A shame since the book would be well worth reading otherwise.