Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Lifeby Robin Wilson
For Over A Century, millions of devoted readers have reveled in the whimsical charms and literary brilliance of the works of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who took up the pen as Lewis Carroll. Indeed, it's hard to escape a childhood without delighting in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But only a few have fully appreciated the mathematical mind that brought these
For Over A Century, millions of devoted readers have reveled in the whimsical charms and literary brilliance of the works of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who took up the pen as Lewis Carroll. Indeed, it's hard to escape a childhood without delighting in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But only a few have fully appreciated the mathematical mind that brought these numerous literary creations into being. Fascinated by the inner life of Dodgson, Robin Wilson, a Carroll scholar and noted mathematics professor, has produced this revelatory book-filled with more than one hundred striking and often playful illustrations-that examines the many inspirations and sources for Carroll's fantastical writings, mathematical and otherwise.
Lewis Carroll in Numberland is filled with tantalizing puzzles and little-known facts:
Using an easy-to-learn method devised by Dodgson, you can actually find the day of the week for any given date in history.
Queen Victoria was said to have enjoyed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland so much that she demanded "the next book Mr. Carroll procduced," which was An Elementary Treatise on Determinants and left the queen not amused.
You can employ Dodgson's invented alphabet and matrix ciphers to write your own encoded messages to friends.
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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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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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.
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.