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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 ...
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.
Chronology of Events ix
Introduction: From Gryphons to Gravity 1
Scene 1 The Mock Turtle's Education
Scene 2 Humpty Dumpty's Cravat
Scene 3 Alice's Examination
Scene 4 What's in a Name?
Scene 5 The Beaver's Lesson
Scene 6 Map-making
Scene 7 Fortunatus's Purse
Scene 8 A Question of Gravity
Fit the 1 The Children of the North 21
Fit the 2 Uppe toe mine Eyes yn Worke 39
An Oxford Undergraduate
A Trio of Examinations: Responsions, Moderations, Finals
Fit the 3 Successes and Failures 53
The Senior Scholarship
A Spot of Schoolteaching
Dodgson as a Teacher
Poems and Photographs
Fit the 4 ...in the Second Book of Euclid 81
Here's Looking at Euclid
The Dynamics of a Parti-cle
The Euclid Debate
Euclid and his Modern Rivals
Squaring the Circle
Fit the 5 Send Me the Next Book... 101
Dodgson the Deacon
Letters to Child-friends
An Algebra Lesson: The Algebraic Geometry of the Plane, Determinants, The Algebraic Geometry of Three-dimensional Space, Dodgson's 'Method of Condensation'
Fit the 6 Meat-safes, Majorities and Memory 129
Voting in Elections
Endings and Beginnings
Lawn Tennis Tournaments
Fit the 7 Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes 149
A Tangled Tale
Carroll's Puzzles: Arithmetical Puzzles, Geometrical Puzzles, River-crossing Puzzles
Other Recreations: The Number 42, Finding the Day of the Week, Colouring Maps, The Monkey and the Weight, Every Triangle is Isosceles, A Symmetric Poem
Fit the 8 That's Logic 171
Prim Misses and Sillygisms
The Game of Logic
Venn, Carroll and Churchill
Logic Puzzles and Paradoxes
What the Tortoise Said to Achilles
Conclusion: Math and Aftermath 199
Sums of Squares
Notes and References 210
Acknowledgements and Picture Credits 231
Posted March 13, 2012
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.
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