Lewis Carroll: A Biography

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Who was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the pioneer photographer, Oxford don, and mathematician who, writing as Lewis Carroll, gave the world the Jabberwock, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Red Queen, the Hatter, the March Hare, and an unforgettable tea party? In this elegant, affectionate biography, Morton N. Cohen brings his singular expertise - gained from some thirty years' scholarship on Carroll as well as from special access to the Dodgson family documents - to the riddle of the quiet, stammering man who liberated...
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1995 Hard cover NEW, Hardcover edition. ISBN 0679422986 New in new dust jacket. NEW, Hardcover edition. ISBN 0679422986 NEW, Hardcover edition. ISBN 0679422986 NEW, Hardcover ... edition. ISBN 0679422986 Read more Show Less

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Overview

Who was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the pioneer photographer, Oxford don, and mathematician who, writing as Lewis Carroll, gave the world the Jabberwock, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Red Queen, the Hatter, the March Hare, and an unforgettable tea party? In this elegant, affectionate biography, Morton N. Cohen brings his singular expertise - gained from some thirty years' scholarship on Carroll as well as from special access to the Dodgson family documents - to the riddle of the quiet, stammering man who liberated children's books from the moralists and whose imagination brought forth some of the funniest nonsense, wildest characters, and most extraordinary cultural icons of modern times. What emerges is both an extraordinary work of scholarship and a portrait that is filled with admiration for Carroll's accomplishment, delight in his playfulness and charm, and sympathy for the self-reproach and emotional turbulence that underlay his apparently placid existence. A major literary biography.

This brilliant and definitive biography of the great author of the Alice books draws its power from Cohen's three decades of unsurpassed Lewis Carroll scholarship, from his unique access to Carroll's letters and diaries, and from his profound empathic understanding of his subject. Illustrated with more than 100 of Carroll's photographs and drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Biography of the multitalented author and mathematician. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In his time, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was known to the world as an outstanding pioneer photographer of children, particularly of female children, as well as for being the author Lewis Carroll. One of Dodgson's "child-friends," Alice Lidell, served as the inspiraton for his literary Alice. These child-friend associations subjected Dodgson to public scrutiny, gossip, and suspicion concerning his emotional and sexual proclivities, suppressed though they may have been. Dodgson chose to "let them talk." Biographer Cohen (Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1988) uses previously unavailable family and personal documents, diaries, and letters to show that the shy bachelor Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don and lecturer, held himself to the strictest of moral codes. While Lewis Carroll has been probed and analyzed by countless writers (see, for instance, John Pudney's Lewis Carroll and His World, 1976), this book is about the intimate and complex life of the man behind all those who lived on the other side of the looking glass. Recommended for all literature collections.-Robert L. Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., Ind.
Ray Olson
/*Starred Review*/Cohen has studied the great Victorian children's author Lewis Carroll for more than 30 years and is the logical person to write a penetrating biography of him. Bedecked with period photographs, including many of Carroll's own, and with letters and drawings by him, too, that is what this big book is. Cohen does not, however, proceed strictly chronologically through the life of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the Oxford mathematics instructor who adopted the pen name by which he became world famous when he published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). He begins straightforwardly tracing Dodgson's early years up through his most productive decade, the 1860s, but then retraces his steps in order to examine Dodgson's achievements and personality. He offers separate chapters on Dodgson's attitude toward children, the Alice books, Dodgson's lifelong pursuit of friendships with little girls, and the deep spiritual crisis that coincided with his 1860s productivity; then, after another eventful chapter about Dodgson's professional triumphs, chapters on his social personality, the shadow his father (an influential Anglican minister) cast upon his life, and his religious faith. The last chapters return to chronological presentation but do not stint analysis of Dodgson's later writings; indeed, throughout Cohen strives to account for how this quietly troubled, deeply religious, profoundly creative man produced not just his masterpieces for children but his excellent collodion process photographs, his innovative mathematical texts, and even his massive and frequently ingenious correspondence. Every lover of Carroll and of Victoriana should consider this a must-read book.
Booknews
An account of the life of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson--the real name of the complex, fanciful, enigmatic, and unquestionably brilliant author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Cohen uses new-found letters and voluminous diaries to provide insight into Carroll's life: his passionate worship of little girls, his contributions to logic, his playfulness and charm, and the self- reproach and turbulence that underlay his apparently placid existence. B&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679422983
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/31/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.63 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.60 (d)

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