Lewis Carroll’s 188th birth anniversary: Interesting facts about the Alice in Wonderland creator
Born in UK’s Cheshire in 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author who wrote classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass.
Thirty years after the publication of Alice in Wonderland, he published a two-volume tale of the fairy siblings Sylvie and Bruno that intertwines two plots in alternate worlds - one rural England and the other a fairytale kingdom.
A noted satirist, philosopher, poet, mathematician and photographer, Lewis Carroll passed away on January 14, 1898 due to pneumonia, two weeks shy of his 66th birthday.
On his 188th birth anniversary; here’s looking at a few interesting facts about Lewis Carroll:
1. Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College, Henry Liddell, is widely thought to be the inspiration behind the protagonist in Alice in Wonderland. Carroll spent several years in the Oxford University college, first as a student, then as a librarian and teacher.
2. Lewis Carroll invented a writing tablet called the nyctograph that allowed one to take notes in the dark. This eliminated the need to get out of bed and strike a light to jot down points one might have thought of in bed.
3. Carroll suffered from epilepsy, stammering, deafness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and chronic migraines.
4. He was known for moving in the pre-Raphaelite social circle and had a close relationship with poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his family.
5. In 1856, Carroll took up the new art form of photography under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later of his Oxford friend Reginald Southey.
6. He went on to make portraits of John Everett Millais, Ellen Terry, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Michael Faraday, Lord Salisbury, and Alfred Tennyson.
7. The author was also behind a number of games, including an early version of Scrabble and ‘doublet’, which is a form of brain-teaser still popular today.
8. Carroll Dodgson produced The Hunting of the Snark, a fantastical ‘nonsense’ poem exploring the adventures of a crew of nine tradesmen and one beaver, in search of the snark in 1876.
9. His interest also lay in the fields of linear algebra and geometry and he wrote almost a dozen books that ranged from An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations to The Game of Logic to The Theory of Committees and Elections.
10. Even though Carroll himself denied that Alice was based on any real-life child, the poem A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky, at the end of Through the Looking-Glass is a word puzzle or acrostic that spells out Alice Pleasance Liddell.