Was Lewis Carroll's interest in Alice sinister? | World news | The Guardian
In any case, The Story of Alice gives a precise and interesting account of the ambiguities surrounding Carroll and Alice Liddell's relationship. something sinister about Lewis Carroll's fixation with seven-year-old Alice Liddell? This was especially true of his relationship with Alice. Why has popular opinion of the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and scholars have questioned the nature of Dodgson's relationship with the author of Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture, “yet his stories are still.
If he turned himself inside out, turned the world inside out with his powerful imagination, in order to avoid them?
He was not alone in his obsession.
The era seemed to breed a certain type of neurasthenic man who had a well-developed and intellectually complicated disdain for overt physicality and who found himself drawn to pre-teens. He also fell under the spell of Alice, among other young girls he encountered.
One particular street urchin whom he glimpsed in Italy made a big impression on him. It is one of the paradoxes of Victorian culture that the sentimentality, the frilly, sugar-sweet view of the child often coexisted with darker sexual urges; that they fed each other, and the squeamishness about sex led to a perverse attraction to anything innocent and pure.
Lewis Carroll's Shifting Reputation | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Children were safe, and in their safety, certain thoughts - dirty, sensual thoughts - were allowed to flourish. It is almost impossible to claim that Dodgson was drawn to little girls on a purely spiritual plane. His deep aesthetic appreciation of their physical presence was too conspicuous. He wrote to Gertrude Thomson, an artist who was sketching girlish fairies and nymphs, "I confess I do not admire naked boys in pictures.
But what to make of it? What if he did love children, and in that love was a sexual element? What if he admired the bodies of little girls and never touched one? There is no doubt that he was tormented by what he called "the inclinations of my sinful heart". Even his mathematical writings were marked by his struggle. In the introduction to Curiosa Mathematica, Part II, he wrote that fixing one's mind on mathematics as one lay in bed could ward off "unholy thoughts, which torture with their hateful presence, the fancy that would fain be pure".
Strong language for a book about trigonometry. The picture we get of is of a man afraid of his own dreams, struggling for command over himself. In one of his most charming analyses, the biographer Morton Cohen actually charted Dodgson's moments of greatest torment and insomnia in his diaries and found that they correlated to the days on which he saw Alice. For most of her life, Alice lived in and around Lyndhurst in the New Forest. A memorial plaque, naming her "Mrs.
Reginald Hargreaves" can be seen in the picture in the monograph. As the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed the boat, Dodgson regaled the girls with fantastic stories of a girl, named Alice, and her adventures after she fell into a rabbit-hole. The story was not unlike those Dodgson had spun for the sisters before, but this time Liddell asked Mr.
Dodgson to write it down for her. He promised to do so but did not get around to the task for some months. In the meantime, Dodgson had decided to rewrite the story as a possible commercial venture. Probably with a view to canvassing his opinion, Dodgson sent the manuscript of Under Ground to a friend, the author George MacDonaldin the spring of Alice's Adventures in Wonderlandwith illustrations by John Tennielwas published inunder the name Lewis Carroll.
Ina facsimile of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, the original manuscript that Dodgson had given Liddell, was published. Relationship with Lewis Carroll[ edit ] Liddell dressed in her best outfit. Photo by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Speculation on the sexuality of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson The relationship between Liddell and Dodgson has been the source of much controversy. Dodgson entertained the children by telling them fantastic stories to while away the time.
He also used them as subjects for his hobby, photography. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June Learn how and when to remove this template message The relationship between the Liddells and Dodgson suffered a sudden break in June There was no record of why the rift occurred, since the Liddells never openly spoke of it, and the single page in Dodgson's diary recording 27—29 June which seems to cover the period in which it began was missing;  it has been speculated by biographers such as Morton N.
Cohen that Dodgson may have wanted to marry the year-old Alice Liddell, and that this was the cause of the unexplained break with the family in June Liddell that he is supposed to be using the children as a means of paying court to the governess—he is also supposed by some to be courting Ina"  This might imply that the break between Dodgson and the Liddell family was caused by concern over alleged gossip linking Dodgson to the family governess and to "Ina" Alice's older sister, Lorina.
Woolf then uses this theory to explain why "Menella [would] remove the page itself, yet keep a note of what was on it. Leach has said that the handwriting on the front of the document most closely resembles that of either Menella or Violet Dodgson, Dodgson's nieces.
Cohen in an article published in the Times Literary Supplement in said that in the s, Dodgson's great-nephew Philip Dodgson Jacques told him that Jacques had written the note himself based on conversations he remembered with Dodgson's nieces.
However, the former closeness does not seem to have been re-established, and the friendship gradually faded away, possibly because Dodgson was in opposition to Dean Liddell over college politics. Through the Looking-Glass The extent to which Dodgson's Alice may be or could be identified with Liddell is controversial.
The two Alices are clearly not identical, and though it was long assumed that the fictional Alice was based very heavily on Liddell, recent research has contradicted this assumption. Alice was 11 then—too young, even by Victorian mores. Ina was one of her sources. Alice did not talk to Lennon because, her sister said, she was ill. The idea that Dodgson had an unhealthy involvement with Alice has persisted, although there is no evidence to support it. Three major biographies published in the s, by Donald Thomas, Michael Bakewell and Morton Cohen, suggested that he had pedophilic urges but never acted on them.
But even they are an imperfect source. Four of the 13 volumes are missing—as are the pages covering late Junewhen his break with the Liddells occurred.Lewis Carroll's controversial interest in children
A Dodgson descendant apparently cut them out after the writer died. But if the diaries offer nothing about his romantic interests, other documents do.
Lewis Carroll’s mysterious (and creepy) infatuation with the real Alice in Wonderland
Liddell that he is supposed to be using the children as a means of paying court to the governess—he is also supposed Grundy, and come down to spend the day with me at Oxford? She concluded that he was attracted to adult women including Mrs. The reaction among Dodgson scholars was seismic. We see him through the prism of contemporary culture—one that sexualizes youth, especially female youth, even as it is repulsed by pedophilia. The nature of his relationships with Alice, with other girls and with women may never be established with certainty.