Alice In Wonderland author’s regret: Why Lewis Carroll hated being a literary legend

Alice In Wonderland author’s regret: Why Lewis Carroll hated being a literary legend

Based on a previously unseen letter that will soon be auctioned author Lewis Carroll despised fame so much he wished he had never written the books about Alice’s adventures that made him a legend that is literary

Lewis Carroll’s life changed forever after Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published GETTY

An obscure mathematician called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned a range of learned works with titles such as A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry and The Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically in the mid-19th century.

5 years after the latter in 1865 he embarked on a change that is radical of.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published underneath the pseudonym Lewis Carroll along with his life changed for ever.

Queen Victoria loved it, sign up fan mail arrived because of the sackful and he grew to become recognised in the street.

This was sheer hell for a shy and retiring academic who doubled as an Anglican deacon plus the extent of his torment is revealed for the first time in a previously unseen letter that is expected to fetch more than Ј4,000 when it’s auctioned at Bonhams the following month.

The widow of eminent Oxford surgeon Frederick Symonds, he laments being thrust into the public eye by his success and treated like a zoo animal by admirers in the letter written to Anne Symonds.

He even suggests he had never written the classic tales that brought him worldwide fame that he wishes.

“All that kind of publicity results in strangers hearing of my real name in connection utilizing the books, and also to my being pointed off to, and stared at by strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’,” he wrote.

“And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I had never written any books at all.”

The letter, written in 1891, was penned 26 years after the publication of Alice In Wonderland, when he was 59 november.

He died six years later and if he previously known then how his reputation would be tarnished in death he will have been even more horrified. His fondness for the kids along with his practice of photographing and sketching them, sometimes within the nude, resulted in a lynching that is posthumous the court of literary opinion.

The creative genius who gave us Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter was labelled a pervert, paedophile and pornographer as a result.

Alice Liddell inspired him to write the book GETTY

and I also hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I had never written any written books at all

The fact that four of the 13 volumes of his diaries mysteriously went missing and that seven pages of some other were torn out by an hand that is unknown included with the circumstantial evidence against him.

But while Dodgson never married, there is certainly lots of evidence in his diaries that he had a keen fascination with adult women both married and single and enjoyed an amount of relationships that could have been considered scandalous because of the standards of times.

Sympathetic historians also argue his studies of naked children need to be present in the context of their hours.

The “Victorian child cult” perceived nudity as an expression of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable in the place of emblematic of a fascination that is sick young flesh.

The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its roots in his relationship aided by the young girl who was simply the inspiration for his fictional Alice. The real-life Alice was the younger daughter of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, where Dodgson plied his trade as a mathematician and served as a deacon.

She was by all accounts a vivacious and pretty 10-year-old as he first surely got to know her and he would often take her out along with her sisters for picnics and boat trips regarding the Thames.

On these days he would entertain these with his stories concerning the fictional Alice, tales he had been eventually persuaded to put into book form and send to a publisher.

While his critics have suggested after growing into adolescence, one biographer proposes a very different analysis that he grew fixated with Alice Liddell, took photographs of her in inappropriate poses and was devastated when she broke away from him.

The dodo presenting Alice with a thimble in an illustration by Tenniel GETTY

“There is not any evidence that he was in love together with her,” wrote Karoline Leach within the Shadow associated with Dreamchild. “No evidence that her family concerned about her, no evidence which they banned him from her presence.”

She added: “There are no letters or private diary entries to suggest any type of romantic or passionate attachment, or to indicate that he had an unique curiosity about her for just about any but the briefest time.”

It absolutely was not Alice who had been the focus of Dodgson’s attentions, she suggests, but her mother Lorina. Far from being an easy method of grooming the daughter, their day trips were a cover for a separate and affair that is reckless the mother. If the Alice books were written Dodgson was in his 30s that are early.

Lorina, while 5 years older, was – within the words of writer William Langley – “a free spirit and a renowned beauty stuck in a dull marriage to Henry, the Dean, who had been both notoriously boring and reputedly homosexual”.

He added: “Carroll may have now been seen as something of an oddity around Oxford but in contrast to Henry he was handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. And he been able to spend an amount that is astonishing of at the Liddells’ house a lot of it while Henry wasn’t in.”

It absolutely was this liaison, relating to Leach, which led household members to censor his diaries in place of any inappropriate relationship with an girl that is underage. Her thesis is supported by the findings of some other author, Jenny Woolf.

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She tracked down Dodgson’s bank records for her 2010 book The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll and discovered that despite often being with debt Dodgson gave away about Ј50 a year (Ј5,500 in today’s money) to charities that are various earning a salary of Ј300 (Ј33,000 today) teaching mathematics at Christ Church and double that in the shape of royalty payments from Macmillian, his publisher.

Among the list of charities Dodgson supported was the Society When it comes to Protection Of Women and kids, an organisation that “used to trace down and prosecute men who interfered with children”.

Woolf adds: “He also supported other charities which rehabilitated women that have been abused and trafficked and a hospital which specialised within the treatment for venereal disease. It suggests he was concerned by the damage the sex trade inflicted upon women.”

A sceptic might argue that this was the window-dressing of a young child abuser but Woolf makes a telling point in the favour.