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

Relating to 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 literary legend

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

Within the mid-19th century an obscure mathematician called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned a variety of learned works with titles such as A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry therefore the Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically.

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

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll and his life changed for ever.

Queen Victoria loved it, fan mail arrived because of the sackful in which he started to be recognised in the pub.

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

In the letter written to Anne Symonds, 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.

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

“All that kind of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection because of the books, and 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 November 1891, was penned 26 years after the publication of Alice In Wonderland, when he was 59.

He died six years later and if he previously known then how his reputation will be tarnished in death he could have been a lot more horrified. His fondness for the kids along with his practice of photographing and sketching them, sometimes when you look at the nude, led to a lynching that is posthumous the court of literary opinion.

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

Alice Liddell inspired him to publish the book GETTY

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

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

But while Dodgson never married, there clearly was a great amount of evidence in the diaries which he had a keen fascination with adult women both married and single and enjoyed a wide range of relationships that could have already been considered scandalous because of the standards of that time period.

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

The “Victorian child cult” perceived nudity as a manifestation of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable rather than emblematic of a fascination that is sick young flesh.

The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its roots in his relationship utilizing the young girl who was 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 pretty and vivacious 10-year-old as he first got to know her and he would often take her out together with her sisters for picnics and boat trips in the Thames.

On these days he would entertain them with his stories about the Alice that is fictional he had been eventually persuaded to place 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 no evidence that he was in love together with her,” wrote Karoline Leach into the Shadow associated with Dreamchild. “No evidence that her family worried 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 even to indicate for any however the briefest time. which he had a special interest in her”

It absolutely was not Alice who was simply the main 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 reckless affair with the mother. As soon as the Alice books were written Dodgson was at his 30s that are early.

Lorina, while five years older, was – into 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 might have already been seen as something of an oddity around Oxford however in contrast to Henry he was handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. And he was able to spend an astonishing amount of time at the Liddells’ house much of it while Henry wasn’t in.”

It absolutely was this liaison, based on Leach, which led family unit members to censor his diaries rather than any inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. Her thesis is supported by the findings of some other author, Jenny Woolf.

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She tracked down Dodgson’s bank records on 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 an income of Ј300 (Ј33,000 today) teaching mathematics at Christ Church and double that by means of royalty payments from Macmillian, his publisher.

On the list of charities Dodgson supported was the Society For The Protection Of Women And Children, 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 in the treatment plan for venereal disease. It suggests the damage concerned him the sex trade inflicted upon women.”

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

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