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Lewis Carroll: A Biography

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Under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson became a legend for his children's books, which broke the constraints of Victorian moralism. Thirty years in the writing and drawn from a voluminous fund of letters and diaries, this exemplary biography conveys both the imaginative fancy and human complexity of the creator of Alice in Wonderland. Photos.


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Under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson became a legend for his children's books, which broke the constraints of Victorian moralism. Thirty years in the writing and drawn from a voluminous fund of letters and diaries, this exemplary biography conveys both the imaginative fancy and human complexity of the creator of Alice in Wonderland. Photos.

30 review for Lewis Carroll: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a very detailed, very well-researched, very BORING biography. I never knew that the story of a famous author, mathematician, photographer and Oxford professor who lusts after and takes pictures of nude young girls could be this dull.

  2. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    Okay, there are a lot of theories about who CLD really was, what he was like, whether he was a pedophile or did drugs. A lot of people will downgrade books because they don't go along with their pet theories. Fact is, this is a good biography that gives a lot of insight into the man. Whether it gives the full picture -- well, it can't; there are huge areas that we know we don't know about. I didn't agree with all of Cohen's theories, but I thought it was well-written and enjoyable to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I really enjoyed the start of this book, it began in chronological order, was interesting, well written and revealed insight into the beginnings of the man who wrote Alice in Wonderland. However, I felt it got drawn into the justification of Dodgson's behaviour towards children and only spiralled down from there. There was just so much in this, it was INCREDIBLY detailed, and i feel it just lost itself and became a jumbled mess of peoples names, letters and analysing all of his work. I took a br I really enjoyed the start of this book, it began in chronological order, was interesting, well written and revealed insight into the beginnings of the man who wrote Alice in Wonderland. However, I felt it got drawn into the justification of Dodgson's behaviour towards children and only spiralled down from there. There was just so much in this, it was INCREDIBLY detailed, and i feel it just lost itself and became a jumbled mess of peoples names, letters and analysing all of his work. I took a break from reading this as I felt it became incredibly heavy, and just the longer I put it down, the less I wanted to pick it back up again- Ultimately my drive to leave no book unfinished made me set out to finish what I started. I feel if you have a big interest in this man, then this certainly is an interesting read, but to me who couldn't care either way, it was just a mess of facts and ultimately I kind of found his entire life boring. I felt like the author was trying to make you think kindly of him, and perhaps view him as stuck as a child himself, however I just do not feel at least bit interested in Dodgson and his life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    I've been rereading this biography, along with several others over the last six months. This is probably one of the best biographies about Lewis Carroll, a Victorian mathematician who wrote Alice in Wonderland and other stories. The author does not shy away from suggestions about Carroll's relationship with children. I've studied Carroll off and on for most of my life and I don't believe, for a moment, that he was a pedophile. His interest in children was not sexual, but I do think he had confli I've been rereading this biography, along with several others over the last six months. This is probably one of the best biographies about Lewis Carroll, a Victorian mathematician who wrote Alice in Wonderland and other stories. The author does not shy away from suggestions about Carroll's relationship with children. I've studied Carroll off and on for most of my life and I don't believe, for a moment, that he was a pedophile. His interest in children was not sexual, but I do think he had conflicts of a sexual kind outside that nature. Like many Victorians, Carroll was deeply rooted in his time period. I think a lot of Carroll's personality can be explained in his love of mathematics. People may shake their heads at this, but just look at the psychology of it. Carroll was highly conservative in all things and math was a way he ordered the strange and changing world he lived in. He sometimes stammered, was shy, and Alice in Wonderland is full of math and irony. He was a control freak and morally very strict with himself. I really find him charming in many ways. The fact that he and George MacDonald were friends speaks to his love of fantasy and adventure and the possibility of telling stories for children as a way of talking about the world. Ironically, children were safe angels. And he photographed them. It's impossible to judge him by modern standards of any kind. Great book. Everyone should read it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    This is a first class biography of an amazing and complicated man. If a biographer idolises the subject of his biography then the result can end up being flawed, where the biographer glosses over the subject's negatives or explains them away. But Morton N. Cohen doesn't look to do that. He's clearly a a fan but he doesn't look to ignore the controversies of his personality. He explains things and generally leaves it to the reader to decide what to do with the information. I found the biography to This is a first class biography of an amazing and complicated man. If a biographer idolises the subject of his biography then the result can end up being flawed, where the biographer glosses over the subject's negatives or explains them away. But Morton N. Cohen doesn't look to do that. He's clearly a a fan but he doesn't look to ignore the controversies of his personality. He explains things and generally leaves it to the reader to decide what to do with the information. I found the biography to be highly readable, and while subject material is largely linear, it's not purely so. It does, of course start with the start of his life and finish with the end, but interspersed throughout are occasional chapters that will actually cover his entire life, such as "The man's father" which looks at Charles' relationship with his father throughout his life, and "The man's faith" which looks at Charles' religious beliefs. Other chapters also jump backward and forward through time a bit, but not so much that you loose track of things. I understand why the author did this: he wanted to emphasise things that were important, rather than simply spread them throughout the entire book where vital nuggets of insight might easily become lost. Still, I can see where this approach might bother some. It didn't bother me, though. I enjoyed it from start to finish. If you're a fan of the "Alice" books (and how could you not be!) then this biography gives a terrific insight into a very complicated, and ultimately, lonely man.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lightsey

    Done. In spite of my basic boredom, I was sad when Carroll died on page 526. Not surprised, but sad. On another note, does anyone's life really bear this kind of inquiry? I wonder how biographers can stand it. They must be more forgiving than other people. * For my Lewis Carroll class. A decent biography, though rather soppy in places. But I can't recommend it, unless you happen to also be teaching a class on Carroll. This is not a life that bears inquiry. Mostly, Carroll's life was dull, except wh Done. In spite of my basic boredom, I was sad when Carroll died on page 526. Not surprised, but sad. On another note, does anyone's life really bear this kind of inquiry? I wonder how biographers can stand it. They must be more forgiving than other people. * For my Lewis Carroll class. A decent biography, though rather soppy in places. But I can't recommend it, unless you happen to also be teaching a class on Carroll. This is not a life that bears inquiry. Mostly, Carroll's life was dull, except when it wasn't ("The Pursuit of Innocents" is one chapter title). --Not that the man seems to have done anything. Still, if you don't have to know, you don't need to find out. Not that he isn't teachable. . . or interesting. . . everything is interesting. . . but I wouldn't be reading it if I didn't have to.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I'm basically a Lewis Carroll freak (wrote my MA thesis on the guy) and so is Morton N. Cohen, which makes for a dedicated and relatively interesting biography. Cohen is devoted to his subject and doesn't go off the rails into too much speculation as to what Carroll "must have thought" about this or that - namely, the little girls he photographed and spent so much time with. This biography is very thorough and contains some photographs and drawings by Carroll, which is a nice touch.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Extremely interesting to read while my book club was reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (one of my all time favorites). I admit I was most curious about his unnatural fixation with little girls. He was a genius in mathematical lectures, writing and humor. He took care of his siblings, was a gifted photographer, so multitalented. He took many nude photos of little girls. His diaries are full of heart-wrenching prayers to God to remove his sinfulness. This author feels Carroll never acted on Extremely interesting to read while my book club was reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (one of my all time favorites). I admit I was most curious about his unnatural fixation with little girls. He was a genius in mathematical lectures, writing and humor. He took care of his siblings, was a gifted photographer, so multitalented. He took many nude photos of little girls. His diaries are full of heart-wrenching prayers to God to remove his sinfulness. This author feels Carroll never acted on his unseemly fantasies but spent a life time suppressing his baser thoughts. Too much a Victorian gentleman to put any sexual thoughts in his diaries, people can only guess what really went on in the darkroom. I am very much drawn to Charles Dobson. Here's a great quote: "Talking is a wonderful smoother over of difficulties. When I come upon anything in Logic, or in any other hard subject that entirely puzzles me, I find it a capital plan to talk it over aloud, even when I am alone. One can explain things so clearly, to one's self! And then, you know, one is so patient with one's self: one never gets irritated at one's own stupidity." And I can sure relate to the following passage: "His uncharacteristic desuetude continued through the latter half of 1870. He recorded no depressions, sadness, or grief, but his old vigor was absent; he seems rather, to float numbly through the days." p. 381

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amerynth

    Morton Cohen's biography about Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) is certainly packed with information and provides an interesting look at the famous children's author. However, I disliked the formatting of the book-- each chapter focused on a particular topic -- such as Dodgson's photography, his interest in children, religion-- and covered such a large chunk of Dodgson's life. As such, it was difficult to discern where events fit chronologically in Dodgson's life. I found some of Cohen's conclusi Morton Cohen's biography about Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) is certainly packed with information and provides an interesting look at the famous children's author. However, I disliked the formatting of the book-- each chapter focused on a particular topic -- such as Dodgson's photography, his interest in children, religion-- and covered such a large chunk of Dodgson's life. As such, it was difficult to discern where events fit chronologically in Dodgson's life. I found some of Cohen's conclusions, particularly when it comes to religious matters and Dodgson's relationship with his father to be based more on conjecture by Cohen rather than actual evidence. Nonetheless, I'm walking away from this book with a deeper understanding about Lewis Carroll so it was successful in that way.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon DenHouter

    I don't read a lot of biographies, so I do not have a feeling for what makes a great biography. I will say, though, that Cohen did a remarkable job weaving together letters to and from and about Carroll, Carroll's journal, excerpts from other biographies such as Collingwood's biography on Carroll and Clark's biography on Alice Liddell (the Alice who inspired Alice in Wonderland), and other sources to set forth a cohesive story of Carroll's life. I felt like I grew to know Lewis Carroll as a pers I don't read a lot of biographies, so I do not have a feeling for what makes a great biography. I will say, though, that Cohen did a remarkable job weaving together letters to and from and about Carroll, Carroll's journal, excerpts from other biographies such as Collingwood's biography on Carroll and Clark's biography on Alice Liddell (the Alice who inspired Alice in Wonderland), and other sources to set forth a cohesive story of Carroll's life. I felt like I grew to know Lewis Carroll as a person in much the same way you would get to know a friend after years of knowing him. That said, a weakness of this biography is that it runs through Lewis Carroll's (Charles Dodgson's) life in several passes, so the full picture of Carroll does not emerge until after you've read each pass. The book does progress mostly in order from Carroll's childhood chronologically up to his death, but the passes mean that, for example, you read Carroll's life during the 1870s (when he was in his 40s) first through the lens of his writing, then through the lens of his mathematical lecturing at Oxford, then through the lens of his relationship with his father, then through the lens of his relationship with his child-friends (almost all of whom were girls), etc. It would have been more illuminating to read one account of his life from beginning to end. I really appreciated Cohen's stance on Carroll. Whereas many biographers try to scandalize Carroll's strange desire to spend most of his free time with 12-year-old girls, Cohen defends Carroll's behavior toward these girls as being pure and generous. Cohen cites the accounts of several of Carroll's child-friends praising him for his kindness, generosity, patience, and drollery--Carroll's child-friends loved him, learned a lot from him, and had tons of fun with him. Carroll treated his child-friends magnificently, taking them to the theater, introducing them to famous London actresses, teaching them logic, entertaining them with puzzles and riddles and with extemporaneous, nonsensical stories (one of which became Alice in Wonderland). Cohen does admit at the end of book that Carroll probably did desire these girls in a sexual way, but as an ordained deacon in the church and a rigid Victorian, Lewis Carroll kept these desires firmly bottled up his entire life. More than anything, it seemed like Carroll wanted to be loved by his child-friends; they were for him, each in their turn, a surrogate wife. Although there is no conclusive proof, Carroll's diary having been redacted by his niece, there is strong evidence that, when Alice Liddell was twelve years old, Carroll asked Alice's parents for her hand in marriage. In Victorian times, this was not so unusual; many marriages were arranged between older men and girls who were very young, not to be consummated until the girl became older. Whatever in fact happened, Lewis Carroll suffered a break in his relationship with the Liddells that never fully healed. Carroll struggled with anger toward Mr. Liddell, who was Dean of Oxford's Christ Church where Carroll taught mathematics; and Carroll struggled with loneliness, a void he sought to fill a series of female child-friends (some two to three hundred by his own admission) ever after, unit the end of his life. Cohen introduced me to Lewis Carroll in a profound way, and for that, I am ever grateful. The book itself could be streamlined and edited to flow in one continuous narrative from Carroll's childhood to death, but even in its current bulky form, it's a great read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adrianna Barkey

    Everyone who claims to be a fan of Lewis Carroll or who feels a connection to his works must read this book! Cohen researched Carroll's life and works for pver 30 years, and I have never read a more detailed analysis. The only reason I could not give the book 5 stars is due to the repetition. There is also a bit of off-topic rambling that has to be skimmed over. Other than that, I learned a great deal about Lewis Carroll the man, and Cohen allowed me to develop my own opinion of him.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This is probably the definitive bio of Carroll. It's an exhaustive and nuanced exploration of a complex person. It's also completely readable and entertaining. It only gets dry around the math sections. (Carroll was a mathematician.) Very well written.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    Hardback, 580 pages. All I can really say about this book is that it is really, really good. The author writes it in a way that keeps the reader's interest. There are various pictures, an appendix and notes. Even though it is really long I kept wanting to read more of it. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Annie Lanier

    A really interesting and informative biography of a fascinating man! It gets a little boring at the end, but besides that it's great. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the man behind the Alice books!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Twig

    3,5 Stars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Love this biography! Not as well written as the one by Douglas-Fairhurst, but definitely worth reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Meissner

    Exceptionally well written. Very thorough, thoughtful and organized. Charles Dodgson would have liked it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    An excellent, fascinating biography of Lewis Caroll, aka Charles Dodgeson. He was the eldest son of a large family, spent a lot of time entertaining his young siblings, and grew up to write Alice in Wonderland based on stories he told to Alice Liddell and her sisters, daughters of the Dean of the Oxford college where he was a don. He preferred the company of children, especially girls, his whole life. Let's cut to the question you're wondering about: yes, he was probably a pedophile; at least th An excellent, fascinating biography of Lewis Caroll, aka Charles Dodgeson. He was the eldest son of a large family, spent a lot of time entertaining his young siblings, and grew up to write Alice in Wonderland based on stories he told to Alice Liddell and her sisters, daughters of the Dean of the Oxford college where he was a don. He preferred the company of children, especially girls, his whole life. Let's cut to the question you're wondering about: yes, he was probably a pedophile; at least the author of this book thinks so. But he was a highly moral and proper person and there is no record of him doing anything even remotely improper with any of the many girls and young women he spent time with over the years. He simply delighted in children. His diaries record struggles with unspecified temptations, and the author shows that the greatest time of this was during the years he was involved with the Liddells, so he may be referring to sexual fantasies. But we shall never know. He was keen on photography during its early days and photographed girls nude, but only with the parents' permission and only if the girls seemed totally comfortable with it. He kept copies only for a while, and wrote the parents about how they should destroy theirs so as not to embarrass the girls. Although there are letters that show he took a fair number of them, only something like six of his nudes survive. It was a different time. People thought nude children were just a symbol of innocence and it wasn't a big deal for them to be represented in ads and so forth. Certainly a few people got turned on by ads for Pear's Soap, but most people had no idea. He was a serious mathematician and inventor (when he learned that Babbage was working on a computing machine, he wrote to him, and the two met to discuss it - I got a huge kick out of this.) He had an off-kilter way of looking at things, as is clear from Alice, and he sounds like someone I would like to have known.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jane Mackay

    The author uses his deep and comprehensive knowledge of Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll's (particularly the former) writings and life to present a deeply researched and densely detailed, clear-eyed and compassionate portrait of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Not least among Dodgson's achievements and gifts was his tireless and infinitely patient work to introduce girls to the fascinating and magical worlds of mathematics and logic in an era when girls were distinctly second-class citizens, pretty things The author uses his deep and comprehensive knowledge of Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll's (particularly the former) writings and life to present a deeply researched and densely detailed, clear-eyed and compassionate portrait of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Not least among Dodgson's achievements and gifts was his tireless and infinitely patient work to introduce girls to the fascinating and magical worlds of mathematics and logic in an era when girls were distinctly second-class citizens, pretty things to be dressed up and married off to the best suitor. Cohen concludes: "Deprived of full, flowing speech [Dodgson had a speech hesitancy that despite therapy he was never able to overcome, a debilitating impediment for a man who was called to preach and to share his remarkable knowledge with others], Charles accommodated the difficulty that characterized his entire life, a life hampered by inescapable limitations, blotted by imperfections and lacking emotional fulfillment. "There is nonetheless, something noble, selfless, and generous in what Charles Dodgson fashioned of himself and in the way he reined in his impulses and set them to serve his family, his young friends, his society, his God -- and himself. In the end, one wants not only to say 'Well done!' but also to congratulate him for so successfully transforming a life that might easily have teetered on the brink and fallen into the abyss into one that was useful, dignified, and creative. For he, and he alone, shaped that precarious youth of unusual talent and scrupulous character into a man who made many valuable and distinguished contributions to his world and to posterity -- who made himself, in short, into a man worth writing about." And a man worth reading about.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ed Smiley

    I finished this book on April 25, which happens to be the day that Lewis Carroll (that is to say Rev. Charles Dodgson, is actual name). Not finished, so I will hide most of this, not really a spoiler until I can finish.... (view spoiler)[ I found this book fascinating, with many new insights into the man and his works. My only real complaint was that he treated his life thematically, but sometimes covered the same things twice without acknowledgment of the previous mention of the fact in earlier ch I finished this book on April 25, which happens to be the day that Lewis Carroll (that is to say Rev. Charles Dodgson, is actual name). Not finished, so I will hide most of this, not really a spoiler until I can finish.... (view spoiler)[ I found this book fascinating, with many new insights into the man and his works. My only real complaint was that he treated his life thematically, but sometimes covered the same things twice without acknowledgment of the previous mention of the fact in earlier chapters, which makes the reading a bit awkward. I think if some of the organizational aspects had been resolved I might have rated this 4 stars. There have been complaints that the author engaged in speculation: "Charles must have..." and so forth, but this is a life in which speculation is almost inevitable. Before we go further, yes, he did actually love little girls, he liked children, but especially little girls. This is of course what everybody is curious about. However, the best information we have indicates that he was a deeply religious man with a very strong sense of morality, as well as a horror of upsetting children so that he appears to have made every effort to keep this within the bounds of propriety of Victorian society and as far as we can tell succeeded. Being very conventionally moral, despite being highly unconventional, the author suggests that the only outcome that could have really satisfied him was to befriend a girl in childhood, and continue the relationship into adulthood with a deepening love that led to marriage. It appears that the closest he ever came to this was Alice, who the author speculates (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I'm not going to edit this it will just be my thoughts,and some of what he wrote. His sister named Lucy O'finner Grew constantly thinner and thinner the reason was plain She slept in the rain and was never allowed any dinner I understand they didn't have a lot of food,but I don't think I would write this stuff when I was young. He went to many schools.Evil behavior learned that idols scale of values moral behavior stood above gentlemanly conduct and above that intellectual achievement. He met Alice i I'm not going to edit this it will just be my thoughts,and some of what he wrote. His sister named Lucy O'finner Grew constantly thinner and thinner the reason was plain She slept in the rain and was never allowed any dinner I understand they didn't have a lot of food,but I don't think I would write this stuff when I was young. He went to many schools.Evil behavior learned that idols scale of values moral behavior stood above gentlemanly conduct and above that intellectual achievement. He met Alice in 1856 I believe she was like 4 nonsense Literature He used their names a lot And that in house of joy Lessons serve but to annoy If in any house you find Children of a gentle mind, Each the others pleasing others- I thought it was funny he never used Harry the brothers name,but he did like him and tutor him in Latin. It was neat to see how he got some of the ideals for his book. Page 166 was kinda sick By page 300 I was getting a little bored I hope this helped some

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maria del Pilar

    'computerisable' it does not require the usual intermediary decisions to be made in the calculations. It is a model of computational simplicity. He understood the notion of the rank of a linear system. Contribution to linear algebra and to the theory of determinants. Connection between Charles' work on determinants and the Alice books in their inversions and mirror imaging. Carroll's mind, like that of the White Knight, seemed to function best when he was seeing things upside down. The method of 'computerisable' it does not require the usual intermediary decisions to be made in the calculations. It is a model of computational simplicity. He understood the notion of the rank of a linear system. Contribution to linear algebra and to the theory of determinants. Connection between Charles' work on determinants and the Alice books in their inversions and mirror imaging. Carroll's mind, like that of the White Knight, seemed to function best when he was seeing things upside down. The method of condensation is like Alice shrinking as a result of drinking from the bottle marked 'drink me'. A large array of numbers gradually shrinks in size until a single number remains: the determinant. Carrol worked on Darwin's books. Abstinence from the attendance at theatres by Christians.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Reed

    I've always found Charles Dodgson a fascinating human being. One of the few historical persons I would love to sit down to tea with and pick the brain of. However Cohen made him a throughly boring and tedious read, I frequently fell asleep even before my bedtime trying to complete a chapter. I'm a little disappointed. Might have helped if the events were written in order but they're all over the place and time line jumps back and forth and not in a fun Wonderland madness kind of way. I would lov I've always found Charles Dodgson a fascinating human being. One of the few historical persons I would love to sit down to tea with and pick the brain of. However Cohen made him a throughly boring and tedious read, I frequently fell asleep even before my bedtime trying to complete a chapter. I'm a little disappointed. Might have helped if the events were written in order but they're all over the place and time line jumps back and forth and not in a fun Wonderland madness kind of way. I would love to find an author who can factually write on Lewis Carroll without sending me to the land of Nod. Thinking the next time I try to read on Carroll I will just stick to his personal writings and stay away from the biographers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Two problems with this book: Cohen insists on referring to Dodgson as 'Charles' throughout, and there's way too much unfounded speculation. 'Charles would have seen', 'Charles would have read', 'Charles would have thought'. If I just wanted speculation I could have done it myself. Having said that, the one place where his speculation is useful is over the June 1863 lacuna when Dodgson fell out with the Liddells: in the absence of any recorded facts, Cohen's thinking suddenly becomes lucid and pe Two problems with this book: Cohen insists on referring to Dodgson as 'Charles' throughout, and there's way too much unfounded speculation. 'Charles would have seen', 'Charles would have read', 'Charles would have thought'. If I just wanted speculation I could have done it myself. Having said that, the one place where his speculation is useful is over the June 1863 lacuna when Dodgson fell out with the Liddells: in the absence of any recorded facts, Cohen's thinking suddenly becomes lucid and persuasive. He had me very much convinced with his 'There would have been no explosion, no finger pointed to the Deanery door' construction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karlee

    An extremely detailed biography. Everything and anything about Lewis Carroll is in here as well as reference for more great books about him. I lover the Alice books and find learning about the author really fascinating as he was a complicated man. I knew quite a bit before reading this, but now feel well informed on his life, motivations, and passions. If you are looking to learn more about Lewis Carroll this book gives a great comprehensive and detailed account on his life. Includes numerous il An extremely detailed biography. Everything and anything about Lewis Carroll is in here as well as reference for more great books about him. I lover the Alice books and find learning about the author really fascinating as he was a complicated man. I knew quite a bit before reading this, but now feel well informed on his life, motivations, and passions. If you are looking to learn more about Lewis Carroll this book gives a great comprehensive and detailed account on his life. Includes numerous illustrations to give the book more context. Recommend for fans of Alice.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sistermagpie

    Very thorough biography of Lewis Carroll, though I still don't have that great a grasp on him. Perhaps nobody really can. The author can't help but speculate about just what his deal was--what did he get out of the relationships with children? How much did he suffer after losing them to adulthood? What exactly caused the break up between him and the Liddells? These are some of the biggest questions about his life, but there's just no answers to them!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Really interesting read. I learned lots about Carroll's life. I didn't realize that he was a Math professor or that he was so interested in photograpy. He took lots of photos especially of children--girls. It discuss his realtionship with the real Alice. Excellent background for anyone interested in Carroll's works.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nazila

    I've never interested in Lewis Carroll's books and his imagination seemed always weird for me. I read many critics and everybody just sees the linguistic play in his writing. The way the author explains the Character of Lewis Carroll in this biography reveals another part of his writings and his life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    An excellent detailed account of both Charles Dodgson and the society that surrounded him. Very good accounts of his hobbies (especially photography) and unexpectedly interesting account of his nonfiction works and career as a teacher. A bit dry and occasionally theoretical in the way of all academic biographies, but filled with great stories. Worth a read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirk Ashworth

    I am enjoying this book for the overall picture of the guy, but I feel as though he must be leaving things out or glossing over many of the events of Dodgson's life as a way of protecting. He is playing it a bit safe. All in all, very helpful.

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