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Lewis Carroll


Renowned Victorian author Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, England. The son of a clergyman, Carroll was the third child born to a family of eleven children. From a very early age he entertained himself and his family by performing magic tricks and marionette shows, and by writing poetry for his homemade newspapers. In 1846 he entered Rugby School, and in 1854 he graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford. He was successful in his study of mathematics and writing, and remained at the college after graduation to teach. His mathematical writings include An Elementary Treatise on Determinants (1867), Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879), and Curiosa Mathematica (1888). While teaching, Carroll was ordained as a deacon; however, he never preached. He also began to pursue photography, often choosing children as the subject of his portraits. One of his favorite models was a young girl named Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean at Christ's Church, who later became the basis for Carroll's fictional character, Alice. He abandoned both photography and public speaking between 1880 and 1881, and focused on his writing.

Many of Carroll's philosophies were based on games. His interest in logic came purely from the playful nature of its principle rather than its uses as a tool. He primarily wrote comic fantasies and humorous verse that was often very childlike. Carroll published his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, followed by Through the Looking Glass in 1872. Alice's story began as a piece of extemporaneous whimsy meant to entertain three little girls on a boating trip in 1862. Both of these works were considered children's novels that were satirical in nature and in exemplification of Carroll's wit. Also famous is Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky," in which he created nonsensical words from word combinations. Carroll died in Guildford, Surrey, on January 14, 1898.

Selected Bibliography


Further Nonsense Verse and Prose (1926)
Phantasmagoria and Other Poems (1869)
The Collected Verse of Lewis Carroll (1932)
The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll (1982)
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll (1939)
The Humorous Verse of Lewis Carroll (1960)
The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits (1876)
Useful and Instructive Poetry (1954)


A Guide to the Mathematical Student (1864)
A Method of Taking Votes on More than Two Issues (1876)
A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to His Child-friends (1933)
A Syllabus of Plane Algebraical Geometry (1860)
A Tangled Tale (1885)
Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
An Elementary Treatise on Determinants (1867)
Curiosa Mathematica, Part I: A New Theory of Parallels (1888)
Curiosa Mathematica, Part II: Pillow-Problems (1893)
Diaries of Lewis Carroll (1953)
Diversions and Digressions (1961)
Doublets: A Word-Puzzle (1879)
Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing (1890)
Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879)
Feeding the Mind (1907)
For the Train (1932)
Lewis Carroll, Photographer (1949)
Mathematical Recreations of Carroll (1958)
Rhyme? And Reason? (1883)
Suggestions as to the Best Method of Taking Votes (1874)
Supplement to "Euclid and His Modern Rivals" (1885)
Sylvie and Bruno (1889)
Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893)
Symbolic Logic, Part I: Elementary (1896)
Symbolic Logic, Parts I and II (1977)
Syzygies and Lanrick: A Word-Puzzle and a Game (1893)
The Annotated Alice: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (1960)
The Blank Cheque: A Fable (1874)
The Dynamics of a Particle (1865)
The Fifth Book of Euclid Treated Algebraically (1868)
The Formulae of Plane Trigonometry (1861)
The Game of Logic (1886)
The Letters of Lewis Carroll, ed. Morton Cohen with the assistance of Roger Lancelyn Green (1979)
The Lewis Carroll Picture-Book (1899)
The New Belfry of Christ Church, Oxford (1872)
The New Method of Evaluation (1865)
The Nursery Alice (1889)
The Rectory Umbrella and Mischmasch (1932)
The Vision of the Three T's (1873)
Three Years in a Curatorship, by One Who Has Tried (1886)
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1872)

Lewis Carroll
Photo credit: Oscar Rejlander

By This Poet


A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky

A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July—

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear—

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?


Little maidens, when you look
On this little story-book,
Reading with attentive eye
Its enticing history,
Never think that hours of play
Are your only HOLIDAY,
And that in a HOUSE of joy
Lessons serve but to annoy:
If in any HOUSE you find
Children of a gentle mind,
Each the others pleasing ever—
Each the others vexing never—
Daily work and pastime daily
In their order taking gaily—
Then be very sure that they
Have a life of HOLIDAY.


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son
   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
   The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
   Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
   And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
   The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
   And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
   The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
   He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
   Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
   He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

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