Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge
Dodgson in Daresbury, England on January 27th, 1832. A precocious boy, he wrote often at an early age.
By the age of thirteen he was composing trifling bits of poetry for his family and friends.
In 1850 he attended his first year
at Oxford. He studied mathematics (a field which would for years capture his imagination) and won several
scholarships and awards. A requirement of his studentship was that he not marry or having any relationships
(Oxford, at the time, was still a very strict religious institution and an education there was a closely
related to the priesthood). Carroll also took up the hobby of photography and started down the road
to becoming a portraitist of some note. It should be made clear that a peculiar Victorian art form was
the nude photography of very children, commissioned by the parents. Carroll did in fact do such photography,
as it would have been common practice for any portraitist of the time. The photographs were intended
to simulate angels and cherubs of classical art. A modern version of this form would be the work of
Anne Geddes. It is, essentially, for this reason that Lewis Carroll has sometimes been accused of pedophilia.
There is no evidence that he was anything but the proper English bachelor-scholar that he appeared to
In 1854 Carroll graduated
with his Bachelor of Arts degree and published his first bits of both poetry and prose in the Whitby
In 1855, selections
from what would become the Alice books were published. In the same year Carroll became a lecturer
of mathematics at Oxford. In 1856 he first used the pen name of Lewis Carroll.
By 1857 Carroll took a Masters degree in Mathematics
and went on to publish several mathematical textbooks. In 1861 the Bishop of Oxford ordained him a deacon.
On July 4th, 1862, Carroll picnicked
with the family of Henry George Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford (his boss). They
had a young daughter named Alice, with whom Carroll developed a gentle friendship. At that picnic near
Godstow, England, Carroll first told Alice of Wonderland. In November, Carroll began writing down the
manuscript of the stories he had told Alice Liddell. By February 10th, 1863 Carroll had completed the
text version of his story, which he called Alice's Adventures Underground. By 1865 the manuscript
had grown and become Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. On December 14th, the book was finally
published. Carroll sent a copy of the first edition to Alice Liddell for Christmas.
After the first publication of Wonderland, Carroll
went on to pen a sequel (Through the Looking Glass) a variety of books of poetry, several more
prose stories, and some mathematical texts.
He died at Guilford, Surrey, on January 14, 1898 at exactly 2:30pm, of influenza, 2 weeks before his
66th birthday, never having been married. Childless, it was his nephew who wrote the first inspection
of his life.