Short Biography: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Topics: Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Henry Liddell Pages: 6 (2277 words) Published: March 12, 2008
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born on January 27, 1832 in Daresbury, England to the Reverend Charles Dodgson and Frances Jane Lutwidge. Charles Dodgson senior was born in 1800 and studied Mathematics and Classics at Oxford. After marrying his cousin Frances, he became curate at All Saints' Church in Daresbury. Ten of their eleven children were born there; Charles junior was the eldest boy. He grew up in a strict Christian household and his parents provided his early education. The family moved to Croft-on-Tees in Yorkshire in 1843, Charles senior becoming a vicar there. Charles' life was filled with great achievements inside his personal life, but success was most found in his contribution to literature and mathematics. At age twelve, young Charles attended his first real school, The Richmond School, where he was a boarder living in the headmaster's house. His parents found that their eldest song was settling in well and that he, like his father before him, was excelling in mathematics. On his fourteenth Birthday, Charles was enrolled at the famous Rugby School in Warwickshire. Dodgson found himself unhappy in the environment, suffering torment of the older boys for his sensitivity and his stammer. However, he achieved high standards in his studies and received many prizes. Mathematics was still his favorite subject, though he also excelled at divinity. In spring 1848, Charles caught the whooping cough. He was left with the cough forever, which would return at various times. In fall, he contracted the mumps. He was left partially deaf in his right ear for life. He left Rugby in December 1849 and traveled to Oxford the following May. He enrolled at Christ Church College Oxford, the same college as his father. Unfortunately, he was forced to return home when there was a lack of accommodation for him. In January, he returned to Oxford, having decided to live with Reverend Jacob Ley, a family friend. Two days later, his mother died unexpectedly at only forty-seven. He returned home once more. Charles' third attempt to attend Oxford was more successful. He worked hard in an attempt to win scholarships. In 1851, he was awarded the Boulter Scholarship worth 20 pounds a year. He was awarded a Fellowship at 25 pounds a year for life after receiving a Second Class in Classics and a First Class in Mathematics. In 1854, Dodgson completed his studies with a Third Class Degree in Classics but First Class honors in Mathematics. He became taken with leisurely activities and failed the win the senior scholarship competitions. Dodgson began tutoring pupils for the Mathematical Examiner. He taught at his father's school in Croft in the summer or 1855. He returned to Oxford in October, this time was a Mathematics Lecturer. Dodgson remained in his position of lecturing on Mathematics until 1881. When visiting an uncle in 1855, Dodgson became interested in photography. He soon purchased his own camera in March 1856 and began taking pictures. He took pictures of the landscapes and architecture but especially the people around him. One of Dean Henry George Liddell's daughter's, Alice, was one of Charles' favorite subjects. He also photographed the children of Lord Alfred Tennyson and George Macdonald. According to Alice Liddell, Dodgson "seemed to have an endless store of these fantastical tales, which he made up as he told them, drawing busily on a large sheet of paper all the time." In 1862, Dodgson began to write down his stories, at Alice Liddell's request. After three years of editing and adding, he published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He used the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll", translating "Charles Lutwidge" into Latin ("Carolus Lodovicus"), then anglicizing and reversing their order. He wrote and published a sequel in 1871, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

During this time, and throughout much of the mid-19th century, Dodgson authored many mathematical books. He published A...


Bibliography: JOC/EFR, (2002, November). Dodgson Biography. Retrieved December 1, 2007, from University of St Andrews, School of Mathematics and Statistics Web site: http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Biographies/Dodgson.html
The Lewis Carroll Society of North America, (2007, June 8). Lewis Carroll Logic, Mathematics, and Games. Retrieved December 1, 2007, from Lewis Carroll Organization Web site: http://www.lewiscarroll.org/logic.html
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