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5 things you didn't know about... Lewis Carroll


1st Jan 2015 Meet the Author

5 things you didn't know about... Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll has gone down in history as one of the most interesting authors there ever was. He wrote the timeless classic Alice in Wonderland, as well as countless poems, such as the nonsensical Jabberwocky. So, let us delve a little deeper and see what else we can learn about him.

Lewis Carroll wasn't his real name

Shocked? So were we! Lewis Carroll was just a pen name. The author's real name was in fact Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, but he used Lewis Carroll when publishing novels for children and poems. Good choice really: Lutwidge is a bit of a mouthful!

He wasn't just an author

Carroll earned his crust teaching maths at Oxford, and was a member of Christ Church college. He was well known at the time as an utterly brilliant scholar; Carroll invented the Carroll Diagram, which is also occasionally referred to as the Lewis Carroll square. This is a method of grouping data still being taught to young learners in maths lessons today. Just think, he was teaching mathematics as well as logic to undergraduates at the same time as writing magical stories for young children. That really is a man of many talents, isn't it? 

He was partial to a game of chess

There are several mentions of chess in his novels, and this is down to his pure love of the game. This is perhaps no surprise due to his talents in maths and logic, but it's a fun fact all the same. According to records, Carroll never took part in any chess tournaments, but he was well known among friends as a canny player who was very hard to beat. There are also various mentions of the game in Carroll's personal diaries, and he had a book or two on it in his own library. 

He was born into a big family

As was most common in those days, Carroll was far from an only child. He had 10 brothers and sisters! His mother sadly passed away shortly after he was accepted into Oxford, and the family came to be looked after by his aunt. Carroll's siblings lives were rather boring in comparison to their brother's success; one of his brothers became a vicar, like his father, whilst another found employment as a land agent. 

Alice in Wonderland came about from a real story told to children

It's well known that Carroll enjoyed taking the three daughters of his friend, Oxford dean Henry Liddell, to the river for jolly days out and boat trips. He used to tell them stories, and this is when Alice in Wonderland first truly came into being. The story was eventually first published in the year 1865.

We hope you've learned something new about the legendary 19th century author and poet Lewis Carroll! Make sure you have a look at some of our similar blog posts if you want to learn more.


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