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Lewis Carroll: The Man and his Circle Hardcover – 24 Nov 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris (24 Nov. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780768206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780768205
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'For anyone who wants to know what this complicated genius was like, this current work of reference does it all and is unlikely to be surpassed.' --Independent

About the Author

Edward Wakeling is an internationally recognized authority on Lewis Carroll. A former chairman of the Lewis Carroll Society, he edited the ten volumes of Lewis Carroll's Diaries and regularly acts as a consultant to auctioneers, television programmes and exhibitions worldwide. He owns one of the finest collections of Carroll material in private hands. His books include Lewis Carroll's Oxford Pamphlets (University Press of Virginia Press, 1993), Lewis Carroll Photographer (with Roger Taylor, Princeton University Press, 2002) and Lewis Carroll and his Illustrators (with Morton N. Cohen, Cornell University Press, 2003).

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover
.. to make another seem superfluous.’

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 to 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll was an Anglican deacon, logician, mathematician, photographer and writer. It’s almost 150 years since, on 26 November 1865, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ was first published in the UK. It’s a book that has brought a lot of joy to at least four generations in my own family, as have other of his literary works. I’m not sure, though, that any of us have read any of his mathematical works.

A number of biographies have been written about Lewis Carroll, but this one is different. Edward Wakeling has had an interest in Lewis Carroll since 1975, and now owns one of the finest collections of Carroll material in private hands. By drawing on Lewis Carroll’s voluminous correspondence, Edward Wakeling’s biography looks at Lewis Carroll from within his social circle. Lewis Carroll’s correspondence numbered almost 100,000 items by the time of his death, and of those almost 6,000 (of which 4,000 have never before been published) are in Edward Wakeling’s personal database. Who did Lewis Carroll correspond with? Was his world as child-centric, as some have claimed?

‘From childhood, Dodgson had a natural flair for telling amusing and entertaining stories, and with a large number of siblings at his disposal he had a readymade audience.’

From reading this book it becomes clear just how wide Lewis Carroll’s circle was. His correspondents included many of the leading academics, artists, composers, musicians and publishers of the period, as well as some members of the royal family. There are also some delightful letters to and from children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
‘The last one hundred years have seen enough biographies of Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) .. 29 Jan. 2015
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
.. to make another seem superfluous.’

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 to 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll was an Anglican deacon, logician, mathematician, photographer and writer. It’s almost 150 years since, on 26 November 1865, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ was first published in the UK. It’s a book that has brought a lot of joy to at least four generations in my own family, as have other of his literary works. I’m not sure, though, that any of us have read any of his mathematical works.

Many biographies have been written about Lewis Carroll, but this one is different. Edward Wakeling has had an interest in Lewis Carroll since 1975, and now owns one of the finest collections of Carroll material in private hands. By drawing on Lewis Carroll’s voluminous correspondence, Edward Wakeling’s biography looks at Lewis Carroll from within his own social circle. Lewis Carroll’s correspondence numbered almost 100,000 items by the time of his death, and of those almost 6,000 (of which 4,000 have never before been published) are in Edward Wakeling’s personal database.
Who did Lewis Carroll correspond with? Was his world as child-centric, as some have claimed?

‘From childhood, Dodgson had a natural flair for telling amusing and entertaining stories, and with a large number of siblings at his disposal he had a readymade audience.’

From reading this book it becomes clear just how wide Lewis Carroll’s circle was. His correspondents included many of the leading academics, artists, composers, musicians and publishers of the period, as well as some members of the royal family. There are also some delightful letters to and from children. I enjoyed reading about Lewis Carroll’s photography hobby, which he gave up in 1880, and his efforts to obtain the best illustrations for his books.

There’s a wealth of detail in this book, and while the information provided is fascinating, it is neither a quick nor an easy read. Until I read this book, I had little knowledge about Lewis Carroll’s life other than a few biographical details, and that his real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. I’d read occasional views that his interest in children was ‘unhealthy’ but was unaware of the background to such claims. Reading this book, while it seems clear that Carroll liked children and they liked him, his friendships seem to have been the kind of friendships that many of us were once freely able to enjoy with adults who were not family. How sad it is that times have changed. How important it is that we look at such friendships through the prism of the times in which they flourished.

‘This book is an attempt to confound some of the more outrageous biographies that have been published in the last half-century, where the writers have not availed themselves of the primary sources that survive and have indulged in all manner of speculation and mythmaking.’

I enjoyed reading this biography, and I now want to reread ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. I may not be able to recapture the pure magic of my first read about 50 years ago, but I know that I will enjoy it even more knowing a little more about the man who wrote it.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher I B Tauris for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Good Information about the Alice Books and Carroll's social ciricle -not a good beginning biography of Lewis Carroll 1 Feb. 2015
By Celia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
hough I did not like the book as a basic biography of Lewis Carroll (the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), the book did have a lot valuable of information about the background of the Alice books and the educational systems of Victorian England.

I was very disappointed that book was not a straightforward chronological biography of Charles Dodgson. Instead the goal of the author is to refute some negatives biographies of Charles Dodgson (whom I will now call Lewis Carroll) which have recently been written. He does this by writing about Charles Dodgson and his social circle. The author while trying to disprove some of the negative stories of Dodgson by other biographers ends up making Dodgson seem like a saint which probably is also a one-sided picture of Dodgson; most famous people are a mixture of good and bad.

This approach of the author of the book is highly problematic for readers like me who don't know much about the life Charles Dodgson or about the negative biographies written about him. Also I am very much opposed on both philosophic and readability grounds biographies not written in straight chronological order. This format of writing is more pleasurable to read and allows the reader to see how the subject of the biography changes over time.
However there was some highly interesting information about the Alice books. As a child as very disappointed that Charles Dodgson's own drawings were used in the books. My version had John Tenniel's version. However, in this book I learned that Dodgson did not feel is drawings were good enough for the book and he very closely worked with Tenniel on the illustrations. Dodgson was familiar with the royal circles and it does make on wonder if some of the Queens in the story were based on Queen Victoria though some of these Queens are not likeable people. We find out who the real Alice was to whom Dodgson told the story.

Probably it is Dodgson relationship with the real Alice (Alice Liddell) that even as to me as a child evoked some hint of scandal. What is an unmarried man doing rowing an unrelated young girl child telling her stories and writing a book with her as the main character? This book partially answers this question. Dodgson needed to work for money; in the arrangement of the University he worked for he had to agree not to get married though this requirement was dropped for him later in his life. Alice Liddell was the daughter of his boss at the University. Upper class British girls of the time did not go to school while the boys were sent away to boarding school). Upper class girls probably felt somewhat bored and lonely. He probably was seen as something like a teacher/minister to these girls.

Thus, I found the book and interesting look at Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)'s world in which he lived but I did not like it as a biography
Overall, I thought this was a very well written ... 10 Feb. 2015
By Jennifer Schell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I thought this was a very well written biography on Lewis Carroll. He was a much more complex man than expected.
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