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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unravelling the mystery
Jenny Woolf's book is an essential read for anyone interested in the man behind Alice in Wonderland. It delves into Carroll's private life in a way that doesn't aim to sensationalise his lifestyle nor attempt to pseudo-psychoanalyse Carroll's behaviour. Woolf's readable yet intricate penmanship explores Carroll's biography as a whole and includes a look at the more...
Published on 24 Mar. 2010 by Ms. S. R. Preston

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating
This was an infuriating book to read. Woolf has chosen to structure this biography as a series of essays about different aspects of Carroll's life. By failing to wrap these up with basic and relevant information of Carroll's life, and thereby assuming that the reader knows all about Carroll and has intimate knowledge of his work, this was a hard book to read. Names are...
Published 15 months ago by Amsterdamned


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unravelling the mystery, 24 Mar. 2010
By 
Ms. S. R. Preston "Zoshsofpof" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
Jenny Woolf's book is an essential read for anyone interested in the man behind Alice in Wonderland. It delves into Carroll's private life in a way that doesn't aim to sensationalise his lifestyle nor attempt to pseudo-psychoanalyse Carroll's behaviour. Woolf's readable yet intricate penmanship explores Carroll's biography as a whole and includes a look at the more controversial aspects of his personality, his interest in little girls and his photography of them. Woolf highlights the contemporary context which sought to idealise the child as a bastion of innocence and godliness and asserts the difficulties in looking at his work with a modern eye.

What separates Woolf's biography from other reads of a similar vein is her outstanding discovery of Carroll's bank accounts. These give Woolf's biography real depth and it is particularly interesting to read how Carroll gave a substantial amount of money to destitute women's charities, which Woolf argues assuages him from his suspected sexual deviancy.

Woolf's book is a fascinating read which will both keep you enthralled from page to page and nourish the intellect.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating glimpse into the hidden past, 15 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the well-hidden private life of the man who wrote Alice, coming up with some fresh insights which have the unmistakable tang of truth about them. The book places Carroll and his family and friends firmly within the Victorian world he inhabited, using new research to provide unique illumination and insight... All of this helps us to slice away some of the layers of history and censorship (censorship by himself and by others) to reveal something of the extraordinary, delightful and complex human being who called himself Lewis Carroll.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read for anyone interested in the author of Alice, 14 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
There aren't many biographies that can satisfy a need for greater understanding of their subject whilst also stimulating one's curiosity, but the author of this new biography of Lewis Carroll achieves this feat with alacrity.

Using information from a wide variety of sources, including Carroll's previously undiscovered bank account, Woolf manages to give a sympathetic but clear-sighted perspective on the life of this unusual man. She is unable to solve the many mysteries that surround Lewis Carroll, but she uses her research into the mysteries to provide insight into the type of person he probably was, and importantly, a way to view his sometimes unsual behaviour through 21st century eyes.

This book is a must for anyone interested in the author of the Alice books, and for people generally interested in Victorians.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long waited book for us all, 8 Mar. 2010
This has been the book long waited for.

In Lewis Carroll Studies the Myth has been dominant
not only among academic people but also among us
ordinary people, since Alice phenomena have penetrated
almost all the corners around the world.

The Myth has been concerned with the missing pages of
Lewis Carrol's diary.
The most potent and poignant one has been about Lewis Carroll's
love for Alice Liddel, whose synonyms are regarded as Lolita Complex
and paedophile. These labels, however, have been completely
wrong and yet so dominant that those who have been conscientious
find them hard to get rid of for those who could have been happy
being innocent.

The author's approaches to the Myth are sound and convincing;
you will witness them by your own reading of the book.
With her style that enables a seven-year-old child to understand,
Jenny Woolf also has done a good job to show youngsters as well
as adults what Lewis Carrol was really like, by going through the
paths that might have been trodden by this Victorian universal man.

The author, having published Lewis Carroll in His Own Account(ita)
five years ago, has got the good ground to put her feet covering
the academic and non-academic spheres, which her acknowledgement
shows us.
It usually takes time for academic people to have a paradigm shift
even though they do study non academic texts as well.
Thus, with this background of Lewis Carroll Studies Woolf's book is a must
for Lewis Carroll lovers as well as people, who try to do justice to the
Victorian or if we just try to be good for goodness' sake.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll, 21 Mar. 2010
It is some time since the last biography of Lewis Carroll came out & THE MYSTERY OF LEWIS CARROLL offers a thoughtful overview of the life of the author of Alice in Wonderland, containing information which has not been seen before. A great read!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Lewis Carroll, 26 Mar. 2010
By 
Judith Best - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
Good to see ,at last , a book where the great author is a normal human being without the usual innuendo about his frienship with children.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating, 27 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
This was an infuriating book to read. Woolf has chosen to structure this biography as a series of essays about different aspects of Carroll's life. By failing to wrap these up with basic and relevant information of Carroll's life, and thereby assuming that the reader knows all about Carroll and has intimate knowledge of his work, this was a hard book to read. Names are dropped before we know who that person is, events are mentioned without being explained - most of the time I just wanted to fling this book away in annoyance.

Add to this the Victorian vernacular and euphemisms, overuse of adjectives (what exactly is a "donnish walk"?), poor quality photographic reproductions, the curse of the endnote instead of the more user-friendly footnote and being rather too opinionated (it's a biography, not a literary review) ... I found little pleasure in reading this.

It might work if you're already up to speed on Carroll and his works, but for somebody like me who read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland once over 40 years ago, and didn't particularly like it even then, this isn't the book to read to find out about Lewis Carroll.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 4 Jan. 2015
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fine
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars do we need another book about the myth?, 11 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland (Hardcover)
Yes, it's a good read, but I was hoping for something other than a simple 'they got it all wrong' rehash. Leach said all that, ad nauseam, and most Carroll fans already know that story. Yes, Carroll liked women, yes Alice Liddell wasn't the real Alice, yes he was guilt-ridden and wrote love poems, we know already, what's the point in announcing it like a new discovery? I think Woolf should have said less of that and more about her amazing discovery of Carroll's bank account. Which is truly original and absolutely riveting to boot.
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