Lewis Carroll

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'Twas brillig and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. ~ Through the Looking-Glass

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 183214 January 1898) was a British author, mathematician, Anglican clergyman, logician, and amateur photographer, more famous under the pen name Lewis Carroll.

His father was Charles Dodgson (archdeacon), his great-gendfather was Charles Dodgson (bishop) and his nephew was Stuart Dodgson Collingwood.

See also:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass
Letters of Lewis Carroll
The Hunting of the Snark

Quotes[edit]

I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.
  • The White Knight must not have whiskers; he must not be made to look old.
  • "You have no mind to be unkind,"
    Said echo in her ear:
    "No mind to bring a living thing
    To suffering or fear.
    For all that's bad, or mean or sad, you have no mind,
    my dear."
    • "To Janet Merriman", quoted in Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933) p.81.
  • The `Why?' cannot, and need not, be put into words. Those for whom a child's mind is a sealed book, and who see no divinity in a child's smile, would read such words in vain: while for any one that has ever loved one true child, no words are needed. For he will have known the awe that falls on one in the presence of a spirit fresh from GOD's hands, on whom no shadow of sin, and but the outermost fringe of the shadow of sorrow, has yet fallen: he will have felt the bitter contrast between the haunting selfishness that spoils his best deeds and the life that is but an overflowing love--for I think a child's first attitude to the world is a simple love for all living things: and he will have learned that the best work a man can do is when he works for love's sake only, with no thought of name, or gain, or earthly reward. No deed of ours, I suppose, on this side the grave, is really unselfish: yet if one can put forth all one's powers in a task where nothing of reward is hoped for but a little child's whispered thanks, and the airy touch of a little child's pure lips, one seems to come somewhere near to this.
    • Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886), Introduction, p.v.
  • To Her, whose children's smiles fed the narrator's fancy and were his rich reward: from the Author.
    • Inscribed in Mrs. Lorina Liddell's copy of Alice's Adventures Under Ground; quoted by Edward Wakeling
  • I charm in vain; for never again,
    All keenly as my glance I bend,
    Will Memory, goddess coy,
    Embody for my joy
    Departed days, nor let me gaze
    On thee, my fairy friend!
    • "To my Child-friend" in The Game Of Logic (1886).
  • If you want to inspire confidence, give plenty of statistics – it does not matter that they should be accurate, or even intelligible, so long as there is enough of them.
    • Three Months in a Curatorship, 1886.
  • "And at last we've got to the end of this ideal racecourse! Now that you accept A and B and C and D, of course you accept Z."
    "Do I?" said the Tortoise innocently. "Let's make that quite clear. I accept A and B and C and D. Suppose I still refused to accept Z?"
    "Then Logic would take you by the throat, and force you to do it!" Achilles triumphantly replied. "Logic would tell you, 'You can't help yourself. Now that you've accepted A and B and C and D, you must accept Z!' So you've no choice, you see."
    "Whatever Logic is good enough to tell me is worth writing down," said the Tortoise. "So enter it in your notebook, please. We will call it
    (E) If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true.
    Until I've granted that, of course I needn't grant Z. So it's quite a necessary step, you see?"
    "I see," said Achilles; and there was a touch of sadness in his tone.
  • But surely you trust God! Do you think He would let you come to harm? To be afraid is to distrust.
    • To a girl who was frightened of travelling by train
    • Quoted in Beatrice Hatch, "Lewis Carroll", Strand Magazine (April 1898), p.421.
  • As you have invited me, I cannot come, for I have made a rule to decline all invitations; but I will come the next day.
    • Quoted in Beatrice Hatch, "Lewis Carroll", Strand Magazine (April 1898), p.422.

Useful and Instructive Poetry (1845)[edit]

  • "What may I do?" at length I cried,
    Tired of the painful task.
    The fairy quietly replied,
    And said "You must not ask."
    • My Fairy.
  • There was once a young man of Oporta,
    Who daily got shorter and shorter,
    The reason he said
    Was the hod on his head
    Which was filled with the heaviest mortar.
    • Melodies no.3.

The Rectory Umbrella[edit]

  • The day was wet, the rain fell souse
    Like jars of strawberry jam, a
    sound was heard in the old henhouse,
    A beating of a hammer.
    • Lays of Sorrow No.1, opening lines.
  • And so it fell upon a day,
    (That is, it never rose again)
    • Lays of Sorrow No.1.
  • Fair stands the ancient Rectory,
    The Rectory of Croft,
    The sun shines bright upon it,
    The breezes whisper soft.
    From all the house and garden
    Its inhabitants come forth,
    And muster in the road without,
    And pace in twos and threes about,
    The children of the North.
    • Lays of Sorrow No.2, opening lines.
  • The rabbits bow before thee,
    And cower in the straw;
    The chickens are submissive,
    And own thy will for law;
    Bullfinches and canary
    Thy bidding do obey;
    And e'en the tortoise in its shell
    Doth never say thee nay.
    • Lays of Sorrow No.2.

Phantasmagoria (1869)[edit]

  • One winter night, at half past nine,
    Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
    I had come home, too late to dine
    • Opening lines.
  • "I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
    "Out there upon the landing."
    I turned to look in some surprise,
    And there, before my very eyes,
    A little Ghost was standing!
    • Canto 1, "The Trysting".
  • And as to being in a fright,
    Allow me to remark
    That Ghosts have just as good a right
    In every way, to fear the light,
    As Men to fear the dark.
    • Canto 1.
  • Yet still to choose a brat like you,
    To haunt a man of forty-two,
    Was no great compliment!"
    • Canto 1.
  • Port-wine, he says, when rich and sound,
    Warms his old bones like nectar:
    And as the inns, where it is found,
    Are his especial hunting-ground,
    We call him the INN-SPECTRE.
    • Of "Inspector Kobold", a spectre
    • Canto 3, "Scarmoges".
  • "That narrow window, I expect,
    Serves but to let the dusk in - "
    "But please," said I, "to recollect
    'Twas fashioned by an architect
    Who pinned his faith on Ruskin!"
    • Canto 3.
  • Now that's a thing I WILL NOT STAND,
    And so I tell you flat.
    • Canto 3.
  • Oh, when I was a little Ghost,
    A merry time had we!
    Each seated on his favourite post,
    We chumped and chawed the buttered toast
    They gave us for our tea.
    • Canto 4, "Hys Nouryture".
  • My father was a Brownie, Sir;
    My mother was a Fairy.
    The notion had occurred to her,
    The children would be happier,
    If they were taught to vary.

    The notion soon became a craze;
    And, when it once began, she
    Brought us all out in different ways -
    One was a Pixy, two were Fays,
    Another was a Banshee.
    • Canto 4.
  • Who's the Knight-Mayor?" I cried. Instead
    Of answering my question,
    "Well, if you don't know THAT," he said,
    "Either you never go to bed,
    Or you've a grand digestion!
    • Canto 5, "Byckerment".
  • He is immensely fat, and so
    Well suits the occupation:
    In point of fact, if you must know,
    We used to call him years ago,
    THE MAYOR AND CORPORATION!
    • Canto 5.
  • So, to reward him for his run
    (As it was baking hot,
    And he was over twenty stone),
    The King proceeded, half in fun,
    To knight him on the spot.
    • Explaining the Knight-Mayor's name
    • Canto 5.

Rhyme? and Reason? (1883)[edit]

  • Lady Clara Vere de Vere
    Was eight years old, she said:
    Every ringlet, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden thread.
    • Echoes.
  • There are certain things - as, a spider, a ghost,
    The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three -
    That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
    Is a thing they call the Sea.
    • A Sea Dirge, st.1.
  • There is an insect that people avoid
    (Whence is derived the verb 'to flee').
    Where have you been by it most annoyed?
    In lodgings by the Sea.
    • A Sea Dirge.
  • From his shoulder Hiawatha
    Took the camera of rosewood,
    Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
    Neatly put it all together.
    In its case it lay compactly,
    Folded into nearly nothing;

    But he opened out the hinges,
    Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
    Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
    Like a complicated figure
    In the Second Book of Euclid.

    • Hiawatha's Photographing st.1&2.
  • Finally my Hiawatha
    Tumbled all the tribe together,
    ('Grouped' is not the right expression),
    And, as happy chance would have it
    Did at last obtain a picture
    Where the faces all succeeded:
    Each came out a perfect likeness.

    Then they joined and all abused it,
    Unrestrainedly abused it,
    As the worst and ugliest picture
    They could possibly have dreamed of.
    'Giving one such strange expressions -
    Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
    Really any one would take us
    (Any one that did not know us)
    For the most unpleasant people!'
    (Hiawatha seemed to think so,
    Seemed to think it not unlikely.)

    • Hiawatha's Photographing.
  • I NEVER loved a dear Gazelle –
    Nor anything that cost me much:
    High prices profit those who sell,
    but why should
    I be fond of such?
    • Tèma con Variazióne, st.1.
  • Then proudly smiled that old man
    To see the eager lad
    Rush madly for his pen and ink
    And for his blotting-pad –
    But, when he thought of publishing,
    His face grew stern and sad.
    • Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur, last st.
  • 'O gin I find anither ladye,'
    He said wi' sighs and tears,
    'I wot my coortin' sall not be
    Anither thirty years:

    'For gin I find a ladye gay,
    Exactly to my taste,
    I'll pop the question, aye or nay,
    In twenty years at maist.'

    • The Lang Coortin', last two sts.
  • Yet what are all such gaieties to me
    Whose thoughs are full of indices and surds?
    x2+7x+53
    =11/3.
    • Four Riddles, no.I
  • A change came o'er my Vision - it was night:
    We clove a pathway through a frantic throng:
    The steeds, wild-plunging, filled us with affright:
    The chariots whirled along.

    Within a marble hall a river ran -
    A living tide, half muslin and half cloth:
    And here one mourned a broken wreath or fan,
    Yet swallowed down her wrath

    • Four Riddles, no. I
  • A sadder vision yet: thine aged sire
    Shaming his hoary locks with treacherous wile!
    And dost thou now doubt Truth to be a liar?
    And wilt thou die, that hast forgot to smile?
    • Four Riddles, no. II
  • The air is bright with hues of light
    And rich with laughter and with singing:
    Young hearts beat high in ecstasy,
    And banners wave, and bells are ringing:
    But silence falls with fading day,
    And there's an end to mirth and play.
    Ah, well-a-day!
    • Four Riddles, no. III
  • Blow, blow your trumpets till they crack,
    Ye little men of little souls!
    And bid them huddle at your back -
    Gold-sucking leeches, shoals on shoals!

    Fill all the air with hungry wails -
    "Reward us, ere we think or write!
    Without your Gold mere Knowledge fails
    To sate the swinish appetite!"

    • Fame's Penny-Trumpet st.1&2.

Sylvie and Bruno (1889)[edit]

Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
  • Is all our Life, then but a dream
    Seen faintly in the goldern gleam
    Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?

    Bowed to the earth with bitter woe
    Or laughing at some raree-show
    We flutter idly to and fro.

    Man's little Day in haste we spend,
    And, from its merry noontide, send
    No glance to meet the silent end.

  • I do not know if 'Alice in Wonderland' was an original story — I was, at least, no conscious imitator in writing it — but I do know that, since it came out, something like a dozen story-books have appeared, on identically the same pattern. The path I timidly explored believing myself to be 'the first that ever burst into that silent sea' — is now a beaten high-road: all the way-side flowers have long ago been trampled into the dust: and it would be courting disaster for me to attempt that style again.
    • Preface
I suppose every child has a world of his own — and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?
  • I believe this thought, of the possibility of death — if calmly realised, and steadily faced would be one of the best possible tests as to our going to any scene of amusement being right or wrong. If the thought of sudden death acquires, for you, a special horror when imagined as happening in a theatre, then be very sure the theatre is harmful for you, however harmless it may be for others; and that you are incurring a deadly peril in going. Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
    But, once realise what the true object is in life — that it is not pleasure, not knowledge, not even fame itself, 'that last infirmity of noble minds' — but that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning!
    • Preface
  • Less Bread! More Taxes!--and then all the people cheered again, and one man, who was more excited than the rest, flung his hat high into the air, and shouted (as well as I could make out) "Who roar for the Sub-Warden?" Everybody roared, but whether it was for the Sub-Warden, or not, did not clearly appear: some were shouting "Bread!" and some "Taxes!", but no one seemed to know what it was they really wanted.
    • Opening lines.
  • I suppose every child has a world of his own — and every man, too, for the matter of that. I wonder if that's the cause for all the misunderstanding there is in Life?
    • Chapter 4 : A Cunning Conspiracy
  • He thought he saw an Elephant,
    That practised on a fife:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A letter from his wife.
    'At length I realise,' he said,
    'The bitterness of Life!'
    • Chapter 5 : A Beggar's Palace
  • He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
    Descending from the bus:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Hippopotamus:
    'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
    'There won't be much for us!'
    • Chapter 7 : The Baron's Embassy
  • The West is the fitting tomb for all the sorrow and the sighing, all the errors and the follies of the Past: for all its withered Hopes and all its buried Loves! From the East comes new strength, new ambition, new Hope, new Life, new Love! Look Eastward! Aye, look Eastward!"
    • Chapter 25 : Looking Eastward
  • Fading, with the Night, the memory of a dead love, and the withered leaves of a blighted hope, and the sickly repinings and moody regrets that numb the best energies of the soul: and rising, broadening, rolling upward like a living flood, the manly resolve, and the dauntless will, and the heavenward gaze of faith — the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!
    "Look Eastward! Aye, look Eastward!"
    • Chapter 25 : Looking Eastward

Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing (1890)[edit]

  • Some American writer has said “the snakes in this district may be divided into one species—the venomous”. The same principle applies here. Postage-Stamp-Cases may be divided into one species, the “Wonderland”. Imitations of it will soon appear, no doubt: but they cannot include the two Pictorial Surprises, which are copyright.

    You don't see why I call them 'Surprises'? Well, take the Case in your left hand, and regard it attentively. You see Alice nursing the Duchess's Baby ? (An entirely new combination, by the way : it doesn't occur in the book.) Now, with your right thumb and forefinger, lay hold of the little book, and suddenly pull it out. The Baby has turned into a Pig I If that doesn't surprise you, why, I suppose you wouldn't be surprised if your own Mother-in-law suddenly turned into a Gyroscope!

  • Since I have possessed a "Wonderland Stamp Case", Life has been bright and peaceful, and I have used no other. I believe the Queen's laundress uses no other.
  • If the Letter is to be in answer to another, begin by getting out that other letter and reading it through, in order to refresh your memory, as to what it is you have to answer, and as to your correspondent’s present address (otherwise you will be sending your letter to his regular address in London, though he has been careful in writing to give you his Torquay address in full).
  • Put the date in full. It is another aggravating thing, when you wish, years afterwards, to arrange a series of letters, to find them dated "Feb. 17", "Aug. 2", without any year to guide you as to which comes first. And never, never, dear Madam (N.B. this remark is addressed to ladies only: no man would ever do such a thing), put "Wednesday", simply, as the date!
  • Here is a golden Rule to begin with. Write legibly. The average temper of the human race would be perceptibly sweetened, if everybody obeyed this Rule! A great deal of the bad writing in the world comes simply from writing too quickly.
  • If doubtful whether to end with “yours faithfully”, or “yours truly”, or “your most truly”, &c. (there are at least a dozen varieties, before you reach “yours affectionately”), refer to your correspondent’s last letter, and make your winding-up at least as friendly as his: in fact, even if a shade more friendly, it will do no harm!

Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893)[edit]

'Tis a secret: none knows how it comes, how it goes:
But the name of the secret is Love!
  • God has given to Man an absolute right to take the lives of other animals, for any reasonable cause, such as the supply of food; but He has not given to Man the right to inflict pain, unless where necessary.
    • Introduction
  • I wasn't asleep! said Bruno, in a deeply-injured tone. "When I shuts mine eyes, it's to show that I'm awake!"
    • Chapter 1: Bruno's Lessons.
  • Say, what is the spell, when her fledgelings are cheeping,
    That lures the bird home to her nest?
    Or wakes the tired mother, whose infant is weeping,
    To cuddle and croon it to rest?
    • Chapter 19: A Fairy Duet
  • Say, whence is the voice that, when anger is burning,
    Bids the whirl of the tempest to cease?
    That stirs the vexed soul with an aching — a yearning
    For the brotherly hand-grip of peace ?
    • Chapter 19: A Fairy Duet
  • 'Tis a secret: none knows how it comes, how it goes:
    But the name of the secret is Love!
    • Chapter 19: A Fairy Duet
  • "Our Second Experiment", the Professor announced, as Bruno returned to his place, still thoughtfully rubbing his elbows, "is the production of that seldom-seen-but-greatly-to-be-admired phenomenon, Black Light! You have seen White Light, Red Light, Green Light, and so on: but never, till this wonderful day, have any eyes but mine seen Black Light! This box", carefully lifting it upon the table, and covering it with a heap of blankets, "is quite full of it. The way I made it was this - I took a lighted candle into a dark cupboard and shut the door. Of course the cupboard was then full of Yellow Light. Then I took a bottle of Black ink, and poured it over the candle: and, to my delight, every atom of the Yellow Light turned Black! That was indeed the proudest moment of my life! Then I filled a box with it. And now - would anyone like to get under the blankets and see it?"

    Dead silence followed this appeal: but at last Bruno said "I'll get under, if it won't jingle my elbows."

    Satisfied on this point, Bruno crawled under the blankets, and, after a minute or two, crawled out again, very hot and dusty, and with his hair in the wildest confusion.

    "What did you see in the box?" Sylvie eagerly enquired.

    "I saw nuffin!" Bruno sadly replied. "It were too dark!"

    "He has described the appearance of the thing exactly!" the Professor exclaimed with enthusiasm. "Black Light, and Nothing, look so extremely alike, at first sight, that I don't wonder he failed to distinguish them! We will now proceed to the Third Experiment."

    • Chapter 21: The Professor's Lecture

Three Sunsets and Other Poems (1898)[edit]

There were no new poems in this book; it was a collection of his "serious" poetry

  • All in the waning light she stood,
    The star of perfect womanhood.
    • Three Sunsets (1861), st.1.
  • The dying crimson of the West
    That faintly tinged his haggard cheek,
    Fell on her as she stood, and shed
    A glory round the patient head.
    • Three Sunsets (1861).
  • Not as in rest she bowed,
    But large hot tears were coursing down her cheek.
    And her low-panted sobs broke awefully
    Upon the sleeping echoes of the night.
    • The Path of Roses (1856).
  • And she arose, and in that darkening room
    Stood lonely as a spirit of the night —
    Stood calm and fearless in the gathered night —
    And raised her eyes to heaven. There were tears
    Upon her face, but in her heart was peace.
    Peace that the world nor gives nor takes away!
    • The Path of Roses (1856), concluding lines.
  • O bitter is it to abide
    In weariness alway:
    At dawn to sigh for eventide,
    At eventide for day.
    Thy noon hath fled: thy sun hath shone:
    The brightness of thy day is gone:
    What need to lag and linger on
    Till life be cold and gray?
    • The Valley of the Shadow of Death (1868).
  • Ye golden hours of Life's young spring,
    Of innocence, of love and truth!
    Bright, beyond all imagining,
    Thou fairy-dream of youth!

    I'd give all wealth that years have piled,
    The slow result of Life's decay,
    To be once more a little child
    For one bright summer-day.

    • Solitude (1853), conclusion
  • In her eyes is the living Hght
    Of a wanderer to earth
    From a far celestial height:
    Summers five are all the span —
    Summers five since Time began
    To veil in mists of human night
    A shining angel-birth.

    Does an angel look from her eyes?
    Will she suddenly spring away,
    And soar to her home in the skies?
    Beatrice! Blessing and blessed to be!

    • Beatrice (1862), st.1.
  • The light was faint, and soft the air
    That breathed around the place;
    And she was lithe, and tall, and fair,
    And with a wayward grace
    Her queenly head she bare.
    • Stolen Waters (1862), st.1.
  • "True love gives true love of the best:
    Then take," I cried, "my heart to thee!"
    The very heart from out my breast
    I plucked, I gave it willingly;
    Her very heart she gave to me —
    Then died the glory from the west.

    In the gray light I saw her face,
    And it was withered, old, and gray;
    The flowers were fading in their place,
    Were fading with the fading day.

    • Stolen Waters (1862).
  • An island-farm — broad seas of corn
    Stirred by the wandering breath of morn —
    The happy spot where I was born.
    • Faces in the Fire (1860), st.2.
  • Those locks of jet are turned to gray,
    And she is strange and far away
    That might have been mine own to-day —

    That might have been mine own, my dear,
    Through many and many a happy year —
    That might have sat beside me here.

    • Faces in the Fire (1860), st.8&9.
  • The pictures, with their ruddy light,
    Are changed to dust and ashes white,
    And I am left alone with night.
    • Faces in the Fire (1860), st.13.
  • Last night we owned, with looks forlorn,
    "Too well the scholar knows
    There is no rose without a thorn" —
    But peace is made! We sing, this morn,
    "No thorn without a rose!"
    Our Latin lesson is complete:
    We've learned that Love is Bitter-Sweet!
    • A Lesson in Latin (1888), st.3.
  • All too soon will Childhood gay
    Realise Life's sober sadness.
    Let's be merry while we may,
    Innocent and happy Fay!
    Elves were made for gladness!
    • Puck Lost and Found (1891).

Diaries[edit]

Quoted from the version edited by Edward Wakeking

  • Went to the new Church both morning and afternoon, and read service in the afternoon. I got through it all with great success, till I came to read out the first verse of the hymn before the sermon, where the two words ‘strife strengthened,’ coming together, were too much for me, and I had to leave the verse unfinished.
    • 31 August 1862.
  • I mark this day with a white stone.
    • 19 December 1863; he frequently used this or a similar phrase for especially notable days.

Quotes about Carroll[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • Lewis Carroll was especially kind to Charlie and me, though when I was only five I offended him once when, at a children’s party at Hatfield, he was telling us a story. He was a stammerer and being unable to follow what he was saying I suddenly asked in a loud voice, "Why does he waggle his mouth like that?" I was hastily removed by the lady-in-waiting.
    • Princess Alice, For My Grandchildren, Some Reminiscences of Her Royal Highness Princess Alice (1966).
  • He had a curiously womanish face, and, in direct contradiction to his real character, there seemed to be little strength in it.
    • Isa Bowman, The Story of Lewis Carroll (1899) p. 9.
  • Lewis Carroll is somebody who wore different hats. He was a clergyman, a mathematician, a teacher. He wrote serious books, and amazing chidlren's books. He was a photographer. So like most people, he was many people in one skin. Creatively, he made a greater impact than almost any other Victorian, and yet we know next to nothing about him, we just fall back on the old cliché.
  • We lament that we cannot go home again, cannot be a little child once more, and Lewis Carroll's works have enabled us to deny that reality momentarily, to indulge our dreams for one bright interval.
    • Jerome Bump, Introduction to The Rectory Magazine by Lewis Carroll (1975)
  • It is not children who ought to read the works of Lewis Carroll; they are far better employed making mud-pies.
  • A Nursery Magician took
    All little children by the hand:
    And led them laughing through the book
    Where Alice walks in Wonderland.
    • Henry Savile Clarke, quoted in A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933) edited by Evelyn M. Hatch, p.188.
  • He made pets of the most odd and unlikely animals, and numbered certain snails and toads among his intimate friends. He tried also to encourage civilised warfare among earthworms, by supplying them with small pieces of pipe, with which they might fight if so disposed. His notions of charity at this early age were somewhat rudimentary; he used to peel rushes with the idea that the pith would afterwards "be given to the poor," though what possible use they could put it to he never attempted to explain.
  • One day, when Charles was a very small boy, he came up to his father and showed him a book of logarithms, with the request, "Please explain." Mr. Dodgson told him that he was much too young to understand anything about such a difficult subject. The child listened to what his father said, and appeared to think it irrelevant, for he still insisted, "But, please, explain!"
    • Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (1898) pp. 12-3.
  • No one who was not by nature a lover of logic, and an extreme precisian in the use of words and phrases, could have written the two "Alice" books.
    • Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Lewis Carroll Picture Book (1899) p. 3.
  • Lewis Carroll's humour is that of an educated man; it is fun indeed, but of the most refined and exotic. And that is why his books, popular as they are and as they deserve to be among children, can only be fully appreciated by grown-up readers.
    • Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Lewis Carroll Picture Book (1899) p. 4.
  • Such were the lucidity of exposition and his mastery of the topic that it seems possible that, had he ever published it, the political theory of Britain would have been significantly different.
    • Michael Dummett on Carroll's work on election theory; quoted in Robin Wilson, Lewis Carroll in Numberland (2008) p.vii
  • We worked together for seven years. Tenniel and other artists declared I would not work with Carroll for seven weeks! I accepted the challenge, but I, for that purpose, adopted quite a new method. No artist is more matter-of-fact or businesslike than myself: to Carroll I was not Hy. F., but someone else, as he was someone else. I was wilful and erratic, bordering on insanity. We therefore got on splendidly.
    • Harry Furniss, Confessions of a Caricaturist, vol.1 (1901), pp.104-5.
  • To have known the man was even as great a treat as to read his books. Lewis Carroll was as unlike any other man as his books were unlike any other author's books. It was a relief to meet the pure simple, innocent dreamer of children, after the selfish commercial mind of most authors.
    • Harry Furniss, Confessions of a Caricaturist, vol.1 (1901), p.105.
  • He was preoccupied with left and right, as with right and wrong.
  • Phyllis Greenacre, quoted in Florence Becker Lennon, The Life of Lewis Carroll (1962), p.32
  • The star that danced at Carroll's birth
    In high exuberance of mirth
    Is dancing yet.
    • Beatrice Hatch, Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933), p.v.
  • Mr. Dodgson had a mathematical, a logical and a philosophical mind; and when these qualities are united to a love of the grotesque, the resultant fancies are sure to have a quite peculiar charm, a charm so much the greater because its source is subtle and eludes all attempts to grasp it. Sometimes he seems to revel in ideas which are not merely illogical but anti-logical.
    • Henry Holiday, The Snark's Significance, Academy, 29 January 1898.
  • Dodgson was overcome by the beauty of Cologne Cathedral. I found him leaning against the rails of the Choir and sobbing like a child. When the verger came to show us over the chapels behind the Choir, he got out of the way, he said that he could not bear the harsh voice of the man in the presence of so much beauty.
    • Henry Liddon, The Russian Journal, ed. Morton Cohen (1979), p. 13.
  • It was a soufflé of a speech, light, pleasant, digestible, and nourishing also.
  • As one who was a boy for much of his adult life, he was by our standards something of a fuddy-duddy in his youth.
    • John Pudney, Lewis Carroll and His World (1976), p.10.
  • Except for the straw boater for the river outings, a top hat was always worn and gloves carried.
    • John Pudney, Lewis Carroll and His World (1976), p.13.
  • I shall always remember his beautiful twinkling eyes, full of love and laughter, as he told us wonderful stories.
    • Katharine Rivers, "Memories of Lewis Carroll", McMaster University Library Research News, Vol. 3, No. 4, January 1976.
  • And how Lewis Carroll loved the country, the woods, and the hay, and wove into his magic stories the flowers and animals we saw there! Sitting with his back to a big tree-trunk, with one of us on his knee – sometimes one on each knee – he would tell us for hours, stories of the Pixies. And every time he came, he had fresh adventures to relate.
    • Katharine Rivers, "Memories of Lewis Carroll", McMaster University Library Research News, Vol. 3, No. 4, January 1976.
  • Sometimes our friend’s face looked, when in repose, very sad and worn, and very different from the fun-lit face, with its charming eyes, that we saw when he was telling us those magic tales – tales which seem to have been woven right into the fabric of my life, and to have coloured it always with a tinge of his dreams.
    • Katharine Rivers, "Memories of Lewis Carroll", McMaster University Library Research News, Vol. 3, No. 4, January 1976.
  • He impressed me mainly as belonging to the type of 'the University Man': a certain externalism of polite propriety, verging towards the conventional. I do not think in my presence he said anything 'funny' or quaint.
  • In a stroke, Carroll anticipated key elements of multiple alignment, minimum distance alignment and local alignment that are now central to biological sequence analysis.
    • David B. Searls, "From Jabberwocky to Genome: Lewis Carroll and Computational Biology", Journal of Computational Biology, 8(3), 2001, p.342.
  • Dodgson’s stammer was a good deal under control and could be used defensively (to gain time), or rhetorically to enhance the effect of a story, when the point was near.
    • John Alexander Stewart, senior student at Christ Church; quoted by Edward Wakeling
  • It may be taken as axiomatic that whatever Dodgson was thinking and feeling at the time found its way into his 'nonsense'.
    • Alexander L. Taylor, The White Knight (1952), p.157.
  • My beloved friend - one of the most unique and charming personalities of our time.
    • E. Gertrude Thomson, quoted in Morton Cohen & Edward Wakeling, Lewis Carroll and his Illustrators (2003) p.319.
  • And the exquisite nonsense he talked! It was like pages out of the Alices, only more delightful, for there was his own voice and smile to give the true charm to it all.
    • E. Gertrude Thomson, quoted in Morton Cohen & Edward Wakeling, Lewis Carroll and his Illustrators (2003) p.322.
  • His imaginatively posed photographs of children are a delight, and his hundreds of photographs of friends and celebrities provide us with much insight into the Victorian world around him.
    • Robin Wilson, Lewis Carroll in Numberland (2008) p.vii
  • He was the kind of man who kept a diagram showing where you sat when you dined with him and what you ate, lest he serve you the same dish when you came again.
  • The Reverend C. L. Dodgson had no life. He passed through the world so lightly that he left no print. He melted so passively into Oxford that he is invisible.
    • Virginia Woolf, essay "Lewis Carroll" (1939); reprinted in The Moment, and Other Essays (1948).
  • For some reason, we know not what, his childhood was sharply severed. It lodged in him whole and entire. He could not disperse it.
    • Virginia Woolf, essay "Lewis Carroll" (1939).

Beatrice Hatch, "Lewis Carroll", Strand Magazine (April 1898)[edit]

  • Those of us who knew him best remember him as the kind and loving friend, who contributed so much to the happiness of our lives, and whom we shall truly mourn as one of the best of men.
    • p.413.
  • Never, surely, did any man make more friends among children than he did.
    • p.414.
  • It was impossible for Mr. Dodgson to pass by the smallest opportunity of speaking to a child, and his winning manner gained the hearts, and generally the tongues, of all whom he met.
    • p.414.
  • In his estimation, logic was a most important study for everyone. No pains were spared to make it clear and interesting to those who would but consent to learn of him.
    • p.416.
  • The arrangement of his papers, the classification of his photographs, the order of his books, the lists and registers that he kept about everything imaginable - all this betokened his well-ordered mind.
    • p.417.
  • Everything that he did must be done in the most perfect manner possible; and the same care and attention would be given to other people's affairs, if in any way he could assist or give them pleasure.
    • p.418.
  • Mr. Dodgson had a great horror of being "lionised," and ingeniously silenced his tormentors by representing to them, indirectly, that "lewis Carroll," the author of "Alice," and "Mr. Dodgson" were two separate persons.
    • p.421.
  • Never was there a more delightful host for a "dinner-party," or one who took such pains for your entertainment, fresh and interesting to the last.
    • p.421.
  • With all his humour he took a serious view of life, and had a very grave vein running through his mind. The simplicity of his faith, his deep reverence, and his child-like faith in the goodness of God were striking.
    • p.421.
  • Mr. Dodgson did not often preach, yet, when he did, he had the power to impress and captivate his hearers. There was no need for him to write out a sermon. Full of earnestness in his subject, the words came without difficulty. Neither was there any danger of his wandering from the direct point, for before the eye of his ordered and logical mind, his subject would arise in the form of a diagram to be worked out point by point.
    • p.421.
  • The benefaction which he bestowed upon the world is still with us - the benefaction of a wit that was never sarcastic, a humour that was always sympathetic; and the embodiment in himself of the three essentials of Life: Faith, the light by which to live; Hope, the goal for which to labour; Charity, the wide horizon, to which his soul looked out in love.
    • p.423.

Florence Becker Lennon, The Life of Lewis Carroll (1962)[edit]

  • How did it happen that the Reverend Charles Dodgson, thirty years of age, lecturer on geometry at Christ Church, Oxford, hitherto remarkable chiefly for his precision, on a single July afternoon, while rowing up the Isis with a brother don and three little girls, parthenogenetically gave birth to one of the most famous stories of all time?
    • Page 23.
  • Charles Dodgson, born a romantic and a rationalist, would have fitted more easily into the world of Voltaire and Goethe than into the one that received him.
    • Page 25.
  • Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's life in space-time colored his liberated life of the imagination.
    • Page 27.
  • Charles, trapped in the cave of his period, was the laughing philosopher who could show others the way out. He spoke the language and played the role of Ariel - the mantle of Prospero ill became him, though he fancied it.
    • Page 27.
  • Cramped by his own charts, on a stream itself restricted, his genius directed him to the bottomless ocean of his books, and impelled him to dive under the graciously sparkling surface into the dark swirl of the icy depths.
    • Page 30.
  • Rich deposits of perversity crop up in his humor - and his sudden attacks of virtue or sentimentality midway through his own or other persons' jests hint that his imp has suggested to him something particularly unfunny and unpardonable.
    • Page 33.
  • Dodgson of course was a meticulous traveler. He packed each article separately, well wrapped in paper to twice its bulk.
    • Page 176.

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