Henry George Liddell

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Henry George Liddell (6 February 181118 January 1898) was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and dean (1855–91) of Christ Church, Oxford. His daughter Alice inspired Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.



Colin Gordon, Beyond the Looking Glass (1982)

  • A good, square, stone house, placed on an eminence, facing the Bishop's Palace at Auckland.
    • Of the house where he was born, p. 25.
  • I do not think that any sorrow of youth or manhood equalled in intensity or duration the black and hopeless misery which followed the wrench of transference from a happy home to a school.
    • P.29.
  • A good, very good, not to say admirable schoolmaster, but then he is only a schoolmaster.
    • Of his headmaster at Charterhouse, Dr. Russell; p. 31.
  • She was extremely fond of snuff,and blew her nose with a trumpet-like sound on a vast indian silk handkerchief, which she carefully arranged before use with a sort of cushion.
    • Of his Aunt Anna; p. 34.

Quotes about Liddell

  • He was a singularly handsome man, and a great figurehead. But he was not popular. The undergraduates resented his treatment of them as schoolboys; he could not quite shake off the schoolmaster attitude of his Westminster days, and this led to some follies, and worse than follies. Rebellion was rife, the lecture room was gutted, and the furniture destroyed; a kettle of gunpowder with a fuse attached to it was hung upon the door of the deanery, but was fortunately discovered in time.
    • Lord Redesdale, Memories (1915), vol.1 p. 100.
  • The dean was as handsome a specimen of aristocratic manhood as could be seen in a lifetime.
  • A tenderer, more affectionate man did not exist than Henry george Liddell.
    • Sir William Richmond, quoted in Florence Becker Lennon, The Life of Lewis Carroll (1962), p. 160.
  • Henry George Liddell, a high-bred gentleman of lofty character, a man of unusual artistic sympathy and cultivation, certified to all of us as a great scholar by his work on the Lexicon; but too much aloof and temperamentally too reserved and distant to have much influence with the undergraduates, and not a man to put energy into the religious life of the place.
    • E. S. Talbot, Memories of Early Life (1924) p. 31–2.
  • Your husband ruined all my prospects in life; he did all my Latin verses for me and I lost all opportunities for self-improvement.
  • He has so comprehended the relative importance of men and things as to believe most thoroughly in the necessity for maintaining the British Aristocracy as a superior and privileged race. His reign at Christ Church will be remembered as a pleasant one by all influential persons who have adorned ‘the house’ in his time. Dignified in appearance and with much superficial sternness of demeanour, he has yet never made his discipline uncomfortable, and has often tempered it with breakfasts and croquet-parties of much distinction. He is sixty-three years of age, fine-looking, and thoroughly domesticated.
    • Vanity Fair, 30 Jan 1875.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Liddell

  • Two men wrote a lexicon, Liddell and Scott;
    Some parts were clever, but some parts were not.
    Hear, all ye learned, and read me this riddle,
    How the wrong part wrote Scott, and the right part wrote Liddell.
    • Anon. on Liddell and Scott's Greek lexicon.
  • I feel confident that in your hands Christ Church will hold out every possible inducement to us to send our sons there, in the full confidence that you will turn them out gentlemen and useful members of society.
    • Lord Elcho (later eighth Earl of Wemyss).
  • He was the only man in Oxford among the masters of my day who knew anything of art.
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