Tuesday, 27 January 2009


The man who wrote Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, as we now call them, was born 132 years ago today. His real name was Charles Ludwidge Dodson. To us he is Lewis Carroll.
I have a theory about him and his books. I believe that - far from being simple tales to amuse children - they are the expressions of a man sunk in intellectual torment. Carroll as we shall call him, was, by 1865, a man who stood to lose everything that mattered to him - his job, his home, his colleagues, his friends. All he had to do to bring this disaster about was obey the nagging voice of logic and reason in his head. Following the publication of Darwin´s Origin of Species, it had become too apparent to thinking people that religion in general and Christianity in particular, no longer had a logical leg to stand on.
Whether Carroll ever admitted this to himself, is not known. I strongly suspect he did not. As a result, his dread keeps seeping up subconsciously, like rising damp, and is constantly voiced by the monsters of his own imagination.

An example:

"I can´t believe that!" said Alice.
"Can´t you?" said the Queen in a pitying tone. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."
Alice laughed. "There´s no use trying," she said, "one can´t believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven´t had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I´ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

No more than any devout believer does every day of his or her life, in fact. Certainly no more than Carroll was accustomed to swallow until Darwin and Huxley came along. And there are many more such examples, but I´m going to stop her for now. I´m beginning to bore myself. But I may return to this topic tomorrow. Be warned.

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