Relating to a previously unseen letter that will soon be auctioned author Lewis Carroll despised fame so much he wished he previously never written the books about Alice’s adventures that made him a literary legend
Lewis Carroll’s life changed forever after Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published GETTY
An obscure mathematician called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson penned a range of learned works with titles such as A Syllabus Of Plane Algebraic Geometry and The Fifth Book Of Euclid Treated Algebraically in the mid-19th century.
5 years after the latter in 1865 he embarked on a radical change of direction.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll along with his life changed for good.
Queen Victoria loved it, fan mail arrived because of the sackful and he started to be recognised in the pub.
This is sheer hell for a shy and retiring academic who doubled as an Anglican deacon in addition to extent of his torment is revealed the very first time in a previously unseen letter which will be expected to fetch significantly more than Ј4,000 when it is auctioned at Bonhams the following month.
When you look at the letter written to Anne Symonds, the widow of eminent Oxford surgeon Frederick Symonds, he laments being thrust to the public eye by his success and treated like a zoo animal by admirers.
He even suggests which he wishes he previously never written the classic tales that brought him worldwide fame.
“All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my name that is real in utilizing the books, and also to my being pointed off to, and stared at by strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’,” he wrote.
“And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I experienced never written any books at all.”
The letter, written in November 1891, was penned 26 years following the publication of Alice In Wonderland, when he was 59.
He died six years later and then how his reputation would be tarnished in death he would have been even more horrified if he had known. His fondness for the kids and his practice of photographing and sketching them, sometimes when you look at the nude, resulted in a posthumous lynching in the court of literary opinion.
The creative genius who gave us Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter was labelled a pervert, paedophile and pornographer as a result.
Alice Liddell inspired him to publish the book GETTY
and I also hate all of that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish that I had never written any books after all
The fact that four associated with 13 volumes of his diaries mysteriously went missing and that seven pages of some other were torn out by an unknown hand only put into the circumstantial evidence against him.
But while Dodgson never married, there is certainly plenty of evidence in the diaries that he had a keen fascination with adult women both married and single and enjoyed a wide range of relationships that would have been considered scandalous because of the standards of times.
Sympathetic historians also argue his studies of naked children need to be observed in the context of their time.
The “Victorian child cult” perceived nudity as an expression of innocence and such images were mainstream and fashionable instead of emblematic of a fascination that is sick young flesh.
The speculation over Dodgson’s sexuality has its roots in the little girl to his relationship who was simply the inspiration for his fictional Alice. The real-life Alice was the younger daughter of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, where Dodgson plied his trade as a mathematician and served as a deacon.
She was by all accounts a pretty and vivacious 10-year-old when he first surely got to know her and then he would often take her out along with her sisters for picnics and boat trips on the Thames.
On these days he would entertain all of them with his stories in regards to the fictional Alice, tales he was eventually persuaded to put into book form and send to a publisher.
While his critics have suggested after growing into adolescence, one biographer proposes a very different analysis that he grew fixated with Alice Liddell, took photographs of her in inappropriate poses and was devastated when she broke away from him.
The dodo presenting Alice with a thimble in an illustration by Tenniel GETTY
“There is no evidence from her presence. which he was in love together with her,” wrote Karoline Leach within the Shadow Of The Dreamchild customwritings. “No evidence that her family concerned about her, no evidence which they banned him”
She added: “There are no letters or private diary entries to suggest any type of romantic or passionate attachment, or to indicate which he had an unique interest in her for any but the briefest time.”
It was not Alice who was simply the main focus of Dodgson’s attentions, she suggests, but her mother Lorina. Definately not being a means of grooming the daughter, their day trips were a cover for a passionate and reckless affair with the mother. When the Alice books were written Dodgson was at his early 30s.
Lorina, while 5 years older, was – in the words of writer William Langley – “a free spirit and a renowned beauty stuck in a dull marriage to Henry, the Dean, who was simply both notoriously boring and reputedly homosexual”.
He added: “Carroll may have now been viewed as something of an oddity around Oxford however in contrast to Henry he had been handsome, youthful, engaging and witty. In which he been able to spend an astonishing length of time at the Liddells’ house most of it while Henry wasn’t in.”
It absolutely was this liaison, according to Leach, which led members of the family to censor his diaries rather than any inappropriate relationship with an girl that is underage. Her thesis is supported by the findings of another author, Jenny Woolf.
She tracked down Dodgson’s bank records on her 2010 book The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll and discovered that despite often being in debt Dodgson gave away about Ј50 a year (Ј5,500 in today’s money) to various charities while earning an income of Ј300 (Ј33,000 today) teaching mathematics at Christ Church and double that by means of royalty payments from Macmillian, his publisher.
An organisation that “used to track down and prosecute men who interfered with children” among the charities Dodgson supported was the Society For The Protection Of Women And Children.
Woolf adds: “He also supported other charities which rehabilitated women who was in fact trafficked and abused and a hospital which specialised in the treatment for venereal disease. It suggests the damage concerned him the sex trade inflicted upon women.”
A sceptic might argue that it was the window-dressing of a child abuser but Woolf makes a telling point in his favour.