The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood
The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll
Stuart Dodgson Collingwood
10:49 h History Lvl 9.06
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, poet and mathematician. His most notable works are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871). He was noted for his facility with word play, logic, and fantasy. The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll was published in 1898. Dodgson wrote and received as many as 98,721 letters, according to a special letter register which he devised. He documented his advice about how to write more satisfying letters in a missive entitled "Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing".

Life and Letters
Lewis Carroll
(Rev. C. L. Dodgson)

Stuart Dodgson Collingwood
A. Christ Church, Oxford

Lewis CarrollLewis Carroll


It is with no undue confidence that I have accepted the invitation of the brothers and sisters of Lewis Carroll to write this Memoir. I am well aware that the path of the biographer is beset with pitfalls, and that, for him, suppressio veri is almost necessarily suggestio falsi — the least omission may distort the whole picture.

To write the life of Lewis Carroll as it should be written would tax the powers of a man of far greater experience and insight than I have any pretension to possess, and even he would probably fail to represent adequately such a complex personality. At least I have done my best to justify their choice, and if in any way I have wronged my uncle's memory, unintentionally, I trust that my readers will pardon me.

My task has been a delightful one. Intimately as I thought I knew Mr. Dodgson during his life, I seem since his death to have become still better acquainted with him. If this Memoir helps others of his admirers to a fuller knowledge of a man whom to know was to love, I shall not have written in vain.

I take this opportunity of thanking those who have so kindly assisted me in my work, and first I must mention my old schoolmaster, the Rev. Watson Hagger, M.A., to whom my readers are indebted for the portions of this book dealing with Mr. Dodgson’s mathematical works. I am greatly indebted to Mr. Dodgson’s relatives, and to all those kind friends of his and others who have aided me, in so many ways, in my difficult task. In particular, I may mention the names of H.R.H. the Duchess of Albany; Miss Dora Abdy; Mrs. Egerton Allen; Rev. F. H. Atkinson; Sir G. Baden-Powell, M.P.; Mr. A. Ball; Rev. T. Vere Bayne; Mrs. Bennie; Miss Blakemore; the Misses Bowman; Mrs. Boyes; Mrs. Bremer; Mrs. Brine; Miss Mary Brown; Mrs. Calverley; Miss Gertrude Chataway; Mrs. Chester; Mr. J. C. Cropper; Mr. Robert Davies; Miss Decima Dodgson; the Misses Dymes; Mrs. Eschwege; Mrs. Fuller; Mr. Harry Furniss; Rev. C. A. Goodhart; Mrs. Hargreaves; Miss Rose Harrison; Mr. Henry Holiday; Rev. H. Hopley; Miss Florence Jackson; Rev. A. Kingston; Mrs. Kitchin; Mrs. Freiligrath Kroeker; Mr. F. Madan; Mrs. Maitland; Miss M. E. Manners; Miss Adelaide Paine; Mrs. Porter; Miss Edith Rix; Rev. C. J. Robinson, D.D.; Mr. S. Rogers; Mrs. Round; Miss Isabel Standen; Mr. L. Sergeant; Miss Gaynor Simpson; Mrs. Southwall; Sir John Tenniel; Miss E. Gertrude Thomson; Mrs. Woodhouse; and Mrs. Wyper.

For their help in the work of compiling the Bibliographical chapter and some other parts of the book, my thanks are due to Mr. E. Baxter, Oxford; the Controller of the University Press, Oxford; Mr. A. J. Lawrence, Rugby; Messrs. Macmillan and Co., London; Mr. James Parker, Oxford; and Messrs. Ward, Lock and Co., London.

In the extracts which I have given from Mr. Dodgson’s Journal and Correspondence it will be noticed that Italics have been somewhat freely employed to represent the words which he underlined. The use of Italics was so marked a feature of his literary style, as any one who has read his books must have observed, that without their aid the rhetorical effect, which he always strove to produce, would have been seriously marred.


GUILDFORD, September, 1898.

Chapter I

Lewis Carroll’s forebears — The Bishop of Elphin — Murder of Captain Dodgson — Daresbury — Living in “Wonderland” — Croft — Boyish amusements — His first school-Latin verses — A good report — He goes to Rugby — The Rectory Umbrella — “A Lay of Sorrow.”


The Dodgsons appear to have been for a long time connected with the north of England, and until quite recently a branch of the family resided at Stubb Hall, near Barnard Castle.

In the early part of the last century a certain Rev. Christopher Dodgson held a living in Yorkshire. His son, Charles, also took Holy Orders, and was for some time tutor to a son of the then Duke of Northumberland. In 1762 his patron presented him to the living of Elsdon, in Northumberland, by no means a desirable cure, as Mr. Dodgson discovered. The following extracts from his letters to various members of the Percy family are interesting as giving some idea of the life of a rural clergyman a hundred years ago:

I am obliged to you for promising to write to me, but don’t give yourself the trouble of writing to this place, for ‘tis almost impossible to receive ‘em, without sending a messenger 16 miles to fetch ‘em.

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