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Lewis Carroll: A Biography Paperback – November 26, 1996


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Lewis Carroll: A Biography + The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" + The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679745629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679745624
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Biography of the multitalented author and mathematician.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In his time, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was known to the world as an outstanding pioneer photographer of children, particularly of female children, as well as for being the author Lewis Carroll. One of Dodgson's "child-friends," Alice Lidell, served as the inspiraton for his literary Alice. These child-friend associations subjected Dodgson to public scrutiny, gossip, and suspicion concerning his emotional and sexual proclivities, suppressed though they may have been. Dodgson chose to "let them talk." Biographer Cohen (Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1988) uses previously unavailable family and personal documents, diaries, and letters to show that the shy bachelor Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don and lecturer, held himself to the strictest of moral codes. While Lewis Carroll has been probed and analyzed by countless writers (see, for instance, John Pudney's Lewis Carroll and His World, 1976), this book is about the intimate and complex life of the man behind all those who lived on the other side of the looking glass. Recommended for all literature collections.?Robert L. Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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He was in all ways a Victorian, a chaste and very gifted genius.
C. Ferry
He is just enormously knowledgable, has edited countless books on Carroll and done a great deal of original research.
Jenny Woolf
I would recommend this book to anyone, not just "Alice" lovers.
Laura

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Japonaliya on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am not going to review Morton's biography as it has been acclaimed for many years since it's publication.
What caused me to comment here is the statements by some readers that Cohen's book should be updated due to "new evidence" by Karoline Leach that Carroll was not in love with Alice, but her governess. She further states that the Carroll was not as attracted to children as one is led to believe and the whole "little girl" thing is a myth!

I will not comment in great length about this since I am not reviewing HER book, but I feel I must make a few points.

Nothing in the diary page that Ms. Leach quotes from proves anything, and is greatly taken out of context. She totally ignores more obvious evidence to the contrary.

While many people in Oxford thought Carroll's attentions to be for the governess, this was understandable because to think of a grown Oxford don in love with the Dean's daughter was more far fetched.

However, Mrs. Liddell and Carroll himself didn't think so....
Not only did Carroll in his later diaries admit to a long talk with Alice's' mother after her marriage, where he admits to his "foolish" ways (toward Alice) in the past, his estrangement from the Deanery. During that talk, Mrs. Liddell forgives him. (note: that with Alice's marriage, she didn't view Carroll as the "threat" he once was)

Ina, Alice's sister in letters to Alice before her death , mentions that she always thought Dodgson was in love with her sister, and when Alice denies this, Ina points out the many times she had been sitting inappropriately on Dodgson's lap and alludes to other incidents.

Then, there is the letter to Carroll's uncle, where he is upset at the news that his brother wants to marry 14 year old Alice Jane Donkin.
Read more ›
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Cohen is clearly the world's foremost authority on Lewis Carroll, and his biography of this fascinating author is a rich amalgam of factual detail and careful analysis, supplemented with many interesting photographs.
Unlike the narrow thesis-driven Leach book, this biography provides a well-rounded and comprehensive portrait of Carroll the man and author.
Cohen has done more to establish the factual details of Carroll's life and work than anyone else, thanks to this biography and to his scrupulous editions of Carroll's letters.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Riser on September 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
The only real negative about this beautiful and compassionate portrait is the fact that there is some newer information that conflicts with some of what is present in this book. Another edition of the book to address these issues would be welcome, but that doesn't mean this book is obsolete! It is still a very interesting and well-written account of the life of C. L. Dodgson, the man who would become better known as Lewis Carroll, and this book shouldn't go overlooked. If you are only mildly interested (or perhaps not very much at all) in the subject, you will likely find that this book is capable of holding your attention until the end. An excellent starting point for budding Carrollians, but less an excellent *ending*.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Ferry on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything you ever wanted to know about Charles L. Dodgson, and more. The "more" is Cohen's firm belief that Dodgson was a pedophile, but did not act on his inner desires. He was in all ways a Victorian, a chaste and very gifted genius. The book is extremely well written, well researched, and easy to read. Whether or not one agrees with Cohen's view of Dodgson's inner desires, this book is an outstanding addition for any Lewis Carroll fan, from an author who clearly admires and is sympathetic to his subject.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The central mystery that has us all wondering about this man - the question of his sexuality- remains, but that is as it should be. Great biographies have an unsolved mystery at their heart. At this point Morton has found all the facts we shall ever have, and fascinating facts they are. The rest is speculation, but fascinating speculation. I shall look forward to Leach's book, which I have on order, but doubt if she can add anything to this masterpiece. Question: Would we still be so interested in Charles Lutwidge Dodgson if he had been a respectable married man and father or indeed if he was definitely a proven child molester?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laura on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first picked up this book from the local library as a ninth grader not even particularly fond of the Alice books- I think I just liked the cover. I ended up checking the book out many times afterwards, reading and rereading it. This book is beautifully written, and paints a fair and thorough picture of a quietly tormented genius. I would recommend this book to anyone, not just "Alice" lovers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
A magnificent biography of this great literary figure! Thoroughly researched, well-thought out, delightfully written. I found this a pleasure. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in Lewis Carroll and his Alice books get this volume. The day I obtained my copy I began reading at midnight and continued to daylight. The perfect account of a Romantic transcending the limitations of time and space...and the embodiment of charm.
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