Understanding Concerns About Lewis Carroll | Antiques Roadshow | PBS
The party consisted of Carroll, his friend Reverend Robinson Alice Liddell, age 7, photographed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell, the inspiration for his most famous character, has long been at the centre of a debate over his intentions. Carroll's perceived paedophilia seems to have little scholarly evidence. the th anniversary of the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, that Carroll's relationship with at least one of the Liddell girls was not.
Lewis Carroll took this photograph of Alice Liddell when she was 6 years old. Carroll is said to have named his fictional Alice after Liddell.
Lewis Carroll’s Shifting Reputation
Wikimedia Commons During the Victorian era children were considered the embodiment of innocence, and as defenders of Carroll have pointed out, pictures of posed nude and semi-nude children were not out of the ordinary.
Biographer Jenny Woolf, in her book, The Mystery of Lewis Carroll, lays out evidence that Carroll was likely attracted to and romantically pursued teenagers and young women throughout his adult life.
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Woolf suggests that Carroll may have repeatedly used the role of an older, non-threatening, uncle-type figure to circumvent rigid Victorian social rules around romantic relationships that would have strictly forbidden a bachelor spending time alone with a teenage girl or a single woman. Had Carroll done that very thing when he developed his close relationship with the Liddell children?
Woolf says there had been a rumor circulating around the time of the falling out between Carroll and the Liddell parents that Carroll was wooing the children's governess, or perhaps the teenage Ina Liddell. No definitive proof exists that the rumor was true. Or were those relationships benign subterfuge for romantic pursuits?
Lewis Carroll's mysterious (and creepy) infatuation with the real Alice in Wonderland
Were his photographs merely reflecting a Victorian aesthetic, or were they perversely erotic? Alice was popular almost from the moment it was published, inand it has remained in print ever since, influencing such disparate artists as Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. But if Alice has endured unscathed, its author has taken a pummeling. How did we arrive at this curious state of affairs? Charles Dodgson was born in in Daresbury, a village in northwest England, the third child and first son of Charles Dodgson, an Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Frances.
As the household grew to include 11 children, Charles did not lack for company.
According to college rules, senior students had to be ordained as priests and take a vow of celibacy; Dodgson evaded the ordination rule and lived at the college unmarried, until his death inless than two weeks before his 66th birthday. The Liddells would have five more children. Before long, Dodgson struck up a friendship with Harry, then 9. On a July afternoon inhe took the three Liddell sisters on a stretch of the river between Oxford and Godstow and told them the story that would become Alice.
Alice Liddell, then 10, was delighted that the main character bore her name and asked Dodgson to write down the story.
Was Lewis Carroll's interest in Alice sinister? | World news | The Guardian
At this time, Dodgson was taking photographs. Although the camera was still a relatively new technology, he had been an early enthusiast, starting inand he found no shortage of friends who wanted him to make likenesses of them or their children. Some of his portraits—even those in which the model is clothed—might shock sensibilities, but by Victorian standards they were Victorians saw childhood as a state of grace; even nude photographs of children were considered pictures of innocence itself.
In discussing the possibility of photographing one 8-year-old girl unclothed, Dodgson wrote to her mother: Alice Liddell was only three-years-old when she met Lewis Carroll. Carroll, at the time, fancied himself a photographer, and after winning the Liddell family over as friends, he convinced them to let him take pictures of their little girls.
They were, it seems, perfectly content to have Carroll, who was in his late 20s, photograph their young daughters.
But among the thousands of pictures Carroll took, there are some that would fill any parent with a sense of worry. In one, Alice Liddell was photographed with loose-fitting clothes slipping off of her shoulders.
In others, there were drawings of young girls in the nude, lounging by the sea. The most troubling picture of all, though, was one that Carroll kept hidden in his private collection until years after his death.
Throughout the time he knew Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll kept a meticulous and detailed diary. Most of it still survives today — but the pages he filled between and when Alice was under 10 years old, have been torn out and destroyed.