Behind Wonderland

The tale of Alice in Wonderland is a well respected children’s book, but the speculations involving the real lives behind this iconic tale are less then child friendly. The few things we ‘know’ about the lives of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Alice Pleasance Liddell are uncertain but it is easy to note Dodgson’s obsessive interest in young Alice. While many see this as a result of his perverted sexual desires¬†there is little to no evidence to make a concrete claim about Dodgson’s intentions.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll. He was a writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon at Christ Church in Oxford where he studied, and later taught and lived, and he was a photographer. Though many use his child nudes as ‘evidence’ of his perverted ways it is often forgotten that in his lifetime, photography was a new art, and to capture a nude child was to capture and represent innocence itself. It is also commonly overseen that portraits made up a very small percentage, nudes even smaller, as Dodgson’s main photographic focus was landscapes.

Many of the speculations and ‘evidence’ to support Dodgson as a pedophile are grossly simplified and often taken out of context. While the myth is deeply embedded and there certainly are questionable documentations, we may never know for certain where the truth lies. Regardless it is clear to see Dodgson’s heavy interest in young Alice. Dealing with this very adult company and heavy interest in her would likely have been very isolating and confusing for a young girl.

“He’s the sort who can’t know anyone intimately, least of all a woman. He doesn’t know what a woman is. He wants you for a possession, something to look at, like a painting or an ivory box. Something to own and to display. He doesn’t want you to be real, and to think and to live.” – George Emerson – A room with a view.