This is part two of a four-week series concerning writers who have found themselves to be challenged concerning their work but who have overcome such criticism to become acclaimed successes. If you missed part one, you can read it by clicking here.
In recent times, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, has received renewed interest in his life thanks to a provocative novel entitled In the Shadow of the Dreamchild by Karoline Leach. For the greater part of the twentieth century, many literary critics, psychologists, and historians believed Dodgson to have an unhealthy fascination with young girls as demonstrated by both his photography and his writings. Leach, however, dismissed this in her 1999 novel, stating that such theories concerning Dodgson are based on the morals and norms of the present and not those of the Victorian era in which the author had lived.
Dodgson's most famous writings were Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass. Most biographers and psychologists founded their theories concerning Dodgson thanks in part to both of these novels. Using Dodgson's profound talent for word play and symbolism against him, Sigmund Freud stated that the writings were in reference to the female journey through puberty. There are many critics, though, who would not agree with such analysis.
Those of us who live in the present will never know the full truth for the one we call Carroll. Did he use psychoactive drugs? Did he ever really consider the priesthood? Why did he suddenly stop speaking to the Liddell family shortly after the release of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Dodgson's genius, though, should be considered simply that: artistic and masterful. The mystery behind his craft is best left to history.
For more information on Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, please visit the following:
The Lewis Carroll Society of North America
Contrariwise: The association for new Lewis Carroll studies
Lewis Carroll's Logic Game