Was Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, a paedophile?

British author and poet Lewis Carroll, who was born in the little village of Daresbury in Cheshire in 1832, is famous for being the author of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" and for writing the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky."

He loved children (which is unusual for a Brit), but did he form a what could be described as an "unhealthy" relationship with them?

A newly uncovered letter written by Carroll and believed to be directed to the young girl said to be the inspiration behind Alice has raised more cryptic questions about his past.

Lewis Carroll died of pneumonia at his sisters' home in Guildford, Surrey, in 1898.

Was Lewis Carroll a paedophile? Discovery of cryptic letter raises questions about author's relationship with 'real-life Alice'

By Beth Hale
19th November 2008
Daily Mail

Lewis Carroll: A letter apparently addressed to 'Miss Liddell' - inspiration for Alice In Wonderland - adds fuel to the controversy about his fondness for children

Under his pen-name of Lewis Carroll, he penned some of the best-loved and most successful children's stories of all time.

But Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson has long been subject to speculation about his relationships with the children he wrote for.

Now, a newly uncovered letter written by the Alice in Wonderland creator - and believed to be directed to real-life Alice, Alice Liddell - has raised more cryptic questions about his past.

The author, a mathematics don at Oxford University, wrote two short pages from his rooms at Christchurch College in February 1877 in which he referred to his interest in children.

The name of the recipient is scribbled out, but it appears to be to 'Dear Miss Liddell', who was 25 at the time.

It may well fuel renewed controversy about whether he was a 'repressed paedophile' or if his fondness for young girls was wholly innocent.

The recently discovered letter had been held by a private individual at their home in the West Country but is due to be auctioned next week.

It is characteristically cryptic and all the more difficult to understand as he is obvious refuting comments made in a conversation between 'Miss Liddell' and a friend which she has reported back to him.

The letter reads: 'Thank you for the sight of the pretty photographs, but don't keep the child in for me - I am fearfully busy - and what could Miss Lloyd have been thinking of to say such things of me.

Alice In Wonderland was one of the most successful stories of all time

'She must have taken some remark of mine about liking children and have said to herself for 'some' read 'all', for 'girls' read 'boys' and for 'ten' read 'two' - such a method of exaggeration is wholly unfounded, and yet she professes to be an admirer of Dr Liddon. Believe me.'

It is signed 'Yours very truly, CL Dodgson.'

The letter was written 12 years after the publication of Alice In Wonderland, and three years before Alice married.

Dr Liddon was Henry Liddon, a travelling companion of the author, and the Miss Lloyd whom he refers to is almost certainly Catherine Lloyd, a contemporary of Dodgson whom he knew because she was the sister of another don at Christchurch.

Whatever she said about him clearly did not cause any long-term animosity because he is known to have remained friends with her for the rest of his life and went on holiday to Eastbourne with her when they were both in their 60s.

Speculation about just how close Carroll was to the children he loved has simmered for decades.

He wrote Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass after telling the stories to the real Alice Liddell while on picnics and boating trips with her and her family on the river in Oxford.

Alice's father was the Dean of Christchurch and Dodgson was a close friend of the family until there was a mysterious cooling of relations in 1863, when she was 11.

Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in the stories, in a photograph taken by Carroll in 1860

As well as a talented author, he was a skilled photographer who took scores of images of young girls, and is known to have taken nude photographs of children.

He hated anyone knowing about his private life, never gave interviews and had many 'child friends'.

After he died, the mysteries continued - and deepened.

Pages from his diaries were censored or destroyed, and not one of his ten brothers and sisters ever spoke about him to outsiders.

The letter is expected to excite keen bidding from Carroll fans all around the world because only around a dozen from him to Alice survive.

Auctioneers Hampton and Littlewood, of Exeter, in Devon, believe the letter is the last written by Dodgson to Alice before her wedding in 1880 to survive.

The auction catalogue describes the letter as in Carroll's 'distinctive violet ink'.

'A controversial and intimate letter discussing Carroll's interest in young girls,' the auctioneers said.

'Although obliterated we feel sure the name is Miss Liddell and therefore Carroll's Alice herself, as by the date of this letter, one of her sisters was married and the other dead.

'We believe this to be the final known letter to (Alice) Miss Liddell, before she became a married woman in 1880.

'We know of no other letter where Carroll passes comment on his predilection for young girls.

'One of 12 letters surviving from Lewis Carroll to Alice, all the early ones having been destroyed by her mother.'

Last night a spokesman for the Lewis Carroll Society cast doubt on whether the letter was directed to Alice.

He said 'My Dear Alice' would have been the more likely opener, and pointed out that Alice did in fact have two other sisters at the time, neither married and both of whom Carroll knew.

Of speculation about Carroll and girls he said: 'There's no reason to think he was child molester and nobody has ever found any evidence of this.

'He did spend a lot of time with children and a quite a lot of 'child friends', but he talks about his 'child friends' even when they are grown up.'

More recent research has suggested that the reason pages from his diaries were removed was nothing to do with a predatory interest in children, but instead was intended to stop gossip about his entanglements with adult women.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Nov 19th, 2008 at 02:08 PM..
Either way B.L.,

Something seems to be amiss here,

Well, since he's been dead for over a hundred years, and nobody from his time can tell us anything, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
I donít know about being a pedophile, but I do remember reading somewhere that he wanted to marry Alice. In those days, old men marrying young girls was not at all uncommon; it was all done with fatherís consent.
#5  Top Rated Post
Many years ago when I was in college we discussed Carroll's sexual deviation. Alice definitely was proof of his evil ways as the story was the result of the perve's giving of drugs to the little girl and her hallucinations that resulted from them.
Quote: Originally Posted by gopherView Post

Many years ago when I was in college we discussed Carroll's sexual deviation. Alice definitely was proof of his evil ways as the story was the result of the perve's giving of drugs to the little girl and her hallucinations that resulted from them.

I don't have my college books anymore. That was close to 40 years ago!

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