“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?”
A fitting sequel to ‘Alice’s adventures in Wonderland’, the above-mentioned excerpt from ‘Through the looking glass’ is the legendary Carroll at its literary best. The brain and soul behind two of the most celebrated books of English Literature since the very inception of Literature itself, Lewis Carroll was born on January 27, 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England.
An author, poet, teacher, photographer, mathematician and illustrator, Carroll donned many hats and did justice to them all quite convincingly. Being an avid reader since an extremely young age, Carroll’s love for literature was evident all throughout his growing up years. During the same, he wrote poetry and short stories, contributing heavily to the family magazine ‘Mischmasch’, following it up by sending them to various other magazines later. His work got published in all sorts of publications ranging from the national publications like ‘The Comic Times’ and ‘The Train’ to the smaller ones like ‘Whitby Gazette’ and the ‘Oxford Critic’ with most of his text relying heavily on humor.
A romantic poem called ‘Solitude’ happened to be his first piece of published work back in 1856, which also led him onto the path of fame. Carroll’s child characters in his novels were influenced by real children (especially girls) who were his acquaintances in and around the church and his hometown.
In 1862, Carroll began working on his to-be greatest commercial success in the years to come. It took him 2 years to come up with a manuscript named ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’. In the coming years with multiple improvisations and modifications, the novel was finally published in 1865 under the name ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The book is based on stories he told to amuse Alice Liddell and her friends. The book was a runaway success, earning Carroll loads of money, admirers and appreciation. In 1871, Carroll published the sequel of the same named ‘Through the Looking Glass’. The two books filled with wit and puzzles are today considered amongst the most admired children’s books in the world.
This was followed by a poem named ‘Hunting of the Snark’ which was published in 1876. After a span of a couple of decades, Carroll returned to his ‘Alice’ world with a two volume tale of the fairy siblings ‘Sylvie and Bruno’ and ‘Sylvie and Bruno Concluded’ published in 1889 and 1893 respectively.
The rest of Lewis Carroll’s body of work includes the likes of ‘Phantasmagoria and Other Poems’, ‘Rhyme? And reason?’, ‘A Tangled Tale’, ‘The Nursery Alice’, ‘Pillow Problems’, ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’, ‘Three Sunsets and Other Poems’, ‘The Manlet’, etc.
Carroll’s writing was characterized with humor, satire, fantasy and a childlike nature. Many of his philosophies were also based on his games. Lewis Carroll over years, decades and centuries has inspired authors across the globe. His seemingly simpler humorous stories had layers of meanings and nuances with many amongst them influenced by life learnings, experiences, beliefs, philosophies, etc.
As once mentioned by the legend himself, ‘One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.’ Inherit the wisdom and allow Alice to enter your world.
Happy reading folks!