Last modified on 10 August 2012, at 12:57

Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland

During the summer of 1862, CLD frequently took the Dean's three eldest daughters, Lorina, Alice and Edith, on rowing trips on the Isis. His usual adult companion was Robinson Duckworth. On 4th July, CLD, keen to start the story in a novel way, sent his heroine (called Alice) down a rabbit-hole. In 1899, Duckworth recalled "I rowed stroke and he rowed bow in the famous Long Vacation voyage to Godstow, when the three Miss Liddells were our passengers, and the story was actually composed and spoken over my shoulder."

At the end of the trip, Alice told him that the story was exceptionally good and asked him to write it down. This took him quite a long time, and no doubt he expanded the story quite a bit in the process. However, in November he gave her a slim volume entitled "Alice's Adventures Underground".

The following year, several people, including the writer George MacDonald and his family, urged him to publish the book. He persuaded the noted cartoonist John Tenniel to illustrate it and MacMillan to publish it.

The first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was printed in 1865 in an edition of 2,000. However, Tenniel was unhappy with the reproduction of his illustrations, so Carroll cancelled the publication. Most of the sheets, still unbound, were sold to the American publisher, Appleton. A better-printed edition appeared in 1866. Also in 1865, Carroll's satire on current events in Oxford, The Dynamics of a Parti-cle, was published. Appearing to be a treatise on geometry, it actually describes the election of Member of Parliament for Oxford University, where William Gladstone was defeated by Gathorne Hardy.

The success of Alice's Adventures was so great that Carroll was persuaded to write a sequel. He began in early 1867, but progress was delayed by his only foreign trip, when he accompanied his friend Henry Parry Liddon on a tour of Europe. Liddon's purpose was to meet leaders of the Russion Orthodox Church to try and improve relations between them and the Church of England. The journey is fully documented in the diaries kept by the two.

In 1868, CLD's father died. CLD was devastated; nearly 30 years later, writing to a friend (the illustrator gertrude Thomson) who had lost her own father, he called it the greatest blow in his life and said that he still could not talk about it. His family now had to leave the rectory at Croft. He took his responsibilities as the new head of the family very seriously, and arranged for them to move to Guildford, and bought them a house called "The Chestnuts".

Also in 1868, he published a short story, Bruno's Revenge, in "Aunt Judy's Magazine". From this nucleus there grew his two-volume novel, Sylvie and Bruno.


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