Monday, May 4, 2009

Grinning Like a Cheshire Cat......

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
~ Lewis Carroll

My hometown in England is home to renowned Victorian author, Lewis Carroll.

Lewis Carroll - 1832-1898

Born on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was the son of a clergyman, and the third child born to a family of eleven children.

From a very early age, he entertained himself, and his family by performing magic tricks and
marionette shows, and by writing poetry for his homemade newspapers.

In 1846 he entered Rugby School, and in 1854 he graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford. He was successful in his study of mathematics and writing, and remained at the college after graduation to teach. His mathematical writings include An Elementary Treatise on Determinants (1867), Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879), and Curiosa Mathematica (1888).

While teaching, Carroll was ordained as a deacon; however, he never preached. He also began to pursue photography, often choosing children as the subject of his portraits.

One of his favorite models was a young girl named Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean at Christ's Church, who later became the basis for Carroll's fictional character, Alice. He abandoned both photography and public speaking between 1880 and 1881, and focused on his writing.
Alice Pleasance Liddell

Many of Lewis Carroll's philosophies were based on games. His interest in logic came purely from the playful nature of its principle rather than its uses as a tool. He primarily wrote comic fantasies and humorous verse that was often very childlike.

Carroll published his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, followed by Through the Looking Glass in 1872. Alice's story began as a piece of extemporaneous whimsy meant to entertain three little girls on a boating trip in 1862.

Both of these works were considered children's novels that were satirical in nature and in exemplification of Carroll's wit. Also famous is Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky," in which he created nonsensical words from word combinations.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice:..... so long as I get somewhere.
The Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

Lewis Carroll died in Guildford, Surrey, on January 14, 1898.

The Lewis Carroll Society Website - Homepage
Photo credits: Literature Network. Wikipedia.


donna baker said...

I have often wondered what Jabberwocky was about. Can you visit his house etc.?

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Daresbury (Carroll's Birthplace)

Donna, to answer your question :

The parsonage at Daresbury, Cheshire in the north of England, where Lewis Carroll was born no longer stands.
The site on which the house originally stood is now managed by the National Trust, and has the foundations of the house marked out.
There is a Lewis Carroll Society website, which explains the foundation.

Sharon Rose said...

Thank you for this blog. I love history. While Alice in Wonderland was the one story I never liked as a child, after reading it's origination and who Alice was, I have changed my mind. Lewis Carroll was a guy that would have colored my world as a child. I would have been the one waiting to hear another one of his made up stories. How interesting. Thanks for the history.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Pastor Sharon...Welcome !
I thank you for your kind words, I grew up loving the stories of Lewis Carroll, and have sat many an afternoon, passing the stories along to my grandchildren. He was a brilliant and kind man, from all accounts, one I am proud to share my hometown with his legacy.

The Retired One said...

I loved seeing those lovely illustrations too!

Carol Murdock said...

Jo what a wonderful historical post! I learned something new today!
xoxo, Carol

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Must put that on our list, sounds lovely. We saw the Disney version a couple of years ago and really didn't like it anymore; however we took Kate to a dramatized version of Alice in Wonderland and were really surprised how well it translated to the stage,

Unknown said...

Since you like English authors, you should come visit Thomas Hughes' village of Rugby, TN, just 90 minutes from Knoxville. The village's 35th annual Spring Festival May 16-17 celebrates British & Appalachian music & arts. Hope to see you there!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

The Retired One, the books had beautiful artwork, in part due to the colorfulness of the characters.

The Writers Porch, Thank you Carol, glad you enjoyed ;)

The Prodigal Tourist,
They have established a museum in the old Daresbury, church in honor of Lewis Carroll.

George, I have indeed been to the English village of Rugby, it's a delight. Especially the old library and church. I hope to make it back....Thanks for reminding me !

L. D. said...

I am subbing as an English teacher today, not my major, but I share some of your blog with them to get them to think more seriously. If you don't make your own choices of the roads before you, someone good or bad will be glad to help you make those choice. A nice blog.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

L.D.Burgus, What a lovely compliment. I can't think of anything more important than to mentor young adults, and encourage them to plan their lives according to their goals and dreams...
Thank you friend, and have fun with the young 'uns :)

Dirt Princess said...

Oh how I love Alice. I just did a post on Hampton Court Palace. I have read where parts of Alice in Wonderland was based on the Palace and how the Queen of Hearts was based on Herny VIII. Very interesting

Anonymous said...

So you are a Cheshire chick? I always knew there was something posh about you.... ;)

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Dave Pie-n-Mash, you are hilarious :)
Yes, a "Cheshire Chick" as you may say, via Lancashire....
You may start calling me "Posh Spice" now if you

Deanna Bland Hiott PhD, MSN, RN said...

Every time I stop by I feel I've been on a mini vacation...Thanks :)

Patsy said...

Wonderful trivia post and so are all of the comment's

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Dirt Princess, I will stop by your place, and have a little look-see..Sounds interesting.

Southern Drawl, tickets please :)
Thank you for your comment, it's encouraging.

Benny and Patsy, yes the comments are lively today :)

A Joyful Chaos said...

What an interesting post! I used to love Alice in the Wonderland when I was a little girl.
You made me feel like seeing if I can find it, and tumble down the rabbit hole once again.

DeniseinVA said...

A wonderful post, Alice in Wonderland was my favorite book and Heidi was the second. Great information here and I love all the illustrations.

DeniseinVA said...

Hi Jo, I'm back again as I just saw your question about the make of bread machine in my post. The one I have is made by Sanyo and is called The Bread Factory Plus.

britoutofwater said...

Whereabouts in Cheshire is Daresbury? Having been brought up in Chester, I should probably know! I know that Carroll was inspired by a woman called Alice in Llandudno!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

britoutofwater, Daresbury, is a little village just outside of Warrington. South West down Chester Road A56 4 miles.

A Brit in Tennessee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Almost American said...

I'm from Cheshire too - and my godmother was a Dodgson. Yes, the same family.

L'Artisan said...

My elder daughter has the same birthday as Alice Lidell, May 4. She loves this fact, especially as we spent a happy year in England when she was younger and she has never forgotten it.

Your blog makes me homesick for our old haunts there! Love the photos.

Linda Collison said...

I love Lewis Carroll and was charmed to find this when my friend DJan gave me your blogsite and told me to come visit, that we have something in common, you and I.

And I do believe we do. Love your photography, and music too.