7 exciting, weird and bizarre facts about Lewis Carroll

January 23, 2020

Even if you have never read about Alice’s adventures, you are probably familiar with the story, as this fairy tale formed the basis of numerous movies, TV shows, cartoons, computer games, and even comic books. But what do you know about the author of the most amazing and full of hidden mysteries children’s books? In honor of Lewis Carroll’s birthday, we’ve collected the most exciting and unusual facts about this extravagant writer.

1. Pen name-Puzzle

His real name is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. However, on the advice of the publisher, the author decided to use a pen name. To create a new literary name, he first translated Charles Lutwidge into Latin and replaced the received Carolus and Ludovicus names with other English counterparts – Carroll and Lewis. Thus, Lewis Carroll is a direct reference to the real name of the writer.

2. Carroll invented the way to write in the dark

The best thoughts sometimes visit us at the most unexpected times, for instance, at night. In order not to waste time searching for candles or some lighting stuff fixtures, Carroll simply came up with a way to record his thoughts in the dark. In 1891, he invented the nyctograph - a card with 16 square holes in which he managed to write down entire sentences with a specially created font. Carroll also suggested using this method by blind people.

3. Different Alices in Carroll’s Life

“Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” are two entirely different books that are united by the main character. However, to create these tales, Carroll was inspired by two various girls named Alice. The prototype of the heroine for the first book was Alice Liddell, the daughter of the author’s colleague and friend. Meanwhile, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” was inspired by Carroll’s five-year-old cousin, also named Alice.

4. Hidden meanings in Carroll’s tales

On the pages of Carroll’s works, there are many references and parodies of significant events and personalities of his time. Researchers are sure that “Alice” is full of not only mathematical puzzles, but also a satire on official’s bureaucracy, Darwin’s theory of natural selection, non-Euclidean math, and even Queen Victoria herself.

5. Carroll used to collect complex Russian words

The only time Carroll left the UK, he went on a trip to Russia. The writer not only had a great time there but also was surprised at the complexity of the Russian language. The most striking and unpronounceable for the Briton was the word “защищающихся”, which means “those who protect themselves.” In English transcription, it looks like: “Zаshchееshchауоushchееkhsуа.”

6. Carroll - Jack the Ripper?

The name of the writer is connected with a bunch of different stories, but the craziest one is the theory that the famous London killer Jack the Ripper was actually Lewis Carroll. This version was put forward in 1996 by the researcher Richard Wallace, who substantiated his theory by the fact that the writer lived close to the places where the crimes occurred, as well as his passion for medicine and anatomy.

7. Carroll’s major novel became his major failure

Even though his books on Alice’s adventures brought worldwide fame to the author, Carroll considered the novel “Sylvie and Bruno” as the greatest work of his life. However, this phantasmagoric mixture of styles and genres of 800 pages long turned to be the author’s biggest failure: readers bought only 13 thousand copies of the book. Carroll’s super-popular name on the cover didn’t help.

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