Morton N. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York, has written biographical works on Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling and other Victorian subjects. He edited the two-volume edition of The Letters of Lewis Carroll and has written or edited six other books on Lewis Carroll.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a pioneering photographer, Oxford don and mathematician, who - as Lewis Carroll - gave the world not only Alice, but the Jabberwocky, the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and an unforgettable tea party. But who was he? In this elegant, affectionate biography, Morton N. Cohen brings a singular expertise - drawn from some thirty years' scholarship on Carroll as well as from special access to the Dodgson family documents - to the riddle of the quiet, stammering man who liberated children's books from the moralists and whose imagination brought forth some of the funniest nonsense, wildest characters and most extraordinary cultural icons of modern times. His life has puzzled psychologists and literary historians for generations. Now, with full mastery of Caroll's letters and voluminous diaries, Cohen explores as never before the paradox of the man: the unworldly innocent whose passionate worship of young girls has incited endless speculation; the Victorian gentleman whose sombre religious meditations shared a place in his mind with the Snark and the Boojum; the cloistered, lonely bachelor don whose magical books are known in every culture in the world today. What emerges is a portrait that is filled with admiration for Carroll's accomplishment, delight in his playfulness and charm and sympathy for the self-reproach and emotional turbulence that lay beneath Carroll's apparently placid existence. It is an extraordinary work of literary scholarship.
This volume contains almost all the letters that Charles Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll) wrote to his publisher during a professional relationship that spanned the last thirty-five years of the Victorian era, a time when the reading public expanded a hundredfold, when the techniques of mass book production were being shaped, and when laws governing copyright and bookselling were first forged in the English-speaking world. Dodgson's correspondence touched critically on all these issues, and is a fascinating record of the contemporary evolution of publishing as well as of the production and distribution of his own immensely popular children's books and other works. At the same time it charts the growth of the House of Macmillan from modest beginnings to its status as a leading publisher. Professor Cohen and Professor Gandolfo have provided a useful introduction and explanatory notes to the letters.