The White Knight: A Study of C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

Taylor, Alexander L (1952) The White Knight: A Study of C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In "The White Knight," the story of C. L. Dodgson ("Lewis Carroll") is re-told. The original biography by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood was wrritten in the lifetime of many people whose feelings had to be considered and information vital to an understanding of Dodgson as a man was deliberately suppressed. His relations with Alice Liddell and with the Liddell family were passed over in silence when they could not be represented as idyllic. Proof is now offered that Dodgson's love for the child Alice Liddell did not end with her childhood but affected his entire life. Alice was more than the heroine of the "Adventures," more than the child to whom they were originally told. She acted on Dodgson as a powerful stimulus and catalyst, fusing in her service all his powers and rewarding him with a smile. At her feet he laid his mathematics, his imagination, wit and adult interest in the intellectual battles which raged in and about Oxford during the years in which "Alice" and "Through the Looking-glass" were composed. Robbed of her by disparity in age, the long-drawn-out hostility of the Dean and Mrs. Liddell and Alice's preference for a younger man, he slowly disintegrated, aged prematurely and died without fulfilling the promise of his earlier work. The development of Dudgson's ideas from "Rectory Umbrella" days, through "Alice" to "Through the Looking-glass" is traced in detail. It is shown that "Alice" in part and "Through the Looking-glass" as a whole can be appreciated by children only as "Gulliver's Travels" is appreciated. In "The Hunting of the Snark" wit struggles, and in the long run triumphs over feelings akin to despair, while in "Sylvie and Bruno" genius has given way to mere ingenuity and creation to thinly disguised autobiography. The analytical parts are claimed as new and original, but new biographical material will also be found, concerning Dodgson and the Liddells. Much of this has been supplied by Miss P. Menella Dodgson who, with her sisters, now has the surviving volumes of Dodgson's unpublished diary. During a correspondence which has extended over several years no request by the present writer has ever been refused. As a result, the picture has been transformed and much that in Collingwood appears casual and chatty acquires new significance in the light of this information.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: British & Irish literature, Biographies
Date of Award: 1952
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1952-78831
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:50
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 14:50

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