Charles Dodgson was born to an Anglican clergyman. He grew up in Yorkshire before going to Rugby school in Warwickshire. As a young child, he was exceptionally bright, even writing poetry and short stories for a family magazine. Charles managed to read Pilgrim’s Progress (by John Bunyan) when he was only 7 years old. He arrived at Oxford in 1850 to study mathematics. It is during his time at Oxford that he chose to change his name to Lewis Carroll.
Apparently, Charles said that he chose this name to “keep the two personalities distinct”, as well as to avoid all communication with the outside world about his books. It was also at Oxford that Lewis shared his imaginary ‘Wonderland’ with the outside world, during a rowing trip with three young girls from the Dean of Christ Church. After hearing about the adventures of Caroll’s ‘little heroine’, one of the three girls (in fact they were all sisters) wanted him to write it all down. He followed through and finished his Manuscript on 10th February 1863.
Lewis was encouraged by encouraged his friend, George MacDonald, who also wrote fairy stories, and novelist Henry Kingsley to have his ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ book published. Once published, Lewis book proved to be so influential that he even wrote a sequel, called “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”.
Later on in life, Carroll went against popular opinion when he denied that Alice Liddell, the girl who told him to write down his stories, was the inspiration behind the ‘Alice’ character in his works.
Today, Lewis Carroll’s stories are over 150 years old, but they have never lost their magic or appeal to both children and adults. In fact, they have inspired numerous adaptations, comics, films and plays around the world. They have been translated into more than 100 different languages. One of the most popular film adaptations is the 2010 production by Disney/Tim Burton.