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Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – Lewis Carroll Essay, Research Paper

English 265 – Modern Poetry

Poet: Lewis Carroll

Term Paper

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born on the 27th of January in the year of 1832 and died on the 14th of that same month in 1898. His pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, was born on March 1st, 1856 and was destined to live forever. Most poets live out of sync with the era they exist in, but Caroll lived a particularly bizarre lifestyle. He was a mathematician as well as a poetic scholar. It is rare for someone to excel at either one individually, yet Caroll, a connoisseur of logic and art as well, was able to master both subjects.

The most bizarre aspect of his lifestyle was not his versatility with math and poetry but his dealings with pre-pubescent girls. He adored their company and many historians have deemed Carroll a pedophile. It is not known for sure if he was a pedophile but it is a fact his life was characterized as a series of emotional rejections. This is largely due to the fact that he became attached to these little girls but severed ties with them when they reached the age of puberty. Aficionados of Carroll say his love for the girls was of a protective kind and he was a wonderful man who did a splendid job of maintaining a child’s perspective of the world. If he was any type of sexual deviant, he had his urges under rigid control and never touched the children in a sexual fashion.

Lewis Carroll’s most famous works can be found in his books, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, “Through the Looking-Glass”, and “The Hunting of the Snark”. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” are told in narrative prose. These books are a collection of the poems Carroll wrote throughout his life. My personal favorite was “Jabberwocky”. In this poem Caroll introduces us to Etymology, a very clever poetic

device. Etymology, in my opinion is an innovation on the existing dialect. I thought Carroll’s use of it was ingenious. He called his verbal inventions portmanteau words. Carroll exhibits a superior wit with his usage of certain words. He blends two verbs or adjectives to describe the noun he is using. His British dialect makes it hard for modern day Americans to define his new words but the inklings of their meanings are noticed.

“Alice in Wonderland” is a magnificent piece of literature for both poetry and philosophy. Through rich nonsense, Carroll pokes fun at the presumed purposes of life in a serious fashion by subjecting a young girl to an illogical world of reason. The entire theme of the book is upside-down, inside out, and backwards behavior to achieve order. This is where Carroll’s logic meets and mixes with his poetry and fancy for pre-pubescent girls.

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