Monday, May 3, 2021

In The Shadow of the Dream Child: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll by Karoline Leach

 I hope you'll listen to this collection of Lute pieces by J.S. Bach.



Do not expect a biography of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. Instead this is a dissertation on how Dodgson was not a pedophile because he was a Victorian playboy with older women.

She made her case when she said that it was common in Victorian times to take photos of children disrobed and provide several examples of other photographers that also took photos of naked children.

But apparently Leach wanted to write a whole book, so after thoroughly flogging that aspect of Victorian mores into the ground, she then goes into exhaustive, and exhausting, detail as to what the missing pages of Dodgson really mean as opposed to what previous biographers have claimed they mean.

She begins a lot of sentences with probably (Dodgson "probably" had an affair with Alice's mother).

While I agree with her premise that much too much has been made of the author's possible, yet essentially unknown, proclivities, she makes the same error. It gets to the point where one thinks she doth protest too much. As if Leach is frantically trying to save the reputation of Lewis Carroll.

Too much of her conclusions are based on surmises and that is what her book has in common with other biographies of the author of Alice in Wonderland, albeit she runs in the opposite direction.

Let's just settle for the fact that we know very little of the enigmatic Charles Dodgson and simply enjoy the genius of Lewis Carroll.


mudpuddle said...

this sounds like another pseudo-bio based on not much at all... love Bach; i'll check out the Lutist...

Sharon Wilfong said...


I wonder how interested he was interested in naked children. There aren't any reliable sources and the author's that claim it claim everyone was a pedophile.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Well, all biographies have to be taken in context as to where the author is coming from and what their intention is.
Thanks for the PC. I'm sending one your way.

Marian H said...

Wow, that sounds like an extremely irritating biography.

I have yet to hear/see any conclusive evidence he was a perv... Much has been made of the mother's letter-burning but I doubt that was all that uncommon in the Victorian era. And I recently discovered that some online photos purportedly showing Carroll embracing girls were actually photoshopped. I kinda feel like people are trying to find something that isn't there. Either way, it seems fair to reserve judgment until more solid evidence is unearthed (if ever).

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI Marion,

It really was. People get too caught up in their own theories and forsake objectivity. I'm beginning to wonder if I should even read biographies of beloved authors. They can't defend themselves and with all the Critical Theory research. Who knows what the truth is.

Enjoyed the poetry reading on your blog.

Debbie Nolan said...

Sharon it seems like today folks are always trying to dig up dirt on someone. I am with you...lets enjoy Lewis Carroll's wonderful tale of Alice in Wonderland and not go about trying to uncover something that may or may not be true. Love that cute photo of your sweeties. Have a great weekend. Hugs!

P.S. I am sure like me you will be thinking of your dear mom on Sunday.

Sharon Wilfong said...

It's true. I am missing my mother. I am going to call my aunt, with whom I have adopted as my "second mother". She lives in Idaho and is alone in an assisted living. It's been great getting to know her and hear the same childhood stories from another point of view.

Happy Mother's Day!