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31 July 2008
On the Latest Info page I listed some of the weird and wonderful things which Carroll is accused of being. One of those is an "adulterer" and I was contacted by Karoline Leach who thought I was criticising her book "In the Shadow of the Dreamchild". I think this is a really valuable and indeed downright revolutionary book in Carroll studies, but funnily enough the only premise in it which I don't really believe in is that Carroll could have been an adulterer. Leach sets out some good arguments, but my objection is that, however good the arguments, it just couldn't have happened because it was not practical.

Christ Church was an incredibly closed community with hundreds of pairs of eyes and ears around - not just the many living-in undergraduates and dons, but many, many servants too. In their little world, could the boss's wife having it off with a junior don possibly go unnoticed? I am sure it could not, even today. And the fact that there was no gossip about Carroll and Mrs. L. sets the seal on it.

But I had a little smile at the idea of Carroll tiptoeing into the Deanery, tipping the servants 2/6d each to keep quiet, making sure Alice was out of the way in the schoolroom and then having his way with Mrs. L, having unlaced all her stays and undone all the buttons on her boots first.
30 July 2008
I've said this won't be a conventional biography. I want it to be more accessible and less detail-heavy than most biographies - but of course it is QUITE like a biography.

And I hadn't realised how close I'd get to Carroll in writing this. I trained in art, and the whole thing is starting to remind me of how you feel after you've been sitting drawing the same thing for two or three days. It becomes familiar in an entirely different way from how it seemed after just a few hours. You get a feeling for the "realness" of it.

Before the book was sold, I wrote a proposal which involved drafting out my plans in detail. I hated doing it! I'd got to grips intellectually with how the book should be - but not artistically. It was incredibly offputting to have it critiqued so often in the planning stage. Yet, tough though it was, I learned a lot and the groundwork I put in then is useful now.

Still, the thing about Carroll is that as soon as you feel you know him, he comes up with something that reminds you of how unusual he was. Then, you remember how he can appear so simple and easy, till that "something" changes, and he's strange again. It reminds me of his Mad Gardeners Song, about an unnamed man who thinks he sees things and then finds they are other things. It's the only rhyme or song I can think of to quote about this.

My favourite verse is this one:

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
"Poor thing,' he said, "poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!"


It's so Carrollian - first, the sinister image of the coach-and-four horses beside his bed, and the even more sinister headless bear which it silently changes into. But instead of being afraid, suddenly you realise it's just a poor old teddy that needs to be pitied: it is hungry, and it is also rather comical, since without a head it can't eat anything. And, perhaps, it is about time it put its head back on again and started being sensible.

19 July 2008
Just a notiification of a new book on Carroll's philosophical ideas.
Its called BEHIND THE LOOKING GLASS and it's by Sherry Ackerman. Here's more info.

ORDER ONLINE AT W WW.C-S-P.ORG
BY E-MAIL AT ORDERS@C-S-P.ORG OR BY FAX AT +44 845 299 1908.
FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT US AT A DMIN@C-S-P.ORG.
CSP, PO BOX 302, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NE6 1WR, UK.
SHERRY L. ACKERMAN, PH.D., IS PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AT COLLEGE OF THE SISKIYOUS, IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, USA.
AS AN ACTIVE SCHOLAR WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR NEOPLATONIC STUDIES, SHE HAS AUTHORED NUMEROUS PAPERS AND JOURNALS,

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