Graphology is handwriting analysis - telling people's character through features of their handwriting. It doesn't have much logical scientific basis and I always thought it was quackery, like phrenology.

But when I was working as a journalist, I did an article involving some graphology, just over 8 years ago. This was shortly after I'd got into Carroll enough to join the Lewis Carroll Society.

I then decided to learn a bit more about Graphology. A graphologist gave me half a dozen lessons. In the course of these, I asked her to look at Carroll's writing. All I told her was that he was a well known man born in 1832, and I said she might have heard of him.

So, one day, we devoted our lesson session to her looking at several samples of his writing (done at different times to see how he had developed) and she then explained and demonstrated to me why she thought what she did about him.

I wrote down everything she said. I'm posting some of what she said now and may put up some more later.

I'm a little sceptical about Graphology as it stands, because even after 6 lessons I couldn't make it work for me at all. But I feel there may be something interesting and valid in this report, although I don't know what it is. Her comments had a sort of irrational, almost dreamlike quality, which made me feel it was emerging from a subconscious.

This is the first part of what she said.

This man was quite friendly and gentle, although he couldn't be walked over. He was open to different experiences and views, although his immediate reactions were sometimes opinionated - but he would tend to reflect and would be quite capable of coming to a more moderate view eventually. He was very truthful and wanted to understand properly - even though he also had a somewhat "tricksy" and devious outlook on life.

He could concentrate very hard - although tended to work in fits and starts - and he had a great bent for precise logical thought, but as he grew older he became a bit TOO logical at the expense of common sense.

He was emotional but kept himself and his emotions under control. She was very struck - in some later samples of his writing - by what she called a very strong femininity. She emphasised that this was not effeminacy or homosexuality - and said it was more as if he empathised strongly with females, almost as if he felt like one himself in some ways. She thought he might have been very preoccupied with a feminine ideal, and may have spent a lot of time thinking about the ideal female.

He could have given an impression of stillness and self containment. However, he would be very good at creating a pleasant environment, and could create a sensation of ease and comfort when you were with him.

He seems to have enjoyed enveloping himself in recollections of his mother and his childhood, and she added that he may well have liked the company of children because of their innocence and playfulness.

He had an underlying need for being looked after and fussed over, but he may not have behaved in a way that made it easy for people to do this for him.

He sometimes got very angry, and kept his anger hidden inside. He could make sharp comments, and be spiky or spiteful when angry - even though he was generally quite a gentle person. And if he got into a temper he wouldn't care what he said. He could be judgmental and, particularly later in life, he would insist on imposing his own views in a very determined way. However he wasn't into conquering or dominating other people for the sake of it..."

That's about half the analysis. I haven't omitted anything.

Now, she was foreign (French). After giving me her views, she looked at his signature of "C L Dodgson" and she said she did not know the name.
At the end of the lesson, when she had given me the whole sum of her views, I said she'd been talking about "Lewis Carroll". She knew "Alice au Pays des Merveilles", and had heard of its author. She was taken aback and quite embarrassed, because she said therefore she thought she must have made a mistake. I don't know what view she had of Carroll but clearly it wasn't anything like this. She even offered to look at the samples again!

I have never forgotten this analysis but I hadn't looked at it for years. This is the first time I've read it through in about 5 years.