In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll
Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd
Added: 2018-12-12 00:22:02
‘Lewis Carroll was not the tragic deviant all previous biographers have assumed him to be. He was not in love with Alice Liddell or obsessed with little girls…The objects of his intense sexual desire were women, full-blooded, ‘tall and lithe’. His one testament of passion is of erotic physical consummation with a mature and powerful woman. In his most private writings, he identified himself with the sin of David, which was not masturbation, or unruly fantasy, but adultery…..David’s Psalm of keening repentance, ‘make me a clean heart oh God’, was Dodgson’s most frequently-invoked prayer…’ This is the central argument that has made this new biography of Lewis Carroll both controversial and enthralling.
It uses new research to show that the long-standing image of Lewis Carroll (the pen-name of the author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson): his exclusively child-centred and unworldly life, his legendary obsession with Alice Liddell, and his supposedly unnatural sexuality, are in fact nothing more than myths.
With precision and analysis the book traces the development of this false persona and demonstrates how generations of biographers have helped to create fictions about Lewis Carroll’s life, rather than bring the documentary facts before the public. The dismantling of the myth, and the new image that is put in its place are inevitably controversial. Not everyone will be able to accept its conclusions, but the amount of new original research it contains means it is an immensely significant book, and one that anyone who has any interest in Lewis Carroll and his work, probably ought to have read.
With its careful analysis, and its Gothic tale of cut pages, death bed confessions and hidden secrets, it is both an important scholastic work, and a book for anyone who enjoys an historical detective story.
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