Lewis Carroll: Friend of Children by Morton N Cohen

Morton N Cohen

Lewis Carroll: Friend of Children


The curious story of what happened when a girl named Alice fell down a rabbit hole might never have been preserved for posterity had not one of the children who first heard it pestered the teller of the tale to write it down.

The persistent young girl was Alice Pleasance Liddell, aged ten, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; the storyteller, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy thirty-year-old mathematics don and clergyman also at Christ Church; the time, July 4, 1862, when Dodgson took Alice and her two sisters on a river picnic. As they glided over the river, the children demanded a story. Dodgson had told them many stories before, but this time he made up a new one, just for them. They liked it so much that the second sister, Alice, who obviously inspired the main character, insisted that Dodgson record it on paper.

She kept nagging him about it, and he finally bought a small notebook, wrote down the tale in his careful script, and added his own illustrations. Inscribed as ‘A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer Day’, Dodgson gave the booklet to Alice in 1864, probably

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter