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External Sites. User Reviews. User Ratings. External Reviews. Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. The cupboards in his room were crammed with toys, puzzles and games, brought out when he made friends with children on trains and at the seaside. From , there was an annual summer holiday at Eastbourne.
His perseverance — or was it coercion? His surviving sketchbooks show pencil drawings of girls posing with their skirts tucked up to avoid the waves. Edward Wakeling is determined to absolve Carroll from current suspicion, citing the memories of many child-friends, all of whom recalled Mr Dodgson fondly.
His full-on attentiveness made each feel special. Wakeling places him solidly and securely in the context of his time, a mid-Victorian who is far from abnormal.
Alice and Friends
This approach is convincing in its own way. So it is that biographical judgement slides back and forth like faces or animal figures that switch when viewed from different angles.
The public Carroll is more approachable and unambiguous — meeting him is, in a way, a relief from dealing with his difficult side. Both biographers, though, agree on the sadness caused by the fleeting nature of childhood. The problem for Dodgson was the unconscious element in his love that forbade it beyond puberty.
Girls such as Alice, from the upper middle class, were freed for a few years to be their authentic selves before their families put them forward for the marriage market. The withdrawal began in , only a year after the boat journey. But it was never the same again, and no one knows what went wrong. Was it the prospect of the marriage market that had made Alice spiritless? Or can it be that Alice had come to resist Carroll — and, if so, why? Is it conceivable that Alice felt a victim in this way, possessed by Carroll as material for his imagination? Certainly, in her fictional character, she has the freshness of an inquiring mind.
But as the real Alice grew up in the s and s, there was as yet no path for young women into higher education. Lady Margaret Hall opened its doors to the first nine women in By then Alice Liddell was 27, and the following year she married an immensely rich Old Etonian, Reginald Hargreaves, who wore a sealskin waistcoat and carried a silk umbrella.
They were wed in Westminster Abbey, where Alice the child disappears into the silver tissue of her wedding gown. Exploring the past of our Oxford home, my journalist daughter, Olivia Gordon, has come upon a curious fact.
She tells me that ours was once the home of three girls called Beatrice, Evelyn and Ethel Hatch, who succeeded Alice as child-friends of Lewis Carroll. His photographs of the Hatch sisters have caused controversy because he posed them in the nude. Beatrice, with knees drawn up, is perched on a rock supposedly on the edge of the sea. Carroll had an artist colour in the flesh tints.
To Carroll the nude is art; to others, the nude looks naked.
Leading critical opinion against Carroll was a mother called Mrs Owen, a trained barrister and well connected as niece to the vice-chancellor of the university. He claimed that the girl herself had consented, and sent a courteous apology to her mother, promising an end to kisses. He expected to hear no more of this, but then made a curious mistake: he suggested that Mrs Owen look at his photographs of Beatrice Hatch.
Douglas-Fairhurst leads us through the thicket of meaning between nude and naked. Tennyson said this was the most beautiful photograph he ever saw.