Famous Diarists

Famous diarist – Lewis Carroll or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

1 Mar , 2013  

lewis carrollIn today’s age of modern media, keeping a personal diary is something that can be easily done. If you’re the type of individual who likes to jot thoughts down on a piece of paper, you can write your own blog. Don’t like typing? That’s okay, too; you can start a video journal and post your videos online. The possibilities are endless, but just because there are multiple methods by which to record your thoughts today, that doesn’t mean diaries are a new phenomenon.

Many of the world’s most gifted people have kept diaries throughout history, including famous scientists, emperors, artists, presidents, and even authors like Lewis Carroll.

Carroll’s diaries are especially intriguing. His diaries reveal painfully personal details about his life, and there has also been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Lewis’ “missing diaries” – pages that were suspiciously torn out after the author’s death.

Bio of Lewis Carroll

More than a mere author, Lewis Carroll was a brilliant man who can be considered a Jack of all trades. Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Lewis Carroll was his adopted pen name. Carroll lived from 1832 until 1898, accomplishing much in his 65 years. Carroll was a logician, a mathematician, a photographer, an Anglican deacon, and most notably he was the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as the sequel to that novel, Through the Looking-Glass.

Carroll was a man of great faith, but as he would reveal through personal dialogue, he suffered from much temptation and was far from a perfect man. Carroll suffered from migraines and epilepsy and his personal life was often in shambles.

Although more than a century removed from his death, some of the stigma which surrounded Carroll is still present, including accusations of pedophilia due to Charles’ proclivity for semi-nude images of young girls and the emotional attachment he would form with the real-life Alice (Liddell) and other young girls.

Lewis Carroll’s Diaries

It was discovered after his death that Charles had kept extensive diaries chronicling certain periods of his life. He recorded 13 diaries in total, most of which addressed issues he had a younger man, from 1853 until 1863, when he was still in his twenties. The controversy behind these diaries, known as the “missing diaries,” deals specifically with 7 pages of text which mysteriously vanished – torn out of different diaries.

Scholars suggest that Charles’ family was behind this, attempting to remove material which may lend credence to the pedophilia accusations. The belief here is that the family removed the overt references to Lewis’ infatuation with young females in order to preserve the family name.

This theory is backed up by the actual content and tone of the diaries of this period, wherein Lewis spills onto the pages his mental suffering and confessions to his sense of sin.

Other theories as to why the pages were torn out suggest that he had proposed to 11-year-old Alice Liddell, a proposal that was ultimate futile if true. This theory finds backing with the love poems which Lewis recorded in her personal diaries, which scholars speculate are about the man himself.

In 1996, hoping to dispel the rumors of the proposal and other more sinister theories surrounding the missing pages, Karoline Leach released a letter from the Dodgson family archives, known as the “cut pages in diary document.” However, this page wasn’t Lewis’; it was written by his family, suggesting what was really on the missing pages – information about Lewis’ attraction to Alice’s older sister Lorina, and his ultimate falling out with the Liddell family.

Overall, Carroll Lewis’ diaries are very intriguing. They cover logical theory, his rejection in priesthood, and some interesting day-to-day tidbits of the life of a struggling man whom gave the world brilliant literature.

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