Talk:Lewis Carroll

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Former good article nomineeLewis Carroll was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There may be suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
August 22, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
September 5, 2006Good article nomineeNot listed
On this day...A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on July 4, 2009.
Current status: Former good article nominee

Sexual preferences section is under-cited[edit]

Large segments of Sexual preferences subsection are not cited. I added citation needed span tags but they were removed by Xxanthippe. As far as I can see, the claims are still in need of citations. For example, within these sentences:

Biographers Derek Hudson and Roger Lancelyn Green stop short of identifying Dodgson as a paedophile (Green also edited Dodgson's diaries and papers), but they concur that he had a passion for small female children and next to no interest in the adult world. Catherine Robson refers to Carroll as "the Victorian era's most famous (or infamous) girl lover".

That section is only cited by Catherine Robson's 2001 book, presumably only for the quotation in the second sentence. Given that the other authors are mentioned by name, it shouldn't be too hard for someone with the available literature to find where the claims come from, as is the case for the other errors. Tkbrett (✉) 22:55, 1 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The sources are readily available. What is there to stop you from putting in the citations yourself? Xxanthippe (talk) 02:40, 2 May 2021 (UTC).Reply[reply]
I do not have access to Derek Hudson and Roger Lancelyn Green's books, hence the citation needed tags. Tkbrett (✉) 02:45, 2 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have you thought of getting hold of the books yourself? It cannot be an impossible task. Xxanthippe (talk) 04:44, 2 May 2021 (UTC).Reply[reply]
The books mentioned, but not actually cited, in the areas I originally marked include: Derek Hudson's Lewis Carroll (1954); Roger Lancelyn Green's The Story of Lewis Carroll (1951) or Lewis Carroll (1960); Donald Thomas's Lewis Carroll: A Portrait with Background (1995); Michael Bakewell's Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1996); and something by Hugues Lebailly. Unfortunately my local library does not carry any of them and, due to the pandemic, they are not carrying out inter-library loan requests. In the meantime, I think we ought to indicate that citations are needed for large chunks of the section so someone who does have ready access to the literature can add them where needed. Tkbrett (✉) 11:39, 2 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Talking about Lewis Carroll's problematic history... without the CP.[edit]

CW/ CP, Child SA

I was sent here from the help desk to talk about this specific topic.

One day I was curious to dig into claims that Lewis Carroll was a pedo/groomer and took about (30?) of children, either nude or not. when I got to the section on the wikipedia page ( ) , there was undeniable evidence of one of them, as seen as a photo. Can we talk about the subject WITHOUT giving out the photo? It was taken a long time ago, but please. The last thing I wanna do is stumble upon CP because someone put it there. Thank you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by BloodyShard123 (talkcontribs) 21:47, 20 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In Victorian Britain, photos of pre-pubescent children naked or in rags were not considered (by "Polite society") to have any sexual implications, and were a popular genre in early photography. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, active collectors of photographs, had a number of such pictures in their collection, some of them (if I recall correctly) actually taken by "Lewis Carroll" (Charles Dodgson), who was a pioneering and well-known amateur photographer. He took around 3,000 photos of various subjects, so it's not surprising that a small proportion of them would have been in this then-popular style. Have you already read the section Photography (1856–1880) in this very article?
Various writers, looking for sensational new angles on which to base literary-historical papers and books, have tried to push the conjecture that Carroll/Dodgson might have had paedophilic tendencies by using innuendo and forced interpretations, but as far as I'm aware (and as a fantasy writer he falls within my sphere of active interests), not a single shred of direct evidence has emerged to support it.
His image has also suffered from partisan efforts to portray him as Lewis Carroll the shy Oxford Don, when in fact he was a very convivial man with strong connections to the less fashionable North East of England. Read, if you can, Bryan Talbot's unconventional but cleverly designed and well-researched Alice in Sunderland, which presents a good deal of material about the real Charles Dodgson. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 22:33, 20 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unless "CP" is short for Child Picture, there's no danger of anybody "stumbling" on anything in this article. Lewis Carroll took pictures of children (among other subjects). This has recently become controversial. We illustrate that with an example of one of his photographs of a child (fully clothed, albeit in rags). If you deem that photograph to be pornographic, that probably says more about you than it does about the photo.Chuntuk (talk) 12:31, 21 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
BloodyShard123, you should not have removed one of the pictures from the article. There is no consensus here to do so. I have reverted the removal. Wikignome Wintergreentalk 14:42, 21 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The BBC made a documentary called The Secret World of Lewis Carroll. It was inaccurate, saying a photograph of a naked prepubsecent girl was a picture of Lorina Liddell by Carroll, but actually it has been proved not to be by him, and is believed to be a medical photograph taken by a doctor, as the girl has a curved spine. I think the documentary should be mentioned, if only because lots of articles are still out there referring to the photograph and it's not clear that the documentary was discredited unless you read the imdb reviews. (talk) 12:40, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's why more detail on the inaccuracy -Two of the expert contributors on this programme complained to the BBC Trust about this programme and the BBC was censured by its own governing body for lying. The picture, supposedly recently discovered, had been readily accessible on the internet and known to scholars for around 20 years, and was known not to be authentic. The experts on Carroll who appeared on the programme were not told of it and thereby prevented from saying this. The provenance of the photo has no connection with England, let alone Carroll. It was bought from a French dealer one of whose specialities was 19th century French medical photographs, and the photo shows the girl's spine is crooked - a fact that was obscured by the BBC's selective use of the photo. The present owner of the photo, a museum, did not appear in the film, and has never claimed the photo is of Lorina by Carroll (it is only "attributed" based on an anonymous inscription on the back.) In fact the inscription uses the name "Lewis Carroll" which nobody in Carroll's lifetime would have used since he invariably used the name "Dodgson" and kept his identity as "Carroll" secret. When Lorina was a young teen he had not yet achieved fame as "Carroll" anyhow since he had not written "Alice in Wonderland" by then. The photo is also not in the format used by his specially made camera. It is only attributed to Carroll due to the date: Carroll was using photography at this time, but so were many hundreds of other photographers. It gives the non professional "gut feeling" of a consultant who is not a Lewis Carroll expert. However, I also read that 'The photographic conservation specialist Nicholas Burnett and forensic imagery analyst David Anley concluded it was authentic and probably of Liddell.' I'm still doubtful. Wakeling later wrote a scathing article in the Lewis Carroll Society Journal about his experiences on this documentary, and has managed to ensure it is never repeated, but I've been unable to find the article. The books of Wakeling and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst amy shed more light. (talk) 13:13, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From an opus of some 3,000 photographs, Edward Wakeling has calculated that nude photographs of children represent ‘no more than 1 per cent of Carroll’s output’.He argues that picturing nude children and focussing his camera on girls was common practice among Victorian photographers and that, when Carroll visited family friends, boys were more likely to be away at school.Is there a source for the John Betjeman quote about liking girls not boys? Betjeman was born eight years after Carroll died, so he couldn't have heard it directly from him. Wakeling says there are as well many photographs of boys and adults.
As a writer of children’s books, Carroll needed to explore children, Mr Wakeling pointed out: ‘His relationship with children is not an all-encompassing part of his life, which many of the biographers tried to suggest.
‘He was a teacher. He actually enjoyed the intellectual banter that he could have with children. Children in Victorian times found that very refreshing because it was very uncommon for someone to treat them as equals. Children were seen and not heard.' Also Hugues Lebailly, Jenny Woolf and Karolina Leach would be interesting to reference. (talk) 13:42, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An oddity about the photo in question is that it has frequently been described as being of Lorina Liddell. The fact is the girl in the photo does not look like Lorina, but does look like Edith L.. I say this assuming that the several photos of the Liddell children taken by Dodgson, and readily viewable on the net. have those three sisters correctly identified. There is a strong family likeness between all three, so much so that Alice and Lorina would pass for identical twins were it not for the age difference. On the other hand Edith has markedly lower set eyebrows, as does the girl in the photo in question, but very similar facial features otherwise. To my eye the similarity between the face of the girl in this photo and others of Edith are so great as to make it almost certain that it is of her. (talk) 11:52, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Retitling 'early life' to 'early life and academic career'[edit]

Having landed here to check a detail about Caroll's academic life, I was frustrated that it wasn't clear where this information was. I did find it - in the section headed 'Early Life'. This made no sense to me, so I altered the title, but have had it reverted. Why? Should we have a separate section for his Oxford life? Certainly the present title 'Early Life' is not an accurate reflection of the content of the section. Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 10:37, 25 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]