Talk:Lewis Carroll

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Former good article nominee Lewis Carroll was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are 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
Date Process Result
August 22, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
September 5, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee
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ready for featured status?[edit]

I've gone through adding citations wherever they seem to be needed. Also removed some dubious additions and tidied up the syntax where it had suffered from various competing editors. Is it a polished diamond now guys? --LadyDear32 (talk) 09:57, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

tidied up external links[edit]

there were so many of them, and some of pretty dubious value, I've left it with just the main links to other Carroll-based websites. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LadyDear32 (talkcontribs) 11:07, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


can't really understand why the neutrality is being questioned at this late stage. This article has been gone over and gone over and fine-tuned by so many of us, it seems simply ridiculous to question the neutrality at this point, and I suspect it's either a troll or simply a bit of malicious meddling. Note - no reasons for the notice have been given. So I'm removing it until some proper basis for applying it is put forward. --LadyDear32 (talk) 10:58, 3 March 2008 (UTC) I'm uncertain what this is about, but I would suggest that the description of Charles Dodgson as a young man being "handsome" is a subjective opinion. There is a citation given at the end of the paragraph on his "physical appearance", but I'm uncertain if this relates specifically to "handsome" bit. If this was/ is a commonly held perception then who (other than the author/ editor of the Wiki article) said so? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Contains Mild Peril (talkcontribs) 00:38, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I just browsed over the first few parts of the article,'s NOT [completely] neutral. Take, for example, the third paragraph: it's a bit, ah, glowing, isn't it? ...Not quite "encyclopedic material," I think. Paperxcrip (talk) 12:41, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I've sopped up the sauce and condensed the remainder into a single, more prosaic introductory paragraph. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 17:50, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Maybe it refers to a possible Conflict of Interest on the part of some of the frequent editor/s? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Psipes (talkcontribs) 04:10, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

info on Lewis Carroll v. that on Alice Liddell[edit]

When reading both pages, the information found on one page is different enough to lead to much more confusion than is necessary. I've encountered this problem at many other page groups on Wikipedia, but this is the worst I've seen by far. An editor should really take the time to clean up the differing/contradicting/confusing info on the Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and related pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:45, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Particularly the amount of space spent arguing the notion of whether the character of Alice was based on Alice Liddell, which would be far more profitably used to explain - or at least acknowledge - that it was Alice and her sisters to whom he told the story, and Alice who requested that it be written down, meaning that she is a fairly good candidate for the basis of the character. Ravenclaw (talk) 10:12, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

One of the best[edit]

This is one of the best written articles in the entire Wikipedia. I can't help but suspect that others have come afterwards and added punctuation crutches for the only thing needing work is punctuation which is way in outer space.  — [Unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:05, 3 October 2007.] It may be "well written" in the sense of some literary standard, but not in terms of objectivity. Charles Dodgson made many very important contributions in mathematics (control theory, calculus of two variables) and voting models, which are not put into perspective with whatever may have been his sexual bent. Erichwwk2 (talk) 17:03, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

I encourage you to add whatever you feel is missing. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 18:29, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
I am not aware of any important contributions he made, and I would be interested to learn of them. My impression is that he was a very ordinary, run of the mill academic, who did nothing noteable in his academic work, and would be completely forgotten had it not been for the Alice books. If this impression is wrong I would be fascinated to learn of his important contributions, and if Erichwwk2 can tell us what they were that will be excellent. JamesBWatson (talk) 18:07, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Annoyance At Night[edit]

I've heard some speculation of what Carroll meant by this. Some say he was molested and that's what that means. Does anybody know? It sounds like whatever it was contributed to three years of misery.

"Some say" all sorts of ridiculous things. Do "some say" anything factual? RayKiddy (talk) 18:04, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, RayKiddy since you seem to know the "facts", what DID he mean? What kind of "annoyance at night" could make someone put in writing that if it weren't for this, he could have borne everything else? Who knows what happend; Carroll didn't say. Your snide remark however, is silly in the light of the fact that YOU don't know what the hell happened either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:48, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


The IPA transcription indicates a silent <g>, ie that 'Dodgson' should be pronounced the same as 'Dodson' would be. Is this correct or a typo? Echobeats 00:52, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

It's correct.Mikeindex 13:21, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
As no one's responded, I'm gonna assume it's a typo and change it. garik (talk) 11:56, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I did respond (see above). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikeindex (talkcontribs) 08:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Ah, sorry! My mistake. I've taking the liberty of tabbing our responses to make them clearer garik (talk) 12:39, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Picking this up again, I see that four years on the conventional pronunciation is given and tertiary sources are cited. Yet it seems clear from Dodgson's own letters, for example. that "Dodson" was used. Are there better sources? Cusop Dingle (talk) 07:37, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

The pronunciation as "Dodson" is supported here: Elster, Charles Harrington (2006). The big book of beastly mispronunciations: the complete opinionated guide for the careful speaker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 158–159. ISBN 061842315X.  The citation is to Emerson, R. H. (1996). "The Unpronounceables: Difficult Literary Names 1500-1940". English Language Notes 34 (2): 63–74. ISSN 0013-8282.  Sadly I don't have access to that journal. Cusop Dingle (talk) 19:52, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
As a noted Carrollian who knows dozens of other noted Carrollians, I assure you that "Dodson" is the correct pronunciation. The dictionaries currently cited are themselves in error. I am going to change this now. -- Evertype· 16:38, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
You did not change it. Is there some reason why the dictionaries' mispronunciation is retained? Snezzy (talk) 11:34, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd change it myself, but I really don't know how to do it without my work appearing as "original research" since the dictionaries appear authoritative. All the "dodson" sources are in print material I do not own, or in blogs. Do we have to wait for someone at Merriam-Webster to do some research over the next two or three decades and finally get it right? Snezzy (talk) 13:48, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Took a long time, but I've made the change. -- Evertype· 16:07, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations: I'm a bit worried about this book's pronunciations. For Dodgson (DAHD-sun), I was amazed that the G wasn't pronounced, but after getting over that, I am suspicious that the AH sound in the book is the US pronunciation of the English short O. If you look at some other entries in the book, you will find BRAHTH-ul, whereas an English person would say BROTH-ul. Also, CAHN-sul instead of CON-sul. And AW-tahp-see, for AW-top-see; it even says pronounce the second syllable like top (presumably US pron tahp, while English is TOP). I don't think Carroll would have said DAHDSUN, he would have said DODSUN - as the article says. I can't access the other reference, which is also US. Maybe it makes this clear. Without another citation, the article's pronunciation is unsupported, and the accessible ref will confuse readers. Myrvin (talk) 21:07, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
To be honest, your writing "AH" and "O" isn't very clear. In any case, the chief problem seems do be the question of [d] vs [dʒ]. Now, every professional Carrollian (and I am one of them, and I know all the rest of them) knows that the pronunciation is [d]. Finding a source that says otherwise is simply finding an erroneous source. -- Evertype· 16:51, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
What an amazing statement. This is biography not religion. I think you could tell exactly what I meant by AH and O. I don't think you grasp what I am saying above. It's about the cited reference asserting that his name is pronounced dAHdson rather than Dodson. The AH is in the book. I am questioning the source as a support for the pronunciation. Perhaps it is erroneous.Myrvin (talk) 17:15, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
There is also this [1] emphasizing the correct spelling of his name. Does this suggest that people spelled it wrong because he pronounced it as if it didn't have a G, or was he insisting that it should be pronounced with the G. Myrvin (talk) 21:14, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. His name was pronounced with a [d] but spelt with a ‹dg›, and he was complaining that people left the ‹g› out, which meant they spelt his name ‹Dodson› which was evidently the spelling of the wretch in the House of Commons. -- Evertype· 16:51, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
There is also this [2], and several others, which do use the G. Perhaps the article needs a section on the pronunciation of his name. Myrvin (talk) 21:33, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
There may be people who spell their names with ‹dg› who pronounce it with [dʒ], but Carroll wasn't one of them. Or this may be a mistake on Daniel Jones' part (even though he was a great phonetician). In any case, definitely [d] for Lewis Carroll. -- Evertype· 16:51, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
I think there are a lot of people who do just that. The DNB has 4 Dodgsons (including Carroll). Do they all pronounce their names like him? There are also 13 Hodgsons. Do any pronounce their names Hodson? So the Jones reference must be one of those erroneous ones. Myrvin (talk) 17:15, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
All we need is a reliable source for the /dɒdsən/ pronunciation. It doesn't matter how many professional Carrollians (does it pay well?) there are to assure us. We need a published document that says it. The Big Book is dodgy (doddy?) because it doesn't even know how to pronounce the first vowel, and the second source cannot be accessed by anyone, so we don't know what it says or what evidence it offers. Myrvin (talk) 18:04, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
I have put a verification needed tag. The first reference should be removed. It does not support the pronunciation. That reference refers to the second one, so maybe that gets it wrong too. They seem both to be North American, and might both use the AH (/ɑː/ pronunciation of the first vowel, which is not what the text says.Myrvin (talk) 09:38, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

General tidying[edit]

I moved the Alice Ottley info into 'trivia' as it seems too minor a point to have it's own section. MikeLeach1956 09:45, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Missing pages in diary[edit]

Avoid weasel words. 'However, there has never been any evidence to suggest this was so, and a paper[15] that came to light in the Dodgson family archive in 1996 provides some evidence to the contrary.' Some evidence? What some evidence? For all I know, this is 'some' evidence of the former. That he had proposed marriage and his family wanted to cover it up. Hey Anon I'm not sure what the problem is. The nature of the 'some evidence' is gone into elsewhere and anyone can check the listed source. This isn't the place for an in-depth analysis of one piece of paper. We summarise the situation and link to a source for more info. --Mikeleach56 13:06, 16 September 2007 (UTC) Also it offers an 'alledged summary' would be the correct way to write it. You will pretty much have to use weasel words if you want that crap in there. Until the pages are recovered it's just a note claiming alot of things... The cut pages in diary document was discovered in the Dodgson family's own archive and was identified by Philip Dodgson Jacques (Carroll's great-nephew) as having his handwriting on it and also the writing of his aunts Menella and Violet. Its provenance has never been disputed, nor has its authenticity ever been brought into question. It's quoted in the Wakeling edition of Carroll's diaries and accepted by him and by all other scholars as a genuine document. As it is the only record of what happened on June 27 1863, its value is immense, even though, of course, the summary can only give us an approximation of what happened on that day. MikeLeach1956 09:41, 24 August 2007 (UTC) Lewis was a very bright man a real man 4 woman and his real name was Rev.Charles Litwidge Dodgson —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

And in the next paragraph regarding paedophilia---------

'But there has never been much evidence to support such an idea' There has never been much? So there HAS been evidence, or? How much is much? Actually there isn't any firsthand evidence at all - so maybe that should be more clearly stated --Mikeleach56 13:06, 16 September 2007 (UTC) 'and the 1996 discovery of the 'cut pages in diary document' (see above) seems to imply that the 1863 'break' had nothing to do with Alice. However the document's provenance has been disputed and its final significance is unknown.' No. You are implying the break had nothing to do with it. The notes provenence has rightly been disputed since its significance cant be proven or disproven until the pages are recovered. (Not bloody likely huh?) Seriously... To my knowledge the notes provenance has never been disputed - (see above) --Mikeleach56 13:14, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Very well said, Anonymous Person. I had to fight hard to even include that the document's provenance is disputed. Apparently if you accept NONE of Leach, some treat you like an ostrich... --Viledandy 04:56, 16 March 2007 (UTC) How does an ostrich get treated? :) --Mikeleach56 13:06, 16 September 2007 (UTC) Revised language that the document was 'presumably' written in 1898 - to my knowledge there is no evidence of this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Philip Jacques cannot say when his aunts wrote their portion. We are therefore possibly dealing with something composed long after the fact. As noted elsewhere, the document 'provides' evidence of nothing; it alleges it. -- (talk) 20:29, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Mistakes in the Annotated Alice[edit]

I made an incorrect correction to the page the other day. Dodgson's date of death in the jacket of the new edition of Martin Gardner's 'The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition' is listed as July 14th, instead of January. You'd think a mistake like that wouldn't be in the definitive edition of anything. I also seemed to remember reading somewhere that Dodgson died when he was 66 and a half years old, which he would have been in July of 1898.

Why He Did Not Proceed To The Priesthood[edit]

In more of than biography I have read, there was some speculation that Dodgson also had a theological issue with church teaching, specifically that he could not persuade himself to believe in eternal damnation. I cannot cite the source for this material, as I read it too long ago.

I read it had something to do with his stutter in another wiki article. In fact, this article does not mention his stutter. Did he actually have one?
You may be thinking of the biography written by his nephew, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, cited elsewhere in this article and talk page, and available through the Gutenberg project[1]. In it, his biographer claims that "he himself did not believe in eternal punishment, or any other scholastic doctrine that contravenes the love of God". As to the reason for not continuing on to the priesthood, however, his biographer surmises that he was avoiding parish duties, and thought his stammering might be an issue. Whether this source is to be taken as truth is another question. Schmutzigeskind (talk) 17:46, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

There is no direct source for this material. Dodgson's reasons for not taking orders can only be assumed or deduced from his available circumstances, as he made virtually no direct comment upon it in himself.--Wicked-Witch-of-the-East 13:55, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Charles did have a stutter. I am researching Charles right now for a paper, and all the books mention it. About damnation, here is a quote from Charles that I found in a book: "I believe God is perfectly good. Also I believe that such infliction of [eternal] punishment would be wrong. Consequently I believe that God is not capable of acting thus. I find that the Bible, in the English Version, seems to tell us that He is capable of acting thus. Yet I believe that it is a book inspired by God, and protected by Him from error in what it tells us of the relation between God and Man, and therefore that what it says, according to the real meaning of the words, may be relied on as true. Consequently I hold that the word, rendered in English as 'eternal' or 'everlasting,' has been mistranslated, and that the Bible does not really assert more than that God will inflict suffering, of unknown duration but not necessarily eternal, punishment for sin." Here is a citation I did for the book I got this from: Jean Gattégno. Lewis Carroll. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1976. (page 237) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


Is this picture (of the nude girl) really appropriate for this article?

Yes, it is; the section in which it's placed discusses Dodgson's nude photographs at some length. Septentrionalis 18:32, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Has anyone verified the authorship of Dodgson? Quoting user JayW @ 19:38, 23 July 2006 (UTC) Is this really by Lewis Carroll? Where did you get it?. With that said, I also think that the caption (rare archive by Dark111) is deeply inappropriate. Is Dark111 famous or something? If somebody verifies the authorship I will be glad to support its inclusion in the article. -- Pichote 19:37, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Dark111 is just another Wikipedia user and should not be in the article at all. The photo is authentic. In fact, the girl herself has her own Wikipedia article under the name Alexandra Kitchin. -- ShinmaWa(talk) 07:46, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Having said the above, I'm thinking the article is better without the photo. -- ShinmaWa(talk) 00:04, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

I think this article is a diamond in the rough. Specifically, I think we can being this article up to featured status with a little work. To get us started on this path, I've opened this article up for a peer review so we can get some feedback on ways to improve this article. -- ShinmaWa(talk) 20:05, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Failed GA nomination with invitation to renominate[edit]

As stated in the above peer review post, this article is a diamond in the rough. Specifically I've failed the nomination over citations: two of the most controversial matters - possible drug use and child pornography - need better documentation. Stubby one and two-line paragraphs also detract from the article. Some of the material here would probably be better covered in summary style with branching articles: more space gets devoted to his artistic hobbies than to his actual career as a mathematician or to critical receptions of his writings. On the whole, this article loses its balance over what I would call the Sally Hemmings effect: legitimate concerns over sensational topics can steal the spotlight away from other substantive issues. This man is chiefly memorable as the author of some of the most enduring and respected children's literature in English. Durova 18:29, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

That is some very valuable feedback. Thank you Durova! -- ShinmaWa(talk) 01:30, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps Dodgson's work on sets and symbolic logic might be covered as well as the gossip and speculation around his private life? He was in his time, after all, a mathematician and logician. Daen 10:11, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

At the same time. Since the current understanding of LC is in a state of flux, shouldn't Wiki reflect that current state? I don't think it's about being sensational. It's about trying to accurately reflect current realities, so people coming here for info get a balanced idea. I think it's crucial for the 'controversies' to be well featured as they reflect most accurately the current nature of LC and his biography. So much is unknown or in dispute. And the 'carroll Myth' has an impact on his work as much as his life, don't you think? Maybe we could do with linked feature swctions on some of his best non-Alice work?--Wicked-Witch-of-the-East 14:00, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Article To-Do[edit]

Based on the feedback from the Peer Review and the GA review, I think I can break down the things to do into a smallish bullet-list:

  • Slightly de-emphasize and summarize the controversial issues (drugs/pedophilia) - perhaps subpage?
  • Increase exposure of Carroll's academic/mathematics pursuits.
  • Give considerably more weight to Carroll as an author (for which he is best known)
  • Some general prose cleanup (stub paragraphs and the like)
  • For the stuff that remains after the above, references references references....

Feel free to add to this list as needed. -- ShinmaWa(talk) 03:31, 6 September 2006 (UTC) No, I don't agree. If the article is dealing with Dodgson's biography then the controversies belong right there on the main page, because his entire biography is 'controversial' right now isn't it? His 'pedophilia' especially. When we consider that almost everything said about his life and work has to some extent reflected the idea of his obsession with children, then I don't think we can peel off 'pedophilia' from any other aspect of his life or genius. The controversy about it is centre stage and needs to remain there. Likewise the whole 'Carroll Myth'. It is central to what Dodgson is and what he is perceived as being. To de-emphasise it is to give a quite false image of the state of our present understanding. What we need is sub-pages to do with his literature. This is his biography page and should reflect that fact first and foremost. --Wicked-Witch-of-the-East 14:08, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

    • With regard to your 'Increase exposure of Carroll's academic/mathematical pursuits' - I can't find any of it on the web, but in a book at home I have some of the mathematical problems (set theory, I think) that he gave to his students. The Carrollian wit and surrealism shows in the way they are written. I'll put some examples in the article (or here) as soon as I can get the book and a computer in the same place. Robin Johnson (talk) 11:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
      • His mathematical work is documented on the Web, e.g. try [3] and links therein. Or just Google "Lewis Carroll" mathematician. EEye (talk) 11:20, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
  • As a reader, I would just comment that the 'The Carroll Myth' section seems to just be a summary of a single work about Carroll. It may be a prime example of scholarly work in regards to him, but it strikes me as a bit odd that a single author's comments on a topic would be the sole one mentioned directly and further be the second largest section in the article. It seems more like either a page should be made for the book or move the text to Mrs. Leach's page (or the views of further authors be included.)
    • I also have problems with how the "Carroll Myth" is highlighted in this article. If there is a myth or a question about the scholarship, what is the subject? Is it possible pedophilia? There is already a section for that. Frankly I keep expecting to hear that "The Carroll Myth" has been trademarked. It seems to be used as a marketing term than anything else. At best it may be a meta-controversy, a controversy about the controversies. I think that one thing that can be done which will help the article is that earliest sources can be referenced. If ten biographies were written and the In the Shadow of the Dreamchild was number 11, should all the references come from Dreamchild? There are a lot of things sourced in this page from Dreamchild that are also in earlier biographies. Why not cite the earlier biography? RayKiddy (talk) 19:10, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

A selection from symbolic logic[edit]

Here we go. These are titled 'Sets of Concrete Propositions, proposed as Premisses for Sorites. Conclusions to be found.' There are several dozen of them, but I shall quote the first...

  1. Babies are illogical;
  2. Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile;
  3. Illogical persons are despised.

Univ. 'persons'; a = able to manage a crocodile; b = babies; c = despised; d = logical. which the conclusion is 'Babies cannot manage crocodiles.' The last, and most complex, of the problems is:

  1. The only animals in this house are cats;
  2. Every animal is suitable for a pet, that loves to gaze at the moon;
  3. When I detest an animal, I avoid it;
  4. No animals are carnivorous, unless they prowl at night;
  5. No cat fails to kill mice;
  6. No animals ever take to me, except what are in this house;
  7. Kangaroos are not suitable for pets;
  8. None but carnivora kill mice;
  9. I detest animals that do not take to me;
  10. Animals, that prowl at night, always love to gaze at the moon.

Univ. 'animal'; a = avoided by me; b = carnivora; c = cats; d = detested by me; e = in this house; h = kangaroos; k = killing mice; l = loving to gaze at the moon; m = prowling at night; n = suitable for pets; r = taking to me.

The conclusion is 'I always avoid a kangaroo'. This is from 'A selection from symbolic logic' in 'Lewis Carroll: The complete works with Tenniel's drawings', Nonesuch Press, 1939. I think these make useful, and entertaining, examples of Dodgson's mathematical work and the fact that the Carrollian wit was present even in the lecture room. Robin Johnson (talk) 23:14, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Possible drug use[edit]

'There has been much speculation that Dodgson used drugs, however there is no direct evidence that he ever did' seems to me enough, if not too much, about something for which there is no evidence. The rest of that paragraph is surely pointless? Richard Pinch 21:44, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Of course not, the whole paragraph minimizes existing evidences and not mentions others. What's the point of talking about laudanum and marijuana when you have bugs sitting on mushroons driking tea and smoking water pipes in an immagination, for not to say hallucinogen, land? Frankly, the references in his work are quite obvius. The problem is to infer that the author, besides the characters, used drugs. --El Chemaniaco 15:04, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

The only 'obvious' drug use in the books is the caffeine contained in the tea (and whatever the caterpillar's smoking, but is there any reason to assume it's not tobacco?). Unless you can provide direct evidence of the author's intention or direct correlations with the drug culture of the mid-19th century (not the 20th), it's supposition and doesn't belong in the article. Strephon 21:51, 6 December 2006 (UTC) What difference does it make whether drugs were referenced in this book? The public opinion of drugs has changed greatly during the time between the release of this book and the present day. I find it highly possible that Carroll didn't see the consequences of drug use outweighing the euphoric experiences. Therefore he would have little reservation for implicitly describing the psychoactive effects of eating mushrooms, smoke drawn through a water-pipe, and hallucinogenic tea. After all, he wasn't fortunate to have had the opportunity to view the laughably inaccurate "Reefer Madness". I'm not saying that his work was drug inspired, but it would be foolish to dismiss the aspects of the tale of Alice in Wonderland that are almost certainly referencing drug use. The Material Object 15:38, 4 April 2008 (UTC) His personal drug use aside there was open drug use in England during his times. Opium dens.... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle freely writes about Holmes's use of cocaine. If he didn't use it himself, he knew people or about people who did and how it was done and the effects it had. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:59, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I recall reading that Dodgson objected to drugs - at a time when 4 out of 5 Victorian families used opium. --Uncle Ed (talk) 03:44, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

At that time, it would have been very strange indeed that tobacco, or at least only tobacco, would have been smoked in the style of pipe depicted in Wonderland. It would, almost with out a doubt, have been opium. If hallucinogenic mushrooms where referenced or used, it would be most likely to have been that of the Amanita muscaria rather than any of the psilocin producing species (Psilocybe spp.). (talk) 20:47, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Surely drugs and opium should at least be discussed? Every biography I have read at least alleged that opium use helped inspire many themes in his works. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:01, 29 March 2011 (UTC)


He dies at his sisters' home, a house which he had bought for them with his royalties. It doesn't make sense to say that he lived in Ch:Ch: at then refer to his home in Guildford.

List of writings?[edit]

Why is there no list of his works, nor does there seem to be a link to such a page. 07:12, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, now there is a list of his works. But that list includes among his mathematical works: "Some Popular Fallacies about Vivisection" That isn't about math. It's about a question in ethics. (talk) 02:58, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Asperger's Syndrome suggestion[edit]

Hi, I removed the section speculating that Carroll had Asperger's -- as it was almost entirely one block of unverified, uncited opinion, and if not only that then also original research -- I felt at this time it would be best to remove it, until further discussion of it could be induced. thaaaaaaaaaaanks Spankmecold 07:38, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree. -- Pichote 09:14, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I request review of this subject: Rhoel2007 19:34, 23 December 2007 (UTC+7)

There is good anecdotal eveidence to support this condition: Certainly medical professionals and those with the condition fully recognize the signs: Dodgson wore the same style of clothes for years without change, ate the same diet without change, had a flair for mathematics and literal creative thinking, his word play. He also would suddenly leave a crowded room or dinner party - a common trait where AS sufferers are unable to track multiple conversations. The latest information which supports his condition is the discovery of his bank records: more than 90% of AS people are inept with planning money and understanding the actual consequences or reality of debt. The original piece I wrote was uncited for the simple reason the majority of biographies were written prior to the condition being publicly known in the English speaking world. Much of what I wrote is not online and therefore un-linkable. It is partly based on private original research but clinical psychologists who have reviewed the pointers agree the hypositis: The case is as strong as that for Albert Einstein, which is accepted. I believe entering the information under controversies was correct: It at least provides the basis for other researchers to build and comment upon this relatively new information. I therefore request a review of the deleted material. Rhoel

You state above "[i]t is partly based on private original research"; this is why it is inappropriate for Wikipedia. The issue is not the strength of the case, but that material must come from a "reliable, published source" as stated here: Wikipedia:No original research. Thanks. -Sketchmoose (talk) 04:40, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Lewis Carroll vs. Charles Dodgeson[edit]

Wouldn't this article be better under the name 'Charles Dodgeson' with Lewis Carroll as a redirect? After all, Lewis Carroll was only his pen name, and Charles Dodgeson his real name. It would make more sense that way. 'WiiWillieWiki(Talk) (Contributions) 15:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Not really, because his name was really Charles Dodgson (note the spelling, which does not have an 'e' after the 'g'). Just as with Mark Twain versus Samuel Clemens (your other post today on the same topic), He is better known by his pen name, and given that the 'correct redirection is there, it makes little difference other than extra work for someone. Additionally, other articles linking to a redirection may not be such a good thing. Finally, in this case, you yourself give a counter argument: if you can't get his real name correct after trying to argue for a position, then it is surely better to stick with a pen name that can be readily found in many places if a spelling hint is required.  DDStretch  (talk) 17:18, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I see little merit in that response; his reasoning is sound, as one will note if one spends less time in criticism of his spelling. The man's identity, if not as an author then as a mathematician, logician, anglican clergyman and photographer, was indeed Charles Dodgson. This article extends far beyond that part of Dodgson's work for which the pseudonym 'Lewis Carroll' was created, and it should seem academically erroneous to anyone seeking information about the person himself to have it named so.
I ask anyone if there is a reason beyond that of immediate convenience that the article remain titled 'Lewis Carroll'. Exemplar sententia 03:41, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Lewis Carroll is the name he is best known by, and the name people are more likely to look up. This is generally the convention with pen-names: Mark Twain, George Orwell, etc. are article names; Samuel Clemens, Eric Blair and indeed Charles Dodgson are redirects. Robin Johnson (talk) 09:29, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
I understand this. There would be no technical issue, however, for those people if the were simply redirected from 'Lewis Carroll' to 'Charles Dodgson', as the situation would be made clear by the first line of the article.
Yet I suppose convention will be something to which we adhere, at least for the immediate future.  Exemplar Sententia.
At the risk of Wikilawyering, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people)#Nick_names.2C_pen_names.2C_stage_names.2C_cognomens is pretty clear on the matter. More people would recognise 'Lewis Carroll' than 'Charles Dodgson' - the 'fact' you tend to hear is that 'Lewis Carroll's real name was Charles Dodgson', not 'Charles Dodgson called himself Lewis Carroll when he wrote children's books'. Robin Johnson (talk) 10:20, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Request for semi-protection[edit]

Requested semi-protection on 6th Feb. due to persistent vandalism. --Viledandy 02:15, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Portraits of Lewis Carroll[edit]

I'm thinking that a list of films or books or whatever in which Lewis Carroll is portrayed should be included in the article. I'm not an expert, and I don't know what films/books he has been in, but it would be of interest to people interested in Lewis Carroll to see others' interpretations of him in the media. I added in the Trivia section that Marilyn Manson was making a movie about him, because it is relatively important, and as trivia, it fits right in, but again, a proper section listing his appearances as a character in fictional or non-fictional works would be good. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Donniedarkofan2006 (talkcontribs) 07:28 UTC, 11 June 2007.

Request for Re-establishment of an External Link[edit]

|Request for Re-establishment of an External Link talkpage heading |On 18 August 2007 the link,, was deleted from the Lewis Carroll page: reason given was: ... removing an external link that pertains to one of his works, not Carroll himself. Several other external links refer to LC's works, therefore, the above deleted link should be restored. Additionally, it seems illogical to apply such stringent parameters to external links, the works of LC are the sole reason for his biography to exist, the man is his work. . 14:31, 24 August 2007 (UTC)}}

On 18 August 2007 the link,, was deleted from the Lewis Carroll page: reason given was: - removing an external link that pertains to one of his works, not Carroll himself) Several other external links refer to LC's works, therefore, the above deleted link should be restored. Additionally, it seems illogical to apply such stringent parameters to external links, the works of LC are the sole reason for his biography to exist, the man is his work.

The problem is this article has way too many external links per our guideline at WP:EL. I saw this link and noticed it was more appropriate for The Hunting of the Snark than here. Something pertaining to a work should really be linked from the work -- it's just a way of keeping things organized. Also, we're really not supposed to link to blogs. So for these reasons I went ahead and removed it. Other links on this page that pertain only to a single work of Carroll's should also be moved to that particular page. --JayHenry 14:39, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) First of all, the first message should be signed (you do it by adding 4 tildes '~' at the end of the message). Now, onto the main issue. I am not sure that the External Link should be re-instated at all. It was removed, but perhaps not for the right reason in my opinion. If one reads WP:EL#Links normally to be avoided, one sees point 11 state that links to be avoided should include: 'Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority' I have looked at the external link and it states it is a blog, and I'm not sure how much of an authority the author of the blog is. So, unless some reason can be given that would specifically verify that this blog adds something reliable, relevant, and significant to this article, I don't see how or why the guidance in WP:EL could or should be ignored in this case. In any case, if it does add something reliable, relevant, and significant, then perhaps it is better worked into the text as a reference (not an in-text external link), in which case, it will occur in with the rest of the references. Thus it would no longer be appropriate to duplicate it as an external link in a separate section. Just my thoughts.  DDStretch  (talk) 14:49, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your explanations, I appreciate the clarity of your reasoning. Sorry about the lack of a correct signature. Lichtenberg 14:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Paedophile who photographed naked girls[edit]

Why is not this mentioned, its a well documented fact and should be here as being unbiased--Polygamistx4 15:26, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

it is mentioned: Lewis Carroll#Suggestions of paedophiliaTimotab Timothy (not Tim dagnabbit!) 15:30, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

While it is proper to mention this as a historical fact, this topic should probably be on a separate page with a link to it from the main Lewis Carroll page. My 10-year old was reading this page and alerted us when he saw the naked girl photo that this page contains content inappropriate for him. --Cyberjudge 20:00, 9 March 2010

"Paedophile" refers to a person who is sexually attracted to children. Carroll was an Artist who photographed nude girls. Artists at the time would find nothing unusual in this. There has never been any sexual activity between Carroll and children confirmed by anyone. He was an 'Artist' not a 'Paedophile'.Johnwrd (talk) 04:19, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I concur with Cyberjudge's observation above. Painstaker (talk) 23:27, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The one starts to wonder in what world we're living? The man was a teacher, and certainly he passed a psychological and health examinations, same as today's teachers. So, the statement that "he was a paedophile" is probably based on XX century's way of thought. There should be drawn a line between pornographic and artistic representation. That picture of a girl's act is very simmilar with [Goya's] ["Naked Maja"], and probably was influenced by that masterpiece. So, we can make a conclusion that Goya was pervert and pornograph? (talk) 09:59, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

The editor was linking Francisco Goya and "Naked Maja". These are his wikilinks without the redundant prefix. --Javaweb (talk) 10:55, 1 November 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

While I don't think he ever laid an inappropriate hand on a child, it should be noted that teachers did NOT undergo the same kind of scrutiny that they do today. My grandmother, great grandmother and great, great grandmother were all teachers between 1845 and 1930. Their credentials for teaching primary school was two years of college and a letter of reference. Note the period at the end of that sentence. My aunt was also a teacher and it was not until 1967 that she had to obtain a BA to teach then finally in the 1970s when a teaching certificate was required. She retired in 1985 and was never subjected to either a background check nor a psychological exam, both of which are relatively new developments in education. In some places, neither is required yet in private schools. I would venture to guess that the practice of requiring psychological exams for many professions did not exist until at least the 1930s. Keep in mind that Dodgson retired from teaching a year before Freud's medical career began and that early psychological exams were derived from Freud. So with this I dispute the claim that he passed a psychological exam as such certainly was never required at that time. As for physical exam, I would venture to guess he didn't need to pass one of those either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Removal of image[edit]

I see the image of the 'Cut Pages' document has been removed due to inadequate sourcing.

What is wrong with 'in the Dodgson Family Archive at Woking' as sourcing? If more detail is required (eg catalogue number) it can be supplied, but I can't see the need for removal.

Kudos though to the editors who have been so prompt in remedying all the vandalism here lately. Mikeindex 08:26, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

What a shame there has been vandalism in such case. This is an exceptionally well written article. The original author may very well be picked up by Britanni!

Dodgson as a Logican and Philosopher[edit]

Can we please have some discussion of Charles Dodgson's work as a philosopher and a logician? Surely some discussion of his Symbolic Logic is in order and his exploration of Modus Ponens in the Tortoise and Achilles. Some mention of his development of the Dodgson method in voting theory seems appropriate. 20:30, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Carroll Diagram[edit]

Is there any good reason why there are no mentions of Carroll diagrams on this page? This is the only thing I knew of Carroll/Dodgson other than Alice in Wonderland before comming to this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Agreed! And it still reads far too much like a gossip column pretending to be an encyclopædia article. This could be the touchstone for Dodgson the mathematician and teacher. The Dodgson/Carroll naming debate is also rather odd, for Dodgson was his birthname, and it was as Dodgson that he published his academic works. His fame as a pseudonymous children's author/putative pædophile photographer is almost irrelevant to his original profession of mathematician and pedagogue. Daen (talk) 12:19, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

May I suggest (to the first correspondent) that if you think a paragraph about Carroll diagrams would improve the page you write one and edit it in? I've no doubt it would be a worthwhile addition, and this is the whole essence of Wikipedia!

To the second correspondent I'd say that however important maths may be to you personally, Dodgson is famous now for writing the Alice books (and being a paedophile) so obviously those have to be foregrounded in any overview of his life and place in world culture. An article headed 'Charles Dodgson' all about his maths and teaching (a profession he drifted into becuse it was expected of him and seems never to have felt much enthusiasm for) would make about as much sense as one about Winston Churchill devoted to his talents as a water-colourist. Unfortunately popular culture's obsession with its misconceived and ill-researched view of Dodgson's sexuality leaves serious scholars with an obligation to point to the factual evidence in this area just as any other, even at the risk of being derided as gossip-columnists.Mikeindex (talk) 10:21, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Weak Phrase[edit]

I find the phrase "more or less unequivocally" to be somewhat self-contradictory. Perhaps someone could improve that passage. EricTN (talk) 04:44, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I think in context ('All of these works more or less unequivocally assume that Dodgson was a paedophile, albeit a repressed and celibate one') it's pretty clear: all the works assume it, but how uneqivocally they do so varies from one to another.Mikeindex (talk) 10:01, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I think it's fair to say that the phrase "more or less" is not often used nowadays in this literal sense (though such usage was commonplace in the past). In modern usage the phrase is generally understood to mean approximately, sort of, somewhat, etc, so its old-fashioned literal use could possibly cause some confusion and appear contradictory when followed by an absolute like "unequivocally".Contains Mild Peril (talk) 00:24, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I would describe its meaning as "nearly". There is nothing confusing or contradictory about "nearly unequivocally" or nearly + any other absolute. "Nearly 100%", "with near absolute certainty", etc. --Ericjs (talk) 22:38, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Writing style[edit]

This article is badly written and inserts the author's -- or several authors' -- opinions without citation. Someone needs to go through it with a fine-tooth comb and provide line by line citations and remove the point of view language. Far too many "it should be noted" and similar phrases. --Bookworm857158367 (talk) 02:20, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

AGREED. The style on its own isn't bad but by the standards of an "encyclopedia"... Glitterglue (talk) 07:03, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Whatever else the article may be it is NOT badly written and you really shouldn't let your discomfort with any research that challenges the status quo lure you into spurious and incompetent attempts at literary criticism. Point out the places where you think citations are need and and I'll endeavour to supply them.Mikeindex (talk) 09:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't have enough of the books or have enough of an interest in Carroll to attempt to edit this myself. I have Donald Thomas's recent biography of him and that's about it. Much of this article -- the latter part, particularly -- is excellent and provides valuable information with appropriate citations. However, I'd say that in-line citations are needed EVERYWHERE in this article where they don't exist, particularly in the first part of the article, and where opinions are expressed, it needs to be rewritten so it is clear which published source or literary critic the opinions came from. If it's a statement where there are two conflicting points of view, both need to be expressed and have in-line citations. Which critic said his first poem was a rather common little poem? Cite the critic; don't just say that because it's your opinion. Who said Jabberwocky was fantastic? It can't be the author of this article. That's POV. It needs to be attributed to a literary critic with an in-line citation. "Poorly written" probably is an exaggeration, but there are problems with POV. If this article is to ever to become a Featured Article it needs attention to those details. --Bookworm857158367 (talk) 15:53, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The article also seems to use words like "various," "generally" and "widely" a lot - i agree, specificity is missing/needed for accuracy... Glitterglue (talk) 07:04, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
This isn't the "wiki of essays on literary criticism." this is a wiki encyclopedia. i feel the distinction is important. speculation is good/fun/important, but does not belong here. no one's offended by the literary criticism. Glitterglue (talk) 01:33, 17 April 2008 (UTC)


It seems like this article is more a series of defenses of Lewis Carroll less than an attempt to be unbiased. Did anyone else get this impression? I feel like counterarguments to allegations are valid but I feel like this is too much - and also prevents insight and speculation about the author. Glitterglue (talk) 07:01, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, both sides are presented, what more can we do? If we say he was a pedo we're losing neutrality. --LadyDear32 (talk) 10:56, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

The previous material regarding the Carroll Myth theory posted by LadyDear32 was not presented in a neutral fashion. No responses or challenges to the theory, expert or otherwise, were included; Karoline Leach's book was presented as the be-all end-all authority on the entire debate. The material used verbs like "points out" and "discovers" regarding Leach's arguments - treating them as newfound truth, in other words - and pored over the theory in undue and what I would deem loving detail. Several sections were rewritten so as to be restructured around the Carroll Myth theory's school of thought. As a result, the previous article argued for the theory rather than merely presenting it. Yes, the theory should be in the article, but in a neutral manner. (Alternatively, perhaps the theory needs its own page. I will also note that if LadyDear32 is Karoline Leach, her participation in the discussion thus far has been disingenuous.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:25, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

What do you think?[edit]

What do you think of his books? He also wrote the outline for the last Mimzy if anyone knew that. Another interesting fact: He is my great great great uncle!!(that is true because my grandmas maiden name is dogeson and that is his name and she actually met him at a reunion.):) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

That's interesting, but please keep in mind that Wikipedia "talk" pages are for discussing the content of the article, not the subject of the article. - JasonAQuest (talk) 00:41, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Mr Jameson's recent edit[edit]

I have restored a lengthy section which was cut from the article because, while based on research which is of recent date and therefore unacceptable to some people, it was about Charles Dodgson, his life, his relationships and the flaws in our received image of him, and therefore belonged in an article about him.

If you think the section is too long, surely the material to be referred elsewhere would be the critical responses to Leach's work, which could reasonably be argued to be 'about' Leach rather than Dodgson.Mikeindex (talk) 12:06, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I have moved the information to a new page, which I have linked to from the main article. Hopefully that is acceptable to you. Barry Jameson (talk) 21:34, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Why? It's still about Lewis Carroll - and based on primary evidence, unlike the (myth-based) commentaries by Cohen, Green, Hudson, Nabokov etc. cited in the previous section (which you are content to leave in). Perhaps instead the section in question could be rewritten slightly to make it clearer how many of the assertions it contains are solid fact and not just one writer's opinion.Mikeindex (talk) 09:31, 10 February 2008 (UTC) I have now done this.Mikeindex (talk) 10:09, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Are you serious? The concept of the "The Carroll Myth" is a fringe belief created by people who are determined to persuade others to think that Carroll wasn't a paedophile. It's pure opinion, not anything remotely similar to "solid fact". Kooky beliefs shouldn't constitute a large part of a biography. Barry Jameson (talk) 14:16, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Well yes, I'm serious. I appreciate that you have strong convictions in this and related areas, but I'm afraid your zeal is misapplied in this particular case. I would really urge you to read Karoline Leach's book and/or some of Hugues Lebailly's articles - or better, do your own primary research and read CLD's own diaries and letters (with an eye on the 'Index of Correspondents' which gives their birth dates), and then see what you think. Please bear in mind also that the new scholarship is not just about sexuality but about the totality of the received image of CLD (reclusive, socially inadequate, politically/theologically reactionary etc) - all of which the primary sources show to be inaccurate or at least simplistic.Mikeindex (talk) 21:15, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

(This is addressing both this thread and the "Biased?" one above.) Putting the "Contariwise" analysis in separate sections gives it undue weight, so I've done some work on putting it into the context of the rest of the article, summarizing their arguments more succinctly, and leaving off the summations restating their conclusions. I removed the closing comment about his personality as it said nothing specific. But looking at the citations for that section I have to wonder: is the non-Contrariwise POV represented there at all? - JasonAQuest (talk) 00:41, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


These recent edits, removing all reference to the 'Carroll Myth' look like vandalism. Or at least highly non-NPOV! The Carroll Myth is obviously a pretty central piece of scholarship right now, and it needs to be discussed here. We're totally neutral about it, how can anyone justify just cutting it out? I'm reinstating it.

I have a horrible suspicion this 'jasonAQuest' is doing this stuff for reasons of personal politics, and doesn't mind wrecking our careful work to score some bizarre point against person or persons unconnected directly with this page. --LadyDear32 (talk) 03:56, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

1) New comments go at the bottom of the talk page, not the top.
2) Your accusation of vandalism and other accusations of malice are unfounded personal attacks and uncivil, especially since my comments here explaining my edits demonstrate my good faith. Please review these Wikipedia policies.
3) I did not "remove all references to the 'Carroll Myth'"; I simply placed them into the context of the rest of the article, alongside the other interpretations, where they belong. - JasonAQuest (talk) 04:14, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Jason, my suggestion of vandalism was based on the slightly odd repeated edits you'd made - gradually eliminating more and more refs to the new research. I assumed, by the tone and the proximity of the edits, that the IP of the person accusing Leach of 'whoring' belonged to you. You'll understand if, in the circs, I became slightly alarmed.

Look, I'm not a proponent of the Myth, but I've read enough to know it's more wide-ranging than the simple question of pedophilia. It covers Carroll's entire biography, and a lot of his work, and deserves its own section here, because it is currently an extremely signficant question. It's been a part of the Carroll page for years, I and others have helped hone it to its present NPOV perfection. It's good and informative and totally neutral, and I do fear you are removing it out of annoyance with the content rather than because you can identify objective problems with it.

Seriously - do reflect Jason. However annoying the strident Ms Leach may be, the Carroll Myth is bigger than her and deserves to have its place here! --LadyDear32 (talk) 08:32, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but no, I don't understand why you would perceive gradual edits to an article, all with comments about their purpose, as vandalism. "Vandalism" is when someone adds "Tommy Walker is GAY!" to an article, or replaces every occurance of book with rock song, or deletes a whole section without an edit summary. If an edit isn't something of that sort, you should assume good faith. Think about that for a moment: You should assume that every editor is trying sincerely to improve it... not speculate what ulterior motives they have for destroying it.
Calling this article "NPOV perfection" and "totally neutral" is... even further beyond my understanding. No article will ever achieve that status; that's why there's an "edit" link on every section, even on articles that have passed Featured Article review. You apparently believe that the analysis of Leach et al is correct and trumps any prior analysis, which is fine. But not everyone does. And Wikipedia has to reflect their point of view in addition to yours. Again you accuse me - with no evidence - of having personal objections to the material, when I do not. I have editorial problems with the way it is presented. You keep pointing out that Leach's analysis is about many aspects of Dodgson's life, which is precisely why that information should be integrated into those sections, where it should be attributed in the citations to its author. The article about Shakespeare doesn't highlight the work of individual Shakespearean scholars, the article about J. M. Barrie doesn't have sections for the Birkin view and the Chaney view of the writer, the article about Abraham Lincoln doesn't call out the names of books about him in the section headers. That would give undue weight to a single viewpoint. "Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content," is specifically mentioned in the guidelines as a something to avoid. In his case it also looks like an attempt to promote that author.
Speaking of which, unless Ms Leach is editing this article herself (in which case she is engaging in a conflict of interest) the anonymous editor did not accuse her of "whoring"; he accused editors of this article of "whoring [the theory] out". Please read more carefully. - JasonAQuest (talk) 13:59, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Quoting isn't promoting if it's done evenhandedly. In the article we quote from many sources, some in favour of the myth, some against. If we were to only quote one side that would be promotion.

It seems to me that if there are current areas of signficant dispute in a given person's biography then a good encyclopedia has a duty to highlight those areas and give equal coverage to both sides in the debate. That way we allow readers to be fully informed and to make up their own minds. I don't know about JM Barrie or Lincoln, but if there are current scholarly differences of any importance then Wiki should highlight them too. If we don't then we are misinforming by omission aren't we? Jason - you might be in a good place to add the requisite material in both cases?

No matter who the accusation of 'whoring' was directed at it has no place in a civilised debate does it?

--LadyDear32 (talk) 16:23, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that "whoring" is inappropriate, but after your insulting insinuations about me, you're in no position to criticize others' civility.
Putting commentators' names and the names of their theories in section headers may not be intended to promote them, but that's the effect.
This article isn't even close to "evenhanded". The section about his stammer doesn't even get through the first sentence without interjecting Leach's POV, then spends the rest of the section presenting her arguments about it. The traditional view of his social life as entirely child-centered appears nowhere in the section about his personality except at the end... as part of a statement saying it's untrue! This is a blatantly biased presentation, which doesn't even bother to fairly present the POV it's refuting. I'm not enough of a Dodgson scholar to provide the missing balance, but I know a POV-pushing article when I read one. This article does not fully inform the reader, nor does it encourage the reader make up her own mind; it argues only in support of what a certain group of scholars want the reader to conclude. - JasonAQuest (talk) 17:16, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

But the traditional view of Dodgson's social life as child-centred IS untrue. His social life was extremely active and largely adult-centred; this is simply and incontrovertibly proven by the evidence of his own diaries and letters without any reference whatever to anything Cohen, Leach or anyone else says. Surely it can't be inappropriate to state it as such?Mikeindex (talk) 18:18, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Mmm actually I think Jason has a point about the 'traditional' view being merely raised in order to refute, but actually I think that's less about POV than a kind of accident of coinflation. We have a terribly long article here and can't afford to expand it further. I'll see what I can do.
Can't agree the article 'isn't even close' to even-handed though. I think Jason is making the mistake of seeing all the 'refutations' as stemming from Leach, but actually only some of themn do. The entire role of his stammer has been questioned by many other people, most prominently by Wakeling in the published Diaries. Likewise the active adult social life is referenced by both Cohen and Wakeling, though Leach develops the exploration.
I absolutely do not understand the purpose of the disputed neutrality in the drug-use section. What can we possibly add or take away? No serious scholar suggests he abused drugs of any kind. --LadyDear32 (talk) 19:06, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I perceived the refutations as coming from Leach because nearly every citation in the whole darn article reads "Leach". Silly me. Small wonder it reads like it was cribbed from her book. Seriously, for a subject who has certainly been the focus of a lot of scholarly analysis, for the footnotes section to be so dominated by a single source is a warning sign of selection bias.
The drug-use section isn't neutral because it obviously aims to present a conclusion. The thesis statement is presented right there in the first sentence. When an article or a section starts out by saying "Such and such isn't true", my first thought is that the author doth protest too much. It undermines your point rather than supporting it, because it smacks of pushing an agenda.
A neutral, well-researched section about alleged drug use would start with an explanation of the history of the notion, not with a refutation of it. It would list the evidence (weak as it may be) and cite where it has come from. It would then list the evidence against and cite that too. And then it would stop, without summing up the author's conclusions. There's a principle involved in NPOV writing known as "writing for the enemy", in which you try to present the POV you disagree with as fairly as possible. If, for example, you think Dodgson had a pretty normal social life, start out by explaining why some people think he didn't. Assume that such people are sane and rational, and explain where such people would get the idea. When you've accomplished that, then explain why other people think he did have a normal social life. And leave off the conclusion, because the evidence should speak for itself. As an earlier anonymous editor pointed out, this article is littered with argumentative and declarative thesispeak that doen't belong in an encyclopedia article. The goal here isn't to figure out the truth, but to summarize what everyone else has said. If the reader can tell from reading your contributions what your opinion is... you're not doing it right. :) - JasonAQuest (talk) 20:41, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

most recent edit[edit]

I've taken on board some of Jason's suggestions. Presented a brief summary of the 'he loved children' situation, removed the ref to Lebailly and transferred his section to the Myth.--LadyDear32 (talk) 19:28, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I have to reiterate my objection to the article-within-an-article about The Carroll Myth. It's a really bad way to organize what is supposed to be an article about Dodgson. - JasonAQuest (talk) 20:41, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


Much of the content appears to be taken directly, or slightly modified from Passages including:

"Scholastically, though, he excelled with apparent ease. 'I have not had a more promising boy his age since I came to Rugby' observed R.B. Mayor, the Maths master."
"At twelve he was sent away to a small private school at nearby Richmond, where he appears to have been happy and settled. But in 1845, young Dodgson moved on to Rugby School, where he was evidently less happy, for as he wrote some years after leaving the place..."

--Zachquint (talk) 01:17, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I webmaster that site. We've been aware of the fact it was borrowed from us for some time, and haven't really had cause to object. And to be honest it has been altered so much by the various corrections and additions it's only passingly similar now. So, no prob.--Frockmaker (talk) 10:04, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

the vexed pedophilia section[edit]

I've cut the section about the letter Alice's sister wrote as it was lengthy and rambling and didn't seem to be saying anything very informative. I think the present section sums up the situation adequately and any additions get into the realm of 'assertion, rebuttal, reassertion' - which we want to avoid in an article already this long!--"the best head in town" 10:32, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

It is easy to libel a man when he is deceased and cannot defend himself. There is absolutely no external evidence that Carroll was a pedophile. No one knows what was in his mind. Therefore, with the total absence of external and internal evidence, there is no justification for labeling him as a pedophile. Such libel is similar to the many Wikipedia articles that insinuate that famous people are homosexual when there is absolutely no proof whatsoever to support the accusation.Lestrade (talk) 12:48, 8 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
That makes me mad. I'm gay. If someone insinuated I was straight wudya think that was a libel?--JedOrianus (talk) 01:27, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about other countries, but under U.S. law there's no such thing as "libeling the dead". I might add that your comment that describing someone as homosexual is libelous is insulting and offensive. - JasonAQuest (talk) 14:04, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
We document the academic controversy on this topic, at face value. We do not attempt to judge the credibility of the evidence presented, just present both sides and leave the judgement to readers. Dcoetzee 16:38, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Alright, it is easy to defame a man when he is deceased and cannot defend himself. Is that better? There is absolutely no proof that Carroll was a pedophile. Similarly, there is absolutely no proof that various famous people are homosexual as is claimed in many Wikipedia articles. Such claims are a common tactic that is used by homosexuals in their attempt to legitimize their immature and harmful behavior.Lestrade (talk) 17:23, 9 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
Homosexual behaviour is not "immature and harmful" and I strongly suggest that if you want people to take your comments about articles seriously that you refrain from making such overtly inflammatory judgements. Dcoetzee 18:19, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Immature:According to Freud[4], it is a result of arrested development.

Harmful: The AIDS virus is transmitted through torn rectal tissue.

Lestrade (talk) 00:33, 10 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I strongly suggest that you keep your personal opinions and attempts at analysis out of this discussion (and any other on Wikipedia). As User:Dcoetzee correctly pointed out, Wikipedia simply reports what other people have said about the subject. It is not Wikipedia's place to judge whether these statements are correct or not, and it is most certainly not Wikipedia's place to make judgments about whether homosexuality is "immature and harmful" or not. This kind of personal attack is not welcome. - JasonAQuest (talk) 03:01, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I am showing that there is no basis to the allegation in the article that Lewis Carroll was a pedophile. It is the kind of baseless defamation that can be found in many Wikipedia biographical articles. Lestrade (talk) 10:48, 10 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
You're not actually showing that; you're declaring it. I don't know whether Carroll was a pedophile or not. I do know that a substantial number of scholars have explored that question, and their observations (for and against that conclusion) should be reflected in the article. -JasonAQuest (talk) 12:36, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

It is irresponsible and cruel for Wikipedia articles to base such claims on citations that contain mere suppositions, speculations, and assumptions. That, however, is the way of certain groups that wish to make their own actions appear to be acceptable, natural, legitimate, and protected by contemporary society's sensitivity to civil liberty.Lestrade (talk) 16:30, 10 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Whatever you want to believe. Wikipedia policy is to report what the scholars say, and let the reader decide what they believe. - JasonAQuest (talk) 13:19, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

That sounds simple, but it's not. If scholars who have one viewpoint are presented, then the reader will think that viewpoint is the only true position. To be fair, scholars must be reported who represent all viewpoints. Then the reader can weigh all viewpoints and decide which is correct. It is, however, hardly possible to report all scholars and all viewpoints. This is similar to today's situation in which the communications media can largely present one viewpoint and the audience will naïvely accept it and believe it to be true. In Carroll's case, if the Wikipedia article states that he is generally considered to have been a pedophile, then many readers will accept this as the truth. Did Carroll ever declare in speech or words that he was a pedophile? No. Did any person ever witness him committing a pedophilic act? No. Yet the article will assume that he was something that he may not have been.Lestrade (talk) 14:04, 11 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

The article already has multiple sections discussing the different perspectives. It's not one-sided. Someone who reads the article can make up their mind for themselves with the information presented. --JayHenry (talk) 16:52, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Lestrade, we already went over this at length in the context of the Stefan George article. It is not the business of Wikipedia editors to assess the evidence on which scholarly judgements are based. If you can find a source which states a lack of evidence for pedophilia, why not cite it? The problem with the George article was that you were unable to come up with any citations to support your divergence from the critical consensus. It surely can't be as difficult with Carroll.KD Tries Again (talk) 18:47, 12 May 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
The following sentence in this vexed section is the most arrogant and conceited that I have ever read in Wikipedia: "He probably felt more than he dared acknowledge, even to himself." It presumes that we, of the presumptuous 21st century, can directly, immediately know the inner thoughts of a very thoughtful 19th century man, better than he could know himself. It is ignorant for Wikipedia to submissively allow such assertions in its articles.Lestrade (talk) 01:22, 14 May 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
It's a quote, attributed to a particular scholar. Wikipedia doesn't make this assertion, it merely reports it. It also reports conflicting opinions and places his comments in that context. It's up to the reader to make his own judgment about which (if any of them) is correct, or if they're all just speculating. It would be "arrogant and conceited" for Wikipedia editors who make that judgment themselves. - JasonAQuest (talk) 03:54, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
As Jason said. I strongly disagree with the quoted material, but firmly defend its inclusion, because it is accurately representative of a point of view held by a certain group of scholars. The article does not state or imply that this viewpoint is accurate. Dcoetzee 04:40, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

I can't really see that there's anything further to discuss here. Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy requires that we represent significant views. These views about Carroll are very significant, as they are held by a great number of scholars. The article already includes other views about Carroll as well. It's too bad if some people are unhappy with prevalent views. The article currently fulfills NPOV, and it would clearly violate NPOV to remove these sections. --JayHenry (talk) 05:24, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Cut sentence re. 'the Carroll myth' and its 'debunking' by 'modern Carroll scholars' - this implies that Leach, etc. have proven their arguments beyond all doubt, and that Cohen, Gardner, etc. are somehow 'not modern'. The explanation of the 'cut pages' document (twice!) plus the Leach section that follows more than makes the point. -- (talk) 02:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

See below, section on Relations with females for a bold new proposal. --Uncle Ed (talk) 12:37, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Gender issues[edit]

What is with the intro paragraphs using the pronoun, 'She' and the early life using 'He'? Is there something I'm missing?- Jhoge —Preceding comment was added at 02:19, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

External Link Suggestion[edit]

The 'Further Reading' Section correctly suggests Robin Wilson's book 'Lewis Carroll in Numberland'. Professor Wilson recently gave an hour-long lecture summarizing the findings of the book, which is now available on-line in free text, MP3 and MP4 versions: I would think that this is an obvious and appropriate link (I only hold back from placing it up myself as there is a possible conflict-of-interest issue as I am associated with Gresham College, of which he is a professor). Jamesfranklingresham (talk) 15:32, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Drug use[edit]

"most historians would agree, probably used it" is weasel wording by my interpretation. Would agree? Probably used? Completely uncited, at that. I suggest either finding out which historians agree and upon what evidence, or removing it completely. TransOceanic (talk) 01:43, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, and I have boldly removed it. Richard Pinch (talk) 07:10, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually I think the reference to 'forbidden' drugs being freely available over the counter in Dodgson's time is relevant to the discussion, so I've reinstated it and found refs to support the statements. --Broadwayboy08 (talk) 08:23, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

So far this section is a complete non-event. There's still no citation to support the alleged popularity of Carroll in the Sixties drug culture. If you cut that out, there's simply a paragraph to say that certain drugs were legal in Carroll's time, that he might well have taken them normally, and that there's no reason to suppose he abused them. None of that is worth keeping. Richard Pinch (talk) 06:41, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
The iconocgraphy of Carroll's work was certainly popular in the "alternative" scene in the 1960s/early 1970s, most commonly through the use of John Tenniel's illustrations. Nicholas Saunder's self-help anthology Alternative London used the classic image of Alice and the Caterpiller in its "Drugs" chapter, for example. Nick Cooper (talk) 06:58, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
There are a number of points struggling to get out of this section.
  • Carroll's words, ideas and images were popular with the drug culture
(White Rabbit (song) GeorgeMacro (talk) 10:53, 17 October 2009 (UTC))
  • This popularity was due to a perceived resonance with their own activities and subculture
  • The drug culture believed that this resonance was so strong that Carroll must have been using drugs himself
  • The use of drugs by a pillar of the Victorian establishment was an argument used to legitimate use in the modern day
  • Whether there is direct evidence in the historical record of Carroll using or being influenced by drugs.
So far there are no citations for any of these: you've mentioned a possible source for the first; the article asserts that there is no support for the last. I don't think the article can support a section on speculations of drug abuse without reliable sources for all the links in the chain. Richard Pinch (talk) 07:09, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

I've taken this section out pending some sources. It's currently riddled with tags. Richard Pinch (talk) 17:24, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Alice in Wonderland, describes many hallucinogenic experiences in detail. It seems inappropriate that given this fact, there is no reference or suggestion as to how this came about.

This was a time of drug culture, there was no shame in consuming laudanum for example. The level of detail is such that he must have had close contact with someone with first hand knowledge, or had a hallucinogenic experience himself. The absence of any record of recreational use of hallucinogens, in the UK at this time, suggests to me that the experience would have been as the result of ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms, an accidental "poisoning".

There is little doubt that the introduction of hallucinogens to the recreational drug market did not happen until the early part of this century, despite hallucinogenic mushrooms having grown in this land for thousands of years. This suggests to me that contrary to modern contextual usage hallucinations were not considered to be "pleasurable" by those who had experienced them in the context of accidental ingestion and it was not something they would choose to repeat.

I guess there is potential for his interest in mysticism to be some sort of link to South American traditions where, at his time, the deliberate consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms was taking place in a spiritual context, however, this seems tenuous to me. Brucedenney (talk) 10:30, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Church Mouse[edit]

I've noted a massive amount of reliable word/etymology sites reference the 'Church Mouse' as "A fictional character created by Lewis Carroll" yet none reference in what book/poem it appears. I have been unable to find where this character appears. I am beginning to wonder if this is some massive repeated mistake or possibly that the Dormouse in Alice has been altered to a 'Church Mouse' possibly for the american film market. In which case its not a character created by Carroll. Does anyone have any idea about this.. I'm certainly willing to bow to superior knowledge.--MRNasher (talk) 18:50, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

'The Carroll Myth' NPOV[edit]

Note that this section makes only glancing (at best) mention of Leach's argument for Carroll being sexually experienced and/or active. (As written, the article equivocates. Leach does not.) The Leach controversy does not simply centre around the 'cut pages' document; it is also her highly speculative version of Carroll's sex life, which according to Cohen, Rackin, etc. is completely contrary to evidence. Include Cohen's and Rackin's denunciations of her, as well as the praise contained in the Leach article. -- (talk) 06:33, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I would also note that while this section goes into some detail describing some of Lebailly's and Leach's arguments for the myth, it only mentions Cohen's and Gardner's repudiation of it without citing any actual arguments, which leaves the impression that they poo-pooed the idea without much basis. I'm not familiar with their criticisms of the myth, and so I cannot attest to whether they made any actual arguments, however if they did, they should be described in equivalent detail to that used for the pro-myth, or if not, that should be explicitly noted. --Ericjs (talk) 23:00, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Is 'The Carroll Myth' about Lewis Carroll, or is it about the scholarship about Lewis Carroll, or perhaps about the reaction of the Corrollian community to Leach herself? It seems to me to be a secondary issue. Should it be on a page about Lewis Carroll, or on the page for Karoline Leach? There is information in the "Myth" paragraph and that information is about the rumors of pedophilia, which is discussed in a paragraph below. So the informative discussion should go into the paragraph on pedophilia. Perhaps the "he said, she said" comments should go somewhere else. RayKiddy (talk) 17:58, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

I've just read the whole article of Carroll, and came here to say the fact that the 'Carroll Myth' entry comes BEFORE the entry regarding Carroll's possible paedophilia messes up the 'flow' of the controversies section: the Carroll Myth hinges on the idea that Carroll was a paedophile, and makes the assumption that the reader already is familiar with the allegations. It doesn't make sense for the paedophile part to come AFTER the 'maybe not a paedophile' part. That being the case, can someone who isn't an anonymous (like me) change the order of the two so that they flow into each other, or at least re-word the beginning of the 'Carroll Myth' so that it makes the question of his paedophilia clearer in regards to the stance of the de-bunkers?

thanks (talk) 21:41, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks to all![edit]

Thank you to all the people who have written about Lewis Carroll. I am saying thanks on behalf of my great great great (etc) Uncle. who in fact was Charles himself. So thank you all for contributing to his page. And if you don't believe me thats your choice. But guess what I am. Thanks again


'sorely needed rebuttals'[edit]

Addressed (mainly but not solely) to the person responsible for the recent edit, who prefers to remain a number rather than a free man:

1) Just for the record, rebuttal means producing evidence to the contrary. Even if Cohen, Gardner or Rackin actually provided genuine rebuttal rather than misrepresentation and abuse - which none of them do - I'm afraid that merely stating here that they disagree with Leach doesn't as such prove her wrong.

2) The material you've reinstated has already appeared at this entry for a long time, accompanied by a brief account of the more positive responses to Leach's work (which you very even-handedly decided were not so sorely needed); the whole section was moved, not through some dastardly pro-Leach conspiracy, but in response to a general view that, as the material was not directly about Dodgson, the new location was more appropriate. Personally I still hold this view and see no need for any of the material to be reproduced anywhere but Leach's own page; but if the negative reviews belong on both pages, surely the positive ones do too?Mikeindex (talk) 20:22, 26 July 2009 (UTC)


I noticed some dead links in Lewis Carroll.

I first manually archived the Harry Ransom Center search results page here using WebCite because Checklinks was reporting error 404 (page not found), even though I could access the page. I did this in case a later bot (or human) decides to mark it as dead when it isn't.

I then ran the User:Dispenser/Checklinks tool which tagged four dead links.

These dead links are to the domain, which appears to have become expired (they now redirect to sedoparking), but there is no archived copy in the Internet Archive ( nor in WebCite. However, may have made a copy in the last six months and will not show the unregistered user until six months later. I vaguely remember reading those pages at that domain. I instructed Checklinks to mark them as "dead links with history".

It's likely too late now for these, but using {{cite web}} for inline citations should help stave off this linkrot problem in future.

Lastly, I clicked Checklink's experimental "CiteWeb - Archive this link" button on all the external links, but I think it takes at least 48 hours to take effect.

The current link status can be found: here.

I hope this helps. -84user (talk) 18:20, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

old photographs[edit]

There are four old images concerning Lewis Carroll at that are not available on Wikimedia Commons. Two are portraits of him, one is a sketch of him sitting in his room and the fourth is a 1909 copyrighted photograph of his Oxford study. In case anyone wants to research further, those which are in the public domain could be uploaded. -84user (talk) 09:35, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Three-valued logic[edit]

Back in July, someone deleted this from the article because "The uncited claim about three-valued logic seems OR (and dubious) to me."

  • It does contain an extremely concise account of three-valued logic when Bruno counts "about a thousand and four" pigs because he is certain about the four but estimates the remainder. In three-valued logic, unknown plus four = unknown (see Null (SQL)).

This idea came from one of the numerous commentaries on Carroll's work, I just can't remember which one. Can anyone verify it? GeorgeMacro (talk) 10:45, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

It is arguable that Bruno's statements and Sylvie's response to him relate to an example of three-valued logic, but by no stretch of the imagination does Carroll's text contain an account of three-valued logic. If some (unspecified) commentator has commented on this passage as an account of three-valued logic then that may or may not be a notable fact about that commentator, but it is too far removed from Carroll to be meaningfully regarded as a notable fact about Carroll. In any case it is a total misrepresentation to claim that Sylvie and Bruno actually contains an account of three-valued logic. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:44, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Carrolls other works[edit]

I think for informations sake there should be articles on his 'Three Sunsets', 'Tangled Tale' and other poems in 'Ryhme? Reason?'. Three sunsets and 'Rhyme Reason' poems appear to give a fresh look on Carroll with his lampooning or critising of the upper classes (example are 'Hiawathas photographs' and 'Fames penny trumpet' respectivly')in his 'Rhyme? Reason?' whilst in 'Three Sunsets' It seems to be a poigniant look on lost love, regret, and lost innocence.

Sinse I'm not really good at article making, may I ask the creation of these pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Relations with females[edit]

Let's broaden the "pedophilia speculation" section to describe all Carroll's relationships with the opposite sex. I've found a number of online sources which suggest that Carroll had friendships with teenage girls and women - not just little girls. He also called some women as old as 25 'child friends'.

Add some perspective on the Victorian cult of the child (?) which regarded children as the apotheosis of purity. How many other photographers were taking nude pictures of children? Were they also suspected of pedophilia or what?

Add some more perspective on how a man could be alone with little girls and no one would worry about anything (pedophilia being a non-issue in Victorian England), but that a man alone with a female 17 to 25 would ruin her reputation, i.e., she'd never be able to marry. Talk about Chaperonage. For example, when one of the Liddell daughters became too old, her mother began to insist on a chaperone for her.

Add a timeline of the shifting biographer viewpoints. Who started the rumor of "stammered around women, but could be at ease with girls"? Who drew conclusions from the "missing pages" (already in the article, but needs fleshing out)?

Do we need to remind readers that Charles Dodgson (before his pen name became famous) had joined a college which required some kind of holy orders along with celibacy?

Perhaps, along with this broadening of perspective we could write about his social relationships in general. Apparently he had a wide number of acquaintances and even traveled to visit famous authors (mainly male I think). He knew dozens, if not hundreds of married couples and was friendly with both the husband and wife.

A personal note (possible indicating my own bias, which I hope I can keep in check): Is it any wonder that a celibate intellectual, who found in children a purity of mind and who loved teaching (but disliked rough horseplay) and who had the sort of vivid imagination to write a children's book that would appeal to girls would be delighted to be in their company and write them letters filled with puns and logic problems? --Uncle Ed (talk) 12:52, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree with your general view, but I'm sure you are aware that per WP:NOR and WP:V we have to find reliable secondary sources and report what they say. We should not add selected statements from primary sources for balance (i.e. we should not select such statements). Johnuniq (talk) 05:22, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

the Carroll Myth[edit]

I've reinstated this as the first subsection of the 'controversies' section. Since it's the most 'controversial' and hotly debated aspect of Carroll's bio at the moment it hardly seems justifiable not to give it its own subsection. Putting the content inside the 'paedophilia' subsection doesn't seem appropriate as the 'myth' covers a much wider area than just this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Jenny Woolf's book and the migraine thing[edit]

Jenny Woolf is worried shes been trolled on account someone removed her comment in the 'migraine' section pertaning to her book. Shes just put the section back, so shd anyone take it out again can u give reasons and assure her she is not being victimized? She is saying an 'anonymous person' did it, which is not true on inspection. XXanthippe removed it for 'repetition', but the l ady is thinkling she is being trolled so thought I'd put this comment out.--JedOrianus (talk) 20:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

For some time, additions to this article have been made by Jennywoolf. The additions refer to the book The Mystery of Lewis Carroll by Jenny Woolf who appears to be the editor in question. The additions include a web address where the book can be purchased. The issue of COI has been raised previously with the user on her talk page by an administrator but the user has continued to add these edits and references to the views of the author. It may in the interests of NPOV if the decision on whether these edits are suitable for the article be made by editors other than Jennywoolf. I have attempted to remove most of the edits, and leave it to other editors to reinsert them if they find this is appropriate. Xxanthippe (talk) 08:04, 31 August 2010 (UTC).
Check out the FB page for Jenny Woolf's book - she thinks you're part of a clique trying to trash her. Tried to explain. But no good. Paranoid City.--JedOrianus (talk) 01:21, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, but no thanks. I don't intend to go anywhere near Facebook with its atrocious reputation for privacy. She can always discuss the matter on this talk page which, after all, is what it exists for. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:01, 1 September 2010 (UTC).


'Hagiography' seems a pretty extreme way to describe a comment like 'wide-ranging', but I trust my rewording will be acceptably moderate. I've also removed the attacks on Leach by senior American Carrollians as a) they are about Leach rather than Carroll (and duly appear on her own page), and b) if they do belong on this page then so do the positive reviews. (See topic 'sorely needed rebuttals' above) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikeindex (talkcontribs) 15:17, 19 November 2010 (UTC) @John (clearly a fast reader) - and anyone else who feels disposed to revert my recent edits - I have no wish to get involved in some stupid wiki-war. Perhaps some debate might be fruitful? To explain those edits I didn't go into (and should have), 1)It seems inappropriate to state as fact 'Dodgson was ... conservative' when, while some believe this, others do not - and can indeed produce evidence to back them up. Surely fairer to say it like it is, i.e. generally held opinion? 2) It's silly to have to say that 'Leach asserts' stuff is in the diaries and letters, when it quite clearly is there for anyone to see, they're published after all. If it's not there, anyone can prove her wrong, and if it is, it's there as a matter of fact not assertion - so clearly this line should be either more positively worded or not there at all. My other edits are explained in my previous post. I'm perfectly happy to reach a compromise solution and have cut the parenthesis casting implied doubt on W. Tuckwell's bona fides, and that suggesting Karoline Leach ever wrote about anything but sex (in case this counts as hagiography). I've also reinstated one sentence I cut completely by accident in the first place (oops). If anyone finds any of this objectionable, or indeed debatable, I would really appreciate being able to debate the point rather than play draughts with it.Mikeindex (talk) 17:40, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Carroll scholars may be needed at Commons[edit]

Because a set of photographs by Carroll have been nominated for deletion at Commons, it would be helpful if experts could mention relevant publications dated before 2002 (my guess only) that include the photographs in question. Please see Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Photographs by Lewis Carroll if you can help. -84user (talk) 19:58, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Update: the nomination discussion at Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Photographs by Lewis Carroll was closed with the result of deleting the listed images. Nevertheless, if anyone finds any evidence that any of the deleted images was published before 2002 (or otherwise became freely licensed), please ask an administrator to consider undeletion at Commons:Commons:Undeletion requests. -84user (talk) 09:01, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

I've notified an administrator that many photographs of Xie Kitchin taken by Lewis Carroll were published in 1980 by the Lewis Carroll Society and the Argosy Book Store, New York, in LEWIS CARROLL & THE KITCHINS, with a forward by Morton Cohen. This would seem to affect the copyright granted in 2002 and allow them to be published here. (talk) 04:02, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing that 1980 book to the administrator's attention. Your note and his reply are at Commons:User talk:Jameslwoodward/Archive3#Lewis Carroll photographs, unfortunately it appears such books would need to have been published before 1989 without notice and without registration (it's actually more complicated than that, see File:PD-US table.svg). -84user (talk) 19:54, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Carroll's infinitesimals[edit]

Carroll has apparently has done work on infinitesimals and hyperbolic geometry. Abeles wrote a paper about this. Is anyone familiar with this? Tkuvho (talk) 15:39, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I reverted two recent edits by, mainly because they accidentally injected some junk into the article. However, they raise two good points. In the infobox, the occupation needs "Novelist" or "Author" removed, and it looks rather over-linked to me. Following is the current, then a proposed occupation:

Novelist Author, mathematician, Anglican clergyman, photographer
Novelist, mathematician, Anglican clergyman, photographer

The second point is "pseudonym" in the lead. Following is the current text, then a proposal:

better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll
better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll

Any thoughts? Johnuniq (talk) 10:32, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

book on his photography and relationship with Liddell family[edit]

The Alice Behind Wonderland[2] --Javaweb (talk) 05:07, 24 April 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Which Sources To Use As References?[edit]

It seems to me that this page can be improved by ensuring that the proper sources are cited. There are many biographies of Carroll to choose from. If something is stated which is in a biography published over 50 years ago, is there a reason to use a more recent biography which does not dispute or add any information on the statement? It seems to me that we could use the oldest biography which make some statement as a reference for it. If something is cited in a more recent biography, it should only be cited there because that is the oldest biography which makes that particular point. If this was done, it would be clear which sources had new information and new perspectives and it would be clear what that new information is. Using a new biography to cite old information gives it undue prominence and suggests it is more authoritative than it may be.

I have a copy of the 1898 edition of the Collingwood biography. I feel that anything that is in that biography should be cited from that biography and not from something later. Would anyone object to changes to references so that they reflect an earlier source making the same statement? RayKiddy (talk) 17:23, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

There is a problem because people will differ in their opinions of whether the newer biography adds new material or perspectives. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:45, 27 October 2011 (UTC).
If some fact is posited first in a book published in 1898 and in a book published after 2000, doesn't the first source have priority? If the second source has new material or a different perspective, then would it not be correct to cite the second source when discussing the new material or the different perspective, and not when providing a source for the original fact? — Preceding unsigned comment added by RayKiddy (talkcontribs) 21:16, 30 September 2012 (UTC)


Work as Mathematical Lecturer[edit]

In the sentence Many of his pupils were older and richer than he was, and almost all of them were uninterested I removed the phrase "older and" since it seems implausible: he was Lecturer until the age of 50, and I doubt that, for most of that time, his students would have been much older than their early twenties. That has now been restored on the grounds that it is "Quite plausible. he held the job for 26 years." I don't understand that logic. However, more pertinently, this whole paragraph is sourced to Leach, Karoline In the Shadow of the Dreamchild Ch. 2. (no page number) and Google Books shows no hits for any of the words "Mathematical", "Lecturer" or "Tutor". So I dispute this phrase and suggest that the citation is inappropriate. Is there a better source? Cusop Dingle (talk) 07:28, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Why not leave the whole sentence out? It doesn't contribute much. Xxanthippe (talk) 09:41, 6 November 2011 (UTC).
OK. Cohen and Collingwood both have something on this, which I'll add in some time. Cusop Dingle (talk) 13:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


I have removed a sentence he based the entirety of his last novel, the two-volume Sylvie and Bruno, on certain aspects of Theosophy which is cited to the Preface of Sylvie and Bruno. There is no support for the assertion there, and indeed the reference by Susina which I have just added explicitly states that Carroll was not a Theosophist. Cusop Dingle (talk) 21:43, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Removed photo[edit]

I removed a picture from the article because I felt it wasn't needed. The text makes it clear that Dodgson took nude photos of young girls, I don't see what adding an image does to enhance that section of the article. (talk) 13:33, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not censored. However, before reinstating the image, we need to see verification from a reliable source that it was indeed taken by Lewis Carroll. Only then do we need to discuss whether it is relevant to this article. Cusop Dingle (talk) 16:39, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Source contains fake material[edit]

Source 44:

This google page does not contain photographs, it contains original artwork; painted photographs. I believe the technique is to paint on top of the photographic image and then add a 'fantasy' background. The first image is of Beatrix Hatch which was painted (or painted over) by artist Anne Lydia Bond. This is a well known and authentic image. The other images were allegedly published in a book by a biographer of Carroll's called Morton N. Cohen. It is difficult to authenticate these paintings or prove that they were based on images by Carroll, but perhaps that is not down to us (that would be original research - our task surely is just to provide a reliable source?) However, the source should perhaps be the book by Cohen, not this web-page which refers to Cohen second hand?

The image at the bottom of the page, 'alice and carroll' is DEFINITELY a fake, lashed together in some photo manipulation software. Look closely and it is obvious. If anyone doubts this I can probably provide links to the two separate photographs that have been added together. The very fact that this page contains obviously fake material makes me suspicious of it's reliability as a source and I think it should be removed. SAHBfan (talk) 10:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I had noticed the obvious fake sixth image and wondered myself about that page. I've accordingly added {{Citation needed}} and {{Verify credibility}} to the statement affected. -84user (talk) 23:52, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I have boldly removed the assertions and the citation. A personal website is not normally considered a reliable source. Cusop Dingle (talk) 15:26, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I endorse this removal. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:49, 23 February 2012 (UTC).

Place of burial?[edit]

I was surprised by the statement that his place of burial is in in Guildford as I clearly recall visiting a churchyard in Oxford which had a gravestone for him. Can anyone shed some light on this matter? Afterwriting (talk) 15:58, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

 See  they claim he is interred there, someone is mistaken.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 12 May 2012 (UTC) 


Do we know these are original? [5] describes a cipher supposedly invented by Lewis Carroll, but it's just a Vigenère cipher. Does anyone have the source handy to check what these are. The cipher might itself be notable if it was any good... --Philipwhiuk (talk) 14:31, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Was Carroll a paedophile, pt 94[edit]

I see we have what appear to be a succession of sock puppets adding a section on this. It doesn't belong here; the sourcing is weak and society's attitudes have changed since his day. --John (talk) 16:39, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Im not a suck puppet, and it certainly belongs to the section "controversies and myths". Why is there is a section for the "carroll myth" anyway? Why Leach goes uncontested?

Leach writing have an origin. If there werent any suggestion that he was a paedophile, why the need of refuting that "myth" anyway? Its senseless. Representing only Leach's side of the matter is highly NO NPOV, and completely ignoring the suggestions that are its origin doesnt make any sense.

You are basically saying "Carroll myth is false"... But what "carroll myth" to begin with? That needs to be explained. Only showing the opinion that he was not a pedophile does not contribute to a whole understanding of the great man Lewis Caroll was and completely ignores Cohen's opinnions on the matter, which I find extremely more educated than Leach's personal resentment. Cohen is a serious scholar on Carroll, Leach is just a writer with personal motives.

and society's attitudes have changed since his day.

That has nothing to with anything. --Johnmoss23 (talk) 16:53, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Well, ok, you've had your say. I disagree and seemingly so do multiple editors who have removed this. --John (talk) 17:57, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

What is the "annoyance at night"?[edit]

The article currently says:

In 1846, young Dodgson moved on to Rugby School, where he was evidently less happy, for as he wrote some years after leaving the place:

I cannot say ... that any earthly considerations would induce me to go through my three years again ... I can honestly say that if I could have been ... secure from annoyance at night, the hardships of the daily life would have been comparative trifles to bear.

The reference given is: Collingwood, Stuart (1898). The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll. London: T. Fisher Unwin. pp. 30–31.  What does it mean by "annoyance at night"? Bullying? Bedbugs? Fear of the dark? Loneliness? Noises? Whoever added that quote probably has enough context to elaborate? Otherwise this is a strange quote to put here. Shreevatsa (talk) 07:42, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

If Carroll was not more specific he may have had had his reasons. Xxanthippe (talk) 10:54, 17 August 2013 (UTC).
Is it clear that Carroll was not more specific? Did whoever added that quote to the article read the preceding letters; perhaps there is some previous context that Carroll assumed at that point? Or is it just as vague even in the original? Whom did he write this letter to, BTW? Shreevatsa (talk) 15:00, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland faced lots of controversies in China.His book was banned because talking animals were considered an insult to humans.Shrees1234 (talk) 15:01, 23 September 2013 (UTC)


The Oxford dictionary mentions 21 words introduced by Lewis Caroll.Shrees1234 (talk) 15:01, 23 September 2013 (UTC)


Is it appropriate to spell "pedophile" with an "a" in a formal, Wikipedia setting? Isn't that just informal British vernacular? - Mdriver1981 (talk) 11:22, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

On the contrary, it is the standard British-English spelling, which has primacy on this page. Nick Cooper (talk) 13:50, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Unreferenced "seems to make it highly probable" sentence, Pedophilia subsection, moved here, etc[edit]

I came here for background on the Hunting of the Snark, and was so appalled by this section, that I have now spent hours going over it. Here is the sentence moved:

"However, there has never been significant evidence to support the idea,[citation needed] and the 1996 discovery of the "cut pages in diary document" (see below) seems to make it highly probable that the 1863 "break" had nothing to do with Alice, but was perhaps connected with rumours involving her older sister Lorina (born 11 May 1849,[clarification needed][speculation?][citation needed] so she would have been 14 at the time), her governess, or her mother (who was also nicknamed "Ina").[citation needed]"

Given the sorry state of this whole section with regard to sourcing of content, I would rather leave this sentence in place—because it balances an apparent modern impugning of a literary figure based on a single provided source. [The section may indeed belong, and its length may indeed be justified, but not based on the single clear source (other sources mentioned, but not even example page numbers given for any), and not the way it is currently written.]

This sentence was removed because it was simply awful from an encyclopedic POV, and unforgivable from any standpoint of public presentation—given the complete dearth of referencing throughout its several parts, the opening bold assertion of a negative, the "seems to make it highly probable" equivocating, the unreferenced and unexplained allusion to further outside evidence, the additional "but was perhaps" equivocation, and the near completely incomprehensible closing phrases.

It is moved here, to Talk, until it can be made encyclopedic (and understandable), but also, verifiable; the only other feasible option was its deletion, or leaving it in place a myriad of tags such as are shown in it here.

In addition, tags have been placed throughout this section, indicating places where there might be a need for either improved or first sources.

Note, finally, as I said at the Liddell article, in the LC section, these are important matters, controversial matters, about which I have no firm opinion; it is simply crucial that they be properly verifiable, and clearly stated. Best of fortune getting this in order. It has all the makings of a first-class article, if the matter of this controversy can be carefully, thoughtfully, and verifiably resolved. Cheers, Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 07:24, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

In re added tags[edit]

I added the cleanup and other tags. The problem stated through the tags are self-explanatory. Also, (i) see the preceding section on the pedophilia section issues, (ii) see the newly appearing inline citations for some of the many text issues spread out throughout the article, (iii) see the Thomas Cranmer article, for an example of a well referenced historical article with a consistent style of referencing, and see this Help page for the "rp" style of citing the same reference repeatedly when difference page numbers are in play, without having to have the reference appear repeatedly in the reference list ([6]). I recommend a move to either the style illustrated at the Cranmer article, at least, or the "rp" reference style, which appears thus (where the 5 and 6 refer to page numbers, see markup via Edit):

The brontosaurus is thin at one end.[1]:5 Then it becomes much thicker in the middle.[1]:6

  1. ^ a b Elk, Anne (November 16, 1972). Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses. 

Note, the greatest issues are content and verifiability. The style of referencing comes into play because when the style is so unsophisticated and variable, it makes it difficult for one to quickly assess whether citations are valid, whether there is an over-reliance on a particular source, etc. (With a consistent reference style, much information about the article's sourcing is taken in at a glance.)

Again, look at these alternatives, and see the inline tags, before considering removal of the article tags. (I will ask Administrative involvement if there is rapid reversion without Talk.) (an article fan) Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 07:24, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

A Way Out Of This Mess?[edit]

Looking at the recent Featured Article, Empress Matilda, I see an article with many in-line citations. Further, there is not much you can say about that Mathilda's time period that we are completely sure about. So, then looking at the citations for this article, the things we have done to this article are embarrassing. Some things I notice:

  1. Its bibliography is called a bibliography.
  2. The in-line cites are all using the "Harvnb" template, and it certainly seems to do the job better than the randomly incomplete references on the LC page.
  3. The "Harvnb" format seems to handle the "many cites from one source in different pages" situation very well.
  4. They actually put some of the "maybe this, maybe that, maybe not" discussions into the Notes. Wow. Just ... wow.

Well, I am going to make sure that the Bibliography at the bottom of the LC page contains all the sources that should be in it from the citations now in the article. Then we can start to change the references' form to that of the Harvnb template. Perhaps this will allow things to move forward. RayKiddy (talk) 22:15, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Want to help here[edit]

I am no specialist in Carroll, but I have a dilettante's knowledge, and close access to my college's decent library on the subject. I'd love to make myself useful, but as the tag on the top of the article notes that this article already has big issues, I don't want to make more of a hash of it than it already is. I'd love to be pointed in a proper direction as far as how I can best assist in fixing this article. Hallward's Ghost (talk) 04:24, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Welcome—please do whatever you want! If people don't like it, they will let you know soon enough! I am a fan of Dodgson but won't be much help with details as it is years since I read a couple of bios on him. However, I can help with advice about anything you encounter (and I will offer an answer to your question at the teahouse). Johnuniq (talk) 06:42, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for all your help so far. I'm not sure if I'll start here or with some other article, but I'll go ahead and start working on something after today. Thanksgiving is upon us here in the states! Hallward's Ghost (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 15:04, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

New biography[edit]

Lewis Carroll: The Man and His Circle by Edward Wakeling (I.B. Tauris, distributed by Palgrave Macmillan) "Draws on previously unpublished and newly discovered letters in a biography of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) that focuses on his friends, associates, and acquaintances in artistic, academic, publishing, royal, and other realms." per Chronicle of Higher Education Jodi.a.schneider (talk) 18:33, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Does it say how he pronounced his name? Myrvin (talk) 18:45, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I couldn't find a mention in the Google book. Myrvin (talk) 18:57, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

scurrilous psychobabble[edit]

The page currently contains the following material:

Speculation on Dodgson's sexuality[edit] Dodgson's nephew and biographer Stuart Dodgson Collingwood wrote: And now as to the secondary causes which attracted him to children. First, I think children appealed to him because he was pre-eminently a teacher, and he saw in their unspoiled minds the best material for him to work upon. In later years one of his favourite recreations was to lecture at schools on logic; he used to give personal attention to each of his pupils, and one can well imagine with what eager anticipation the children would have looked forward to the visits of a schoolmaster who knew how to make even the dullest subjects interesting and amusing.[73] Despite comments like this, and the fact that his pictures of children were taken with a parent in attendance (many in the Liddell garden),[39] modern psychological interpretations of Dodgson's friendships with young girls and of his related work—especially his photographs of nude or semi-nude girls—have led some late twentieth century biographers to speculate that he was a paedophile, including Morton N. Cohen in his Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1995),[74] Donald Thomas in his Lewis Carroll: A Portrait with Background (1995), and Michael Bakewell in his Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1996). All of these works more or less assume that Dodgson was a paedophile, albeit a repressed and celibate one.[page needed] Cohen, in particular, claims Dodgson's "sexual energies sought unconventional outlets", and further writes: We cannot know to what extent sexual urges lay behind Charles's preference for drawing and photographing children in the nude. He contended the preference was entirely aesthetic. But given his emotional attachment to children as well as his aesthetic appreciation of their forms, his assertion that his interest was strictly artistic is naïve. He probably felt more than he dared acknowledge, even to himself.[page needed] Cohen goes on to note that Dodgson "apparently convinced many of his friends that his attachment to the nude female child form was free of any eroticism", but adds that "later generations look beneath the surface" (p. 229). He and other biographers[who?] argue that Dodgson may have wanted to marry the 11-year-old Alice Liddell, and that this was the cause of the unexplained "break" with the family in June 1863,[26] an event for which other explanations are offered. Biographers Derek Hudson and Roger Lancelyn Green (Green also having edited Dodgson's diaries and papers) stop short of identifying Dodgson as a paedophile, but concur that he had a passion for small female children and next to no interest in the adult world; in the last ten years[dated info] several other writers and scholars have challenged the evidentiary basis for Cohen's and others' speculations regarding this interest of Dodgson. In addition to the biographical works that have drawn the foregoing conclusion, there are modern artistic interpretations of his life and work that do so as well, in particular, Dennis Potter in his play Alice and his screenplay for the motion picture Dreamchild, and Robert Wilson in his film Alice. In a 2015 BBC programme The Secret World of Lewis Carroll experts indicated their belief that a photograph of a naked teenage girl, was the oldest Liddell girl Lorina, and was the work of Dodgson. The programme speculated that this was the possible cause of the break in the relationship between him and the Liddell family. Will Self in the same programme called Dodgson 'a heavily repressed paedophile. Without a doubt.' [75][76]

Note the abundance of footnotes. How much of this should be retained? Tkuvho (talk) 09:25, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

It is nonsense. Without a doubt. I would be inclined to remove the lot; anything WP:DUE which Will Self thinks can be on his page, but I see no reason to tell readers of this article about all the speculation—the only accurate statement that is useful here is "We cannot know to what extent sexual urges lay behind...". However, the "Controversies and mysteries" section needs to be treated as a whole and what is needed is someone who has seriously studied the topic to redo the lot. Johnuniq (talk) 10:05, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. I think the phrase He probably felt more than he dared acknowledge, even to himself is typical, as far as verifiability and notability are concerned. Tkuvho (talk) 10:10, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
This has all happened much too quickly. The fact that there are several citations is a reason to keep this material, not a reason to delete it all. The text should be put back and more time allowed for discussion. Myrvin (talk) 10:33, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I have asked for contributions on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Children's literature and Talk:Pedophilia. Myrvin (talk) 10:41, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I think the BBC source in particular is not good, roughly in line with "mysteries of the pyramids" kind of programming. Overall, that subsection seems like a sort of he-said she-said OR by SYNTH. It should go. Sławomir Biały (talk) 12:04, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
The BBC material may be trivia, but the controversy over Carroll's sexuality is very notable. All modern biographies discuss it, and Morton N. Cohen's biography in particular is regarded as the standard work on Carroll.[7] KateWishing (talk) 13:09, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
What User:KateWishing writes about notability may or may not be true, but in any case there is already one section discussing this, namely the one preceding the section I deleted. Tkuvho (talk) 13:19, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
FWIW see a somewhat similar situation, Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell#Sexuality, and also Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sexuality of Robert Baden-Powell (4th nomination) -- there was an entire article about this which was only deleted on the fourth try. And that's for someone who was on record as abhorring homosexuality and was married with three children... I'm not in favor of speculating that Baden-Powell was gay, but if his biographers say he was, are you gonna ignore that? And Carroll's situation is a lot more sketchy... If "Morton N. Cohen in his Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1995),[74] Donald Thomas in his Lewis Carroll: A Portrait with Background (1995), and Michael Bakewell in his Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1996). All of these works more or less assume that Dodgson was a paedophile, albeit a repressed and celibate one" is true, you certainly have to give that a lot weight even if they're dead wrong, since they're his biographers. Herostratus (talk) 13:32, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
That section only covers the revisionist point-of-view. They should be merged, rather than one deleted. Will Brooker's book Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture should also be used. It has a balanced overview of the debate that's critical of overreaching by both sides. I might clean it up myself later. KateWishing (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 13:34, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Contrary to what User:Herostratus claims above through the comparison with Robert Baden-Powell, Cohen's biography which is considered the standard biography of Carroll notes that We cannot know to what extent sexual urges lay behind Charles's preference for drawing and photographing children in the nude. He contended that the preference was entirely aesthetic. But given his emotional attachment to children as well as his aesthetic appreciation of their forms, his assertion that his interest was strictly artistic is naïve. He probably felt more than he dared acknowledge, even to himself. These comments by Cohen, combined with the fact that the photographs and paintings in question involved specifically girls (rather than boys), tend to indicate that the biographer felt that Carroll was heterosexual. Furthermore, his biographer Cohen does not employ any of the explicit terms that infest our page. To the extent he acknowledges that Carroll was celibate, copious speculations about this certainly fall under the category of "scurrilous psychobabble" and should be either eliminated altogether or minimized as far as possible. Tkuvho (talk) 13:53, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
We have no policy against "scurrilous psychobabble". We summarize the viewpoints of significant sources. Cohen et al. are (very) significant. The inclusion of only the revisionists without any mention of more mainstream biographers is WP:UNDUE. Also, Herostratus was not suggesting that Carroll was gay. KateWishing (talk) 14:18, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I think someone should consult Cohen to see what he says in the broader context (there are no Google previews, so someone will have to visit a library :-) The section of interest strikes me as possibly having been quote-mined to push an agenda (possibly inspired by the recent BBC feature of dubious provenance). Anything beginning with "Despite comments like this..." is likely to be OR. Let's stick to reliable secondary sources, and leave speculation out of the matter. Sławomir Biały (talk) 15:07, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I've read Cohen. The quote is representative, and his discussion of the possibility is extensive. Cohen itself is a reliable secondary source, but our use of the Collingwood quote and the "Despite..." line do seem like WP:SYNTH. KateWishing (talk) 15:31, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So I think possibly Cohen's view could be restored, even moved further up into the section. Sławomir Biały (talk) 16:42, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

That comment by Cohen could be included though I find Cohen's conviction that he (Cohen) knows "more than he [Carroll] dared acknowledge, even to himself" quite hilarious. Tkuvho (talk) 16:51, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
It is and it isn't. There is something to the saying that we never see ourselves as well as others do. Certainly the phenomena of knowing something about a friend that he doesn't is not unknown. And Cohen has studied the matter to some depth I gather.
(edit conflict)Was not suggesting Carroll was gay, just pointing to another situation where a person's sexuality was brought up absent any actual activity and how we handled that. There are various "Sexuality of..." articles, e.g. Sexuality of Abraham Lincoln, Sexuality of William Shakespeare and what have you based on (what I assume is) pretty sketchy eviddence, so if Lewis Carroll doesn't have such an article, or an equivalent highly developed section in his bio, it's that that would be the outlier.
However, for my part, I'm skeptical that Sexuality of William Shakespeare has much to offer the reader beyond rank speculation since we basically know nothing about him, and so on. @KateWishing, we don't have a policy against scurrilous psychobabble, but come on. In addition to being editors we are (I hope) reasonable human beings, and can see that there's little benefit to the reader in going overboard on rang speculation or helping her form an impression that's not true. It's hard enough to know and relate what did happen in history without getting into what people might or might not have been thinking. And we certainly wouldn't look kindly on this for a BLP, and while Carroll is dead now, I hope we're not looking thru the obits to find articles about which can say "Oh, she's dead now, let the rank speculation begin!"
Not saying the situation isn't notable enough to be addressed, but for my part I'd 1) go as light on it as can reasonably be done and 2) make it entirely clear that it's speculative. Herostratus (talk) 17:03, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Please User:Herostratus see WP:OTHER. Tkuvho (talk) 17:11, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
the title for this section you've chosen is evidence you have come not to 'discuss' at all but to insist the text you don't like be removed. but RS discuss this 'psychobabble' so that's what counts. Sayerslle (talk) 18:05, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Can we please attempt to keep this relatively professional? Yes, Dodgon's sexuality is a topic of some major interest in reliable sources. The BBC report is not one of those sources, and certainly not some cherry-picked juicy quote from Will Self. (Why should we even care what he has to say about it??) We need to rise above this kind of tabloid trivia. We aren't here to give every celebrity with an opinion equal airtime: we'll leave that to the BBC. In the mean time, we have our own reliable sources at hand that need summarizing. Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:46, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

it wasn't a 'report' exactly - to say the BBC documentary that featured experts and biographers is not a RS - wtf? 'tabloid trivia'? it was a well researched BBC documentary - your pompous remark only reveals you haven't watched it really - I dunno, bloody 'highbrows' Sayerslle (talk) 20:25, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Why do we not remove all the speculation and just say "Dodgson made many photographs and drawings of female children in the nude.". Leave it at that. JRSpriggs (talk) 07:49, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

why not write 'Dodgson wrote a few books and was good at numbers and stuff'. leave it at that. Sayerslle (talk) 12:16, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I second User:Sayerslle's description of the contested material as "tabloid trivia". I see enough support in this space to have the junk removed. Tkuvho (talk) 12:28, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
blimey , you don't agree with me - you made your open-ness to discussion abundantly evident from the title of this section you chose - I thought wp was meant to provide information but obviously not. If you added the information I should like to see added it would resemble much more the guardian I should think, something like that , than a red top. still what do Carroll biographers, various experts, and a writer like Will Self know, what does their info matter , compared to the anonymous wp mandarins around here. ffs. endlessly calling the BBC and its programme 'tabloid trivia' doesn't add weight to the assessment - have you watched the 'tabloid trivia' programme? of course you bleedin well haven't - why sully your mind with biographical content on the subject of the article from his biographers Sayerslle (talk) 13:27, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Calm down Sayerslle. I am also totally opposed to the suppression of RS evidence in favour of LC's paedophilia. General readers, who know something about his life, would expect to find a balanced and NPOV discussion of it. Just referring to one source who says it isn't so is not good enough, when there are many sources that suggest it is. The text as it stands seems reasonable to me as a basis. However, if we cannot agree, we could always ask for a neutral opinion. I have asked elsewhere on WT:RS for guidance on the inclusion of TV programmes, like the one mentioned, as an RS. There must be thousands of WP articles that do use TV programmes as sources. If we want further comment on the programme, we could use [8] or [9]. Myrvin (talk) 14:29, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I note that WP:RS says: "audio, video, and multimedia materials that have been recorded then broadcast, distributed, or archived by a reputable party may also meet the necessary criteria to be considered reliable sources. Like text sources, media sources must be produced by a reliable third party and be properly cited. Additionally, an archived copy of the media must exist. It is convenient, but by no means necessary, for the archived copy to be accessible via the Internet." Those against using the BBC programme as a source will have to argue that the BBC is not a "reputable party" - a tough job. Myrvin (talk) 14:43, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I am calm really Myrvin, honest, its just kind of odd to read 'I agree with you sayerslle, when you describe it as 'tabloid trivia' - when I have been arguing of course the exact opposite. What you quote from the RS advice would seem to wholly endorse as acceptable the use of the BBC programme. it doesn't really matter to me either way - I've seen the programme and it was interesting , and it offered a most plausible reason for the break in relations etc - I just don't see why certain other editors are so eager to denigrate the documentary -wp, as one is often reminded, is not about the TRUTH, but about what RS are saying about topics. Sayerslle (talk) 14:52, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
OK S. More RSs: [10] [11] [12]. Myrvin (talk) 15:11, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
yes, - that last one mentions 'breaths of scandal' - it seems to me the BBC programme was precisely the kind of RS to bring more light, to those breaths, kind of thing,- very poorly expressed - and suggested it was his interest in lorina more than alice that was one of those 'breaths of scandal' - Sayerslle (talk) 15:25, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Not very impressive. The first source is merely morbidly riffing on previous ones (e.g. Cohen). The second is an introduction to a book on John Ruskin, i.e. a passing reference to Carroll, rather than a primarily focus on him. In the third the use of "paedophile" is actually a reference to William Mayne and not Carroll. Did you actually bother to read these before presenting them as "proof"? Nick Cooper (talk) 15:25, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
no-one is talking about 'proof' I don't think. do you bother to read what people are writing at all? I'm saying the BBC programme is part of the RS conversation around Dodgson and to censor it with the excuse that it is 'tabloid trivia' is disingenuous. a documentary filled with experts and biographers etc is not 'tabloid trivia' is it, and as for the other RS I wrote that what they offer may be meager 'breaths of scandal ' - but that is what the BBC RS can elaborate Sayerslle (talk) 15:30, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
The speculations of pedophilia are adequately covered in the current version. Belaboring them would be inconsistent with WP:WEIGHT. Tkuvho (talk) 15:36, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
is the lorina photo discussed and that as possible reason for breach in relaions between liddell family and Dodgson? - wp is meant to provide intersting and informative RS material, no ? you titled this section 'scurrilous psychobabble' so really one already knew your opinion and the way you entered upon 'discussion' - it still needs wider discusiion whether interesting material is going against WEIGHT. Sayerslle (talk) 15:44, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I see that Lorina is discussed in detail in the "missing diaries" section. The photo you are referring to is apparently of uncertain authorship, as even some of the reviews acknowledge. I am not convinced the current coverage of this particular photo necessarily justifies its inclusion here. Possibly a few years from now if this material makes it into respectable biographies such inclusion may be justified. Tkuvho (talk) 15:52, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
well I wouldn't say that 'Lorina is discussed in detail' exactly but its the terrain that the BBC explored - I don't see why you think the BBC is not 'respectable' in some way . well, whatever, nevermind ...Sayerslle (talk) 16:00, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
There is a lot of venom here. My three references were all relevant and not meant to be one-sided - and I did read the relevant portions. 10 is a work 'On Paedophilia' castigating LC's photos as "abusive", "voyeuristic" and "seductive". 11 refers to Robson's linking of Ruskin and Carroll as "notorious girl lovers", but the author doesn't necessarily agree. 12 mentions Mayne at the bottom of the page, but asks "Are the 'Alice' books the works of an actual or incipient pedophile", and says his case has not been helped by the critics. The authors seem to be negative to the idea, but do mention 2 real psychoanalytical studies that are positive. I shouldn't be personally attacked for trying to help - and by an experienced editor too. Myrvin (talk) 18:02, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Anyway, we seem to be agreed that the present text is OK for now - mostly due to KateWishing I think. However, there is a serious disagreement about whether or not the BBC programme should be used as a RS. People should not simply be removing the text - that is edit warring. I think we should ask for a dispute resolution. Myrvin (talk) 18:55, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I added back the BBC sourced material but placed it in the 'missing diaries' section - I don't see why one has to wait for this material to reach 'respectable' sources , as Tkuvho argues , - the BBC is eminently respectable , long established, and the programme consulted experts in various fields and biographers, etc - it just seems like idontlikeit objections really. Sayerslle (talk) 19:50, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

Edit-warring and full protection[edit]

I have noticed, and become increasingly alarmed, at the slow edit-war that is gradually increasing in intensity and speed as the days go on. The rules about edit warring need not require 3 reverts for action to take place, and for some of you, action could already have been taken (the relevant quote is: "Even without a 3RR violation, an administrator may still act if they believe a user's behavior constitutes edit warring, and any user may report edit warring with or without 3RR being breached. The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times." I am not going to name names, but to prevent further disruption to the article, I have fully-protected it for one week. That should concentrate your minds to try harder to reach a negotiated solution, as you may have been doing in the section above. If at the end of the week, you have not, then I strongly suggest that you take steps along the route for mediation and dispute resoution available to you. Any attempt to re-start any slow edit war without agreement will probably have action taken against the perpetrators.  DDStretch  (talk) 03:45, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

User:ddstretch: Could we have the text about the BBC programme put back so that editors can easily see what we are arguing about? I think that this is the only leftover bone of contention. Myrvin (talk) 09:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that is a good idea. However, I think because the text is under dispute, it is better to place it on this talk page until some kind of resolution to the problem has been reached about whether to include it and where to include it. I know this won't satisfy some of you, but I do think it is better to keep it on here until the issues have been resolved. I will include it in the next section. Note, I do not intend to comment on the substance of the dispute. I hope that helps.  DDStretch  (talk) 10:04, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

BBC, RS, and the prurient interest[edit]

Concerning the BBC piece, the network is generally considered as an RS as far as political coverage is concerned. This does not give it an automatic entitlement to being cited on every subject, including items designed to boost circulation based on the prurient audience interest. If the BBC piece is deemed serious enough by scholars for inclusion in a respectable biography this might warrant inclusion here, but this will not be known immediately. Tkuvho (talk) 09:10, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

If that is meant to be WP policy, then I think it is made up. An RS is an RS. A 'respectable party' is what it says. We can't say it is OK when we agree with it, but it isn't when we don't. It is not sensible to wait for a TV programme to be quoted by respectable scholars before using it as a source, anymore than it would be for a newspaper article. Readers who have seen the programme will expect some mention here. Myrvin (talk) 09:24, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
If we are looking for balance here, we might use this [13]. Unless History Today isn't good enough. Myrvin (talk) 09:37, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Looking for the use of BBC documentaries in WP, I tried this [14]. You can see hundreds of articles that use BBC documentaries as sources. Of course, many are complete articles about a programme, but others are ordinary articles that cite a BBC documentary as a source. Myrvin (talk) 10:00, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I truly don't understand why people think the BBC is a reliable source for this. The above review in History Today more or less bears this out, stating that Dodgon's alleged paedophilia has little scholarly evidence, and that the show's producers had an obvious agenda. Let's chuck this one in the bin, along with Ancient Aliens and the rest of the infotainment masquerading as journalism. Sławomir Biały (talk) 13:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

As requested, here is the text that is under dispute:

In a 2015 BBC programme The Secret World of Lewis Carroll experts indicated their belief that a photograph of a naked teenage girl was the oldest Liddell girl Lorina, and was the work of Dodgson. The programme speculated that this was the possible cause of the break in the relationship between him and the Liddell family. [1][2]

Thank you.  DDStretch  (talk) 10:08, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

if you don't understand why people think the BBC is a reliable source for this you are re-writing the rules of RS basically. - nothing is a RS except for 'respectable biographies', whatever they are - Myrvin has put it like this 'We can't say it is OK when we agree with it, but it isn't when we don't.'- and that seems about right to me - it has no automatic 'right' to be included, no, its about whether editors think it is worth including, but slagging off the BBC for infotainment is supercilious really - the 'sensationalist' aspect, the photograph particularly, was analysed by experts, - and other experts, (contrary imo to the sneery hatchet job in History today), expressed a range of attitudes and were not all of one accord ,except for Will Self, at all, - so its been discussed in history today, and was broadcast on the BBC, - I think its perfectly fine to add to the article, personally. Sayerslle (talk) 14:37, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I still see no evidence that the BBC documentary is a reliable scholarly source. The only reliable secondary source on the matter, the History Today poece, is dismissive. Just because something expresses "a range of views" doesn't mean that it is good scholarship. The fact that certain versions of the proposed text included quotations from random celebrities, as opposed to Carroll schokars, suggests perhaps some fundamental disconnect with WP:RS. But I think we should drop the matter unless and until some more obviously respectable sources start taking the BBC piece seriously. 15:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
does wp have to use only 'reliable scholarly sources' now? where are these rules on RS ? ( anyhow there were plenty of scholars in the documentary)Sayerslle (talk) 15:24, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, an article such as this should rely on scholarly sources, not pop media documentaries. Sławomir Biały (talk) 15:56, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Also, sometimes documentaries are unavailable for viewing which makes them hard to verify, though I don't know if that's the case here. Coretheapple (talk) 17:22, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
First off, someone needs to look in a dictionary for the difference between 'stating' and 'speculation'. I watched the documentary and the BBC did neither. Secondly, Sławomir Biały does not appear to understand British culture, confusing such a documentary with 'pop media documentary' and probably did not see the programme. And thirdly, Wikipedia's job is not to make its own interpretations, but to report neutrally. If any TV content producing companies can be described as reliable and/or respectable, then IMO, the BBC is number one. Whatever Riddell says, that documentary, which I also watched, was extremely well balanced and Wikipedia editors could learn a lot from that when trying to make Wikipedia articles free of 'undue'. I remember when it was illegal to buy a book by D. H. Lawrence, and you could get locked up for being gay if you walked to slowly past a public loo, and where paradoxically photos of pre-pubescent females were allowed on album covers without the group being accused of being a band of pedophiles. At the end of the day, social mores change with time and the BBC documentary explains it exceptionally well. However, they are all prurient topics which people today have an even greater propensity for talking about than they did in ancient times when I was a teenager. I was not left with any impression whatsoever that Caroll was or might have been even a repressed pedophile but nowadays you can't even take a walk through the mall with your own young son or daughter without being accosted by two policemen. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:05, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
It's great that you found the BBC documentary personally uplifting, but I fail to see what this has to do with its status as a reliable scholarly source. According to WP:V, "If available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science." Despite some editors' efforts here to canonize the BBC, much of the content produced by the BBC (and especially its television content) is not reliable, precisely in the categories highlighted of "history, medicine, and science". Apart from personal attestations of reliability, no one here has presented any clear evidence that the documentary should be taken as an exception to this general rule. Sławomir Biały (talk) 13:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Just out of interest - if respected journalist Martha Kearney were to publish a book about her investigation, would those editors who think that the BBC is not a reliable publisher accept her book as an RS?I think some are deep into a No true Scotsman argument: No reliable source would say those things about Carroll. However, we have come quite a long way from the initial deletion of anything that suggested LC was a paedophile - even the initial deleter seems to agree with the current text. As I said, the last bone of contention is whether this BBC documentary can be referred to and cited. Could we have a couple of lines that refer to the programme and the dismissive History Today article, at the bottom of the main section on the subject? No Will Self. We should probably name the presenter too. I don't think anyone thinks that History Today is not a RS, so there should be no problem citing that article. Mentioning that magazine, there is another article that refers to the general point about LC's sexual proclivities here [15]. It says:

In later life he became notorious for his penchant for photo studies of partially-clothed and naked young girls. In fact, he eventually gave up photography when a whispering campaign against him in Oxford became too loud to ignore. Clearly, Dodgson’s obsession with prepubescent girls cannot be discounted in any discussion of his work. At one extreme, psychologists have detected elements of ‘cruelty, destruction and annihilation’ and ‘oral sadistic trends of a cannibalistic nature’ in his work; others see it as a delightful and invigorating piece of nonsense. Whatever the truth, it is the case that most parents today would be happy for their children to listen to the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – but they probably would not want Dodgson to be the man to read it to them. - See more at:

Is this a RS? Myrvin (talk) 10:14, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
This entire post is a red herring. There are reliable sources concerning Dodgson's sexuality, including his alleged paedophilia. But that's not what this discussion is about. It's about: is the BBC a reliable source? The answer is, by default, no. It is not an "academic peer-reviewed publication", as ostensibly required by WP:V, which says "If available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources." We have such sources, so those are the sources policy says we should use. Those lobbying to include the BBC as a source would need to show in a clear way why we should not apply this basic standard to the documentary. The burden lies exclusively on them to show why we should WP:IAR it. But instead, we just meet touchy-feely "but it's good", "but it's made by a real journalist", "opponents just don't understand British culture", and straw men like your above post. These arguments are very unconvincing. Sławomir Biały (talk) 13:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
You came to this discussion a little late I think. But you are right that perhaps I shouldn't be harking back to the idea that we shouldn't be including sources who say that LC was a paedophile. My aim was to test what editors such as yourself would countenance as a RS that said such things. Your contention is that we can never use any BBC documentary as a RS. As I have said above, thousands of WP articles do just that. For your other sources: we do not have any other source (except papers and History Today) that says anything about the supposed Lorina photograph. I have elicited some expert thoughts on the use of BBC documentaries. WhatamIdoing says: "Generally speaking, a documentary that is broadcast by a reputable publisher (like the BBC), is treated the same as a book that is published by a reputable publisher (like Random House). I would definitely accept it as being reliable for the fact that an identified person holds a given viewpoint." The article already cites sources that, by your definition, would not be acceptable; e.g. Dennis Potter and Robert Wilson, and probably the biographies. Myrvin (talk) 15:12, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
so Slawekb says ' its already covered the Lorina photograph - and the BBC is not a RS ' - so wrong, and wrong. Sayerslle (talk) 15:46, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Can we assume User:Sławomir Biały that you would accept the History Today article that refers to the picture as a RS? Myrvin (talk) 15:52, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
By the way, this [16] contains the photo in question. Probably copyright. Myrvin (talk) 16:28, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
WP:V also says: "Base articles on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Source material must have been published, the definition of which for our purposes is "made available to the public in some form". So, not JUST academic, peer-reviewed ones.Myrvin (talk) 08:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Moving forward[edit]

We need to do something once the edit-warring ban is lifted. As I suggested above, I propose to include a paragraph on the suggested Lorina photograph towards the end of the section on LC's sexuality. I have taken opinions elsewhere on this inclusion and have been advised that the BBC documentary can be used as a RS, but that the text should name the experts involved. So, the text could be:

In a 2015 BBC programme, presented by journalist Martha Kearney, experts indicated their belief that a full-frontal photograph of a naked teenage girl was that of the oldest Liddell girl Lorina, and was the work of Dodgson.[3] Nicolas Burnett, a photographic conservation specialist, ruled out the idea that the print is a modern fake. He also said that the image had been taken by a similar camera to the one Carroll is known to have used, and that the developing process and paper was the same as that used by Carroll. He gave his "gut instinct" that the photograph was by Lewis Carroll. Forensic imagery analyst David Anley compared known images of Lorina at different ages with the suspected photograph. He said "In my opinion, I would say it's her". The presenter speculated that this was the possible cause of the rift between Carroll and the Liddell family. [4][5]

Myrvin (talk) 14:33, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm still not seeing that Kearny is a Dodgson scholar or historian of any not. Also, there is a very distinct consensus against using the BBC as a reference. Certainly, her program is a reliable source for her views on Dodgson (and, presumably, for the views of Will Self and other celebrities), but those views carry little weight in relation to this article. Given that the closest thing we have to a scholarly review of this, the History Today write-up, essentially dismisses it, I think we should shelve this along with the rest of television. Good for entertainment value, but not much scholastic merit. There are better sources than this available.
I should add that I am very much opposed to the hostile environment that User:Sayerslle has created here. I will not comment in any thread where that editor has also posted. Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:11, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Well s/he's posted here. We have been warned to stop edit warring. My proposal was on this page for days before I was allowed to put it in the article - nobody spoke against it. I have removed Kearney's view. The other views were from experts on the programme. Myrvin (talk) 15:15, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but it looks to me like the paragraph now concerns expert discussion of a particular photograph, not discussion of Dodgson's sexuality. To me it has a very OR by SYN feel to include it where it is in the article. If there is a discussion of authenticity disputes of Dodgson's work, and critical reactions, then presumably it belongs there. But I find it very implausible that this one work would carry much weight in that regard. Volumes of criticism have been written on the works of Lewis Carroll. Sławomir Biały (talk) 16:08, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps the current text could be moved to the end of the Photography section. I'll try that. Myrvin (talk) 16:14, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

User:Sayerslle is currently blocked for two months (I think), given edit warring on another article. The discussion mentioned action on this article and I was subject to harsh words by that editor for my actions in protecting it and for drawing attention to his/her role in the edit warring here. I hope the discussion can continue here in a dignified way. The adding and removal should stop until things are discussed and sorted out. Please avoid any further problems by taking advantage of any other mediation that is relevant here if you cannot resolve the issue by yourselves.  DDStretch  (talk) 16:03, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, I for one find the characterization of this single edit as "edit warring" to be a bit inappropriate, particularly when the characterization itself came with a revert, flouting best practices. Moreover, if you peruse the previous discussions, you will see that there is a very distinct lack of consensus for using the BBC as a source here. So I do not think that Myrvin's confident assertion of the high ground is fair. Truth be told, Myrvin, et al, sought out outside input over the BBC. Some editors made there opinions known at that time, and have since left this discussion page. But no consensus at all emerged for the disputed text. Now, I'm certainly not going to "edit war" over this issue, but it does seem like there is some WP:KETTLE issue in the accusation here.
Given the OR issues with the material in question, I sincerely hope that people will come to their senses about this nonsense. Probably others will return as I have, though, now that the environment here has improved, and our better natures will prevail. Sławomir Biały (talk) 16:23, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
But it wasn't just that single edit, if you care to look at the entire history.  DDStretch  (talk) 16:30, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I removed recently-added text that was under dispute, yes. And I posted an explanation why here, although reasons were already made clear in earlier discussions. That is called normal editing. Within minutes, I was reverted by another editor (who had earlier on participated in an edit war), along with an accusation that I was "edit warring"! Other than that, I have only edited this article one time (as far as I know), to remove content added by a disruptive editor who is now blocked. So, I would thank you not to make baseless accusations, or to support others in their WP:KETTLE disruption. If you continue to do so, I suggest that a more clueful administrator would make a better mediator in further discussions here. Sławomir Biały (talk) 16:55, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I was restricting my comments to refer to only sayerslle, not you. I suggest you try not to react by making disparaging comments about people. It only adds to the hostile environment you appeared to be against in an earlier posting. I suggest you devote your time to discussing the addition or not of the content.  DDStretch  (talk) 18:09, 15 February 2015 (UTC)


I propose creating a new article called "Sexuality of Lewis Carroll". It's main contents, to begin with, would be the material from the section "Discussion of Dodgson's sexuality". There is more to be said about this topic than can be included in one section here. Myrvin (talk) 08:50, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ BBC 'The Secret World of Lewis Carroll', the secret world bbc
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph, 27 January 2015 [17]
  3. ^ Scala Archives [18].
  4. ^ Kearney, M. (presenter), The Secret World of Lewis Carroll, BBC, February 2015.the secret world bbc
  5. ^ Daily Telegraph, 27 January 2015 [19]