Gertrude Chataway

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A Double Acrostic by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll wrote this unique double acrostic for Gertrude Chataway. The verses embody her name in two ways — by letters, and by syllables. This is the only double acrostic of its kind.

Gertrude Chataway (1866–1951) was the most important child-friend in the life of the author Lewis Carroll, after Alice Liddell. It was Gertrude who inspired his great nonsense mock-epic The Hunting of the Snark (1876), and the book is dedicated to her, and opens with a poem that uses her name as a double acrostic.[1]

Carroll first became friends with Gertrude in 1875, when she was aged nine and he was forty-three, while on holiday at the English seaside resort of Sandown.[2] He made a number of pen and ink sketches of Gertrude as a young girl. He continued to correspond with her, and to spend numerous seaside holidays with her, including several when she was in her late twenties.[3]


  1. ^ Tigges, Wim (1988). An anatomy of literary nonsense. Costerus. 67. Rodopi. p. 161. ISBN 90-5183-019-X. 
  2. ^ Collingwood, Stuart Dodgson (1898). The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll. T. Fisher Unwin. p. 379. 
  3. ^ Carpenter, Angelica Shirley (2003). Lewis Carroll: through the looking glass. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 103. ISBN 0-8225-0073-6. 

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