Lewis Carroll at Play

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Nichols (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library
Monika Brown

Abstract: Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is a person whose books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, have been quoted frequently in this century and are loved and cherished by many. Almost everyone as a child has listened to or read about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. Why are they so popular? Florence Becker Lennon said Dodgson was able to "deal with contradictions and horrors and irrationalities, and to convert them into an art form that gives release to children and adults alike." The comedy and attention to "paradoxes of the human condition" is one reason adult readers love Lewis Carroll; because he journeys with them on the "quest for meaning and order" (Rackin 103). Yet another reason could be that he makes math puzzles and the like fun and enjoyable--One doesn't realize they are mathematical puzzles. He unified math, puzzles and games (including chess) and literature, concepts dynamically opposed which most people would not believe could ever go together. Some critics believe Lewis Carroll (a.k.a. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) included more in than what readers usually notice. Florence Becker Lennon, Carroll's biographer, writes, "After all, Carroll was a philosopher, which means he transmuted his experiences into something beyond life" (Lennon 178). Also, Lewis Carroll was an excellent logician while Dodgson was not. If someone wants to see how great of a logician he was, Wonderland is the place to look (Weaver 24). In the math, logic and games Carroll created a series of experiences that challenged Alice and continue to challenge the reader today. Lewis Carroll has intrigued computer scientists and mathematicians-and all people interested in these subjects-by his inclusion of math, logic and games in the Alice books. Math was important to Dodgson since he was a mathematician. Computer science is built upon mathematical concepts and principles and technology during Carroll's age was increasing. Dodgson also enjoyed to reason things out by use of logical deduction. Computer science requires people to logically think about what a program is supposed to do and how to write the code so it will do it. Games are also important to Carroll and provide the basis for much of his humor in the books. These have rules by which players must abide by in order to win. The same holds true for computer scientists who must write code within certain constraints such as time and space. These three major topics of interest to Carroll provide the basis to analyze how they relate to computer science.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2001
Carroll, Lewis, 1832-1898 – Criticism and Interpretation, Children's Stories, English, Fantasy Fiction, English, Alice (Fictitious Character: Carroll) – Fiction, Games, Plays on Words

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