The Truth Behind the Pen

Charles Dodgson isn’t exactly a household name. In the literary world it has a spec of importance. He was just a regular man, working in his professional world in London during the 19th century.

Now, Lewis Carroll, on the other hand, mention his name in literary community, and ‘Alice’ should be the first word you hear. Lewis Carroll wrote many books, including his Alice series. Now, as I like to know, why did Dodgson use a pen name? Why not just use Charles Dodgson?

Contrary to what some believe, he did not want to familiarize himself with Alice Liddell. Yes, they do have the same number of letters and letter pattern, Alice Liddell wasn’t even a factor in the equation. According to this WikiAnswers page, Dodgson’s name was chosen by Edmund Yates. Dodgson wanted to keep his literary life and professional life seperate, not be stopped on the streets like some celebrity. How Yates formulated his name is intriguing.

Lutwidge became Ludovic, which became Lewis. And Charles became Carolus, which became Carroll. Evidence for this? There is one actually. Before Alice, Dodgson published Solitude under his pen name, Lewis Carroll, in March 1856. Alice Liddell wasn’t in Dodgson’s life until the next month of April, which is when he first met her.

2 Responses to “The Truth Behind the Pen”

  1. I had no idea. Terrific detective work! I agree with Vance, you should forward the information to Gardner.

  2. This is fascinating!

    I suggest emailing this information to Martin Gardner, the author of “The Annotated Alice”. This way he can add it to the annotations for his next edition of the book.

    Were the evolving names from Edmund Yates a series of nicknames that grew over their friendship? I am confused as to the process of the names changing.

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