Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2004 Issue

New Exhibit Offers A Look Into<br>The Mind Of Lewis Carroll



Those who are devoted followers of Carroll, and there are Lewis Carroll societies with devoted if not downright rabid followers, will want to see this exhibition. You can go through the items he clipped to see if they shed light on his mind. I have, and must admit, the connection is not yet clear. The stories and articles he saved seem far less interesting then the material he wrote. There are many cartoons from Punch, and while obviously humorous in their day, they have not stood up as well to time as Carroll's own writing. Some are of a more serious bent, and perhaps a few even reflect the mathematician in him. There's an article that says based on a world population of 1 billion and the then contemporary life spans, that 3,000 people die every hour. That number must be much higher today. Another uses some dubious assumptions to compare loss of life from small pox by those inoculated by the cowpox vaccine versus those who are not. Concluding that more people who are vaccinated survive having the disease, but also through dubious assumptions that far more who are inoculated contact it in the first place, the presumption is that the vaccine is of little benefit. Fortunately, this bit of Alice logic did not become "science."

Now it's time to see for yourself whether the material that Carroll collected explains how he discovered the world of Wonderland. To visit this fascinating exhibit, click on the following link: http://memory.loc.gov/intldl/carrollhtml/lchome.html

To read about some of those over-the-top Carroll collectors from an earlier edition of AE Monthly, click this link:

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