Alice, Dodgson, and Algebra

There was the oddest op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times,  “Algebra in Wonderland” by Melanie Bayley.  She feels that Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), who was a math tutor at Oxford’s Christ Church College was with his famous story creating, “…a mishmash of satire directed at the advances taking place in Dodgson’s field.”  Having read the book perhaps 40 times (since 1990 I’ve read it aloud every year to my class) I know it incredibly well. I’ve also read a lot about what could be behind the story. While it makes complete sense that he was commenting on the real Alice’s life in many ways it doesn’t make sense to me that he was also doing so about all sorts of mathematical theories as Bayley posits.  Still I’ll be curious to see what other Carrollians who know way more than me think about this.


Filed under Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

4 responses to “Alice, Dodgson, and Algebra

  1. Thank you for this posting…I have had several DM messages from friends since the Bayley article appeared asking if I knew anything…I am a blank but have now referred them to your “puzzlement”!


  2. Just the latest in a long line of wackos thinking they see messages in the inkblots .

    Visit our Carroll blog? Link to it? We’re interesting. Or at least controversial, which is nearly as good.


  3. Will You Won't You?

    I agree–it was a case of making Alice fit some pre-determined box–and it just didn’t work. on the path in Wonderland.


  4. Will You Won't You?

    For some reason all my comment didn’t show–what I wrote was: and that just didn’t work for all the twists and turns of the path in Wonderland


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