No One Expects…

Just found this – a looooong ‘review’ of  In the Shadow of the Dreamchild on, by a guy who really really wants people to think Lewis Carroll was a pedo, and (following a long and distinguished tradition) thinks nothing of freely making stuff up or weaselling facts to achieve his aim. He basically recites a lot of generalised stuff about pedophilia, makes up a lot of ways in which it applies to Carroll, and ends up  with a nice little suggestion of child abuse:

What could be Leach’s motive for writing this book? Could she be seeking revenge against a predator in her own past? Probably.


When challenged he claims Carroll hated boys and abandoned his child-friends when they grew up.  So, he’s obviously done his research. Some of the follow-up comments are interesting. I like TCIrishLass’s:

So, are we to assume that most men who are shy, have lots of nieces and nephews, love to be around children, and associate quite a bit (dating, friendship) with adult women are pedophiles?

Jenny Woolf   hopefully advises the guy to read her book, as if that might set him right, and KLeifsen adds this footnote about In the Shadow of the Dreamchild:

I think it’s stupid that this book exists… A lot of this sounds like speculation and heresy.


Where’s the  Spanish Inquisition when you really need it?

~ by Contrariwise on March 17, 2010.

4 Responses to “No One Expects…”

  1. I love this blog! I’ve been trying for months to find somewhere you can have an intelligent discussion about Lewis Carroll and found nothing but grumpy old men and true believers in pink fluffy bunnies. Keep going, please.
    This guy has to be the same one who posted a load of stuff on the Proboards Forum (about the only thing that’s happened there in the last century). Some of the comments on Amazon were hilarious, not the guy himslef, he’s obviously just a raving nutter, but the ones trying to be polite – ‘a bit of a stretch’, ‘you have some valid points’. Sooo British.


  2. You’re in the Smithsonian – apparently people’s responses to you were “seismic”. Wow.

    • Saw the Smithsonian piece, it’s a bit odd. “Why has popular opinion of the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland undergone such a dramatic reversal?” it asks, but doesn’t give an answer, which would be – because of Karoline Leach and Contrariwise. It doesn’t mention KL much or Contrariwise at all. It says reaction to KL was ‘seismic’ but doesn’t say what KL was arguing – apart from the fact he liked adult women. The effect is to minimise her almost to oblivion. And the answer to the article’s own question is therefore unanswerable. Quite weird.

      By the way I’m a longterm fan of the old Contrariwise page and got many of my subjects for lesson-plans from your articles. When will Mr Tufail be writing more about the religion issues? Very fascinating and under-regarded area IMHO.

  3. Heresy! Off with her head…well I suppose if you are debunking a myth some will call you a heretic.

    The thing that bothers me most about the Carroll myth are those that champion Dodgson’s supposed interest in young girls as a good thing with the excuse of “but it was a different age”. To me that is like championing a slave trader because slavery was once acceptable.

    Pedophilia is not OK whatever the era, it is not an act of love, it is not sweet or cute or nice. It is the abuse of children by adults who exert power over them. Children who suffer abuse do not enjoy it or ‘ask for it’.

    If Dodgson had really abused the children that were in his company however latent this abuse might be then this is not something to write nice fiction or biographies about; it is something to be condemned.

    If on the otherhand Dodgson is not guilty on all counts then he deserves to have his name cleared and not linked to such repugnant practises. If Leach’s book is the thing that challenges us to take another look at the evidence, even if we don’t agree with her conclusions then at least we can draw our own.

    I can’t understand why any living relatives of Dodgson or Alice Liddell would want this kind of slur to remain if they have any information that would set the record straight.

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