The Lewis Carroll Wiki page is an almost permanent zone of weird, of course, but I’m not talking about the usual kinds of  “he was a pervert who should have had his balls fried”, or “he lived next door to my Nan and used to walk her dog”, kind of stuff ; I’m referring to  that half-hearted part time Wiki-War being fought against those pesky and  inconvenient facts that have been recently unearthed.  Someone, for example, keeps modifying the  section on the so-called ‘Guildford paper’, digging up Morton Cohen’s still unsubstantiated, and best forgotten claims about Philip Jaques (Carroll’s great-nephew),  having written it  as a ‘joke’,  and  concluding  Carroll almost probably might really still have proposed to Alice Liddell on that iconic June day in 1863 after all.  You can just see them thinking – bless ’em –  “if we  can put it right there on Wiki then it must be true.”

Well today we noticed  things have suddenly ratcheted up a tad, and someone had deleted the entire ‘Carroll Myth’ section.

Guess that about wraps it up then. If it’s not on Wiki, then it just isn’t worth talking about. 😉

Update: someone has put it back now. Interesting (well slightly, it’s a slow day, I’m resting a shoulder tendon),  to see what happens next.  If you see anything worth commenting on let us know.


~ by Contrariwise on May 31, 2010.

3 Responses to “Wiki-weird”

  1. I haven’t heard of Cohen saying the Guildford paper was a joke, where is there any info on this?

  2. The only Carroll myth that I wished were true was the one started in his lifetime, the one about Queen Victoria asking for a copy of his next book and being sent a mathematical treatise. I could just about imagine that happening… Dodgson denied it of course but I wonder if the thought crossed his mind….hmmmm lol

  3. Joly – Morton Cohen published an article in the TLS on 10 September 2004 (eight years after Karoline Leach discovered and first publicised the ‘Guildford Paper’), in which he claimed that he had known about the Paper for decades and that it had been created in its entirety by CLD’s great-nephew Philip Jaques. He and Mr Jaques had apparently ‘chuckled’ over Karoline Leach’s revelations.
    Coincidentally or not, Mr Jaques was no longer in a position to verify this account having died a few months previously.

    This account is in conflict with:
    1) The physical evidence, which clearly shows three different sets of handwriting on the document;
    2) The testimony of Mr Jaques himself, who in interview commented “I must have seen it before as some of the writing is mine, but I have no recollection of it now”, and stated that the last addition on the back was in his hand and the remainder in those of his aunts Violet and Menella Dodgson (confirmed by archive evidence);
    3) Professor Cohen’s own statement at a Lewis Carroll Society meeting in July 1996 that “I had never come across this paper before reading Ms Leach’s account”.
    Even if one accepts Cohen’s belated explanation it begs the rather major question of why Cohen made no mention in his 1995 biography, or any other of his published works, of the document’s existence despite indulging in extensive speculation on the possible contents of the missing page.

    I don’t know if the article is still available online; it used to be archived on the Contrariwise site but I’m not sure whether this is still the case as I believe there’s been some reorganisation lately.

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