Turns Out The Real Alice In Wonderland Was An 11-Year-Old Girl Who Lewis Carroll Had A Demented Crush On

He Took This Infamous, Provocative Photo Of Alice As A Beggar Girl

One of his most famous photographs is of Alice is when she is six years old and appears as a beggar girl. She has no shoes on, and her dress is falling off her shoulders. The image may have been inspired by the Lord Tennyson poem “The Beggar Maid.” Alice is leaning against a wall in a garden in a provocative pose. Her arms, legs, and top of her chest are bare. She looks pitiful, yet the viewer is drawn to the sexually suggestive image.

Lewis Carroll/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

He Once Wrote: “I Am Fond Of Children (But Not Boys)”

Perhaps one reason why scholars have questioned Dodgson’s relationship with young girls was that he is credited with writing: “I am fond of children (except boys).” He was also an accomplished photographer, and most of his subjects were little girls. He met them in all kinds of places (the beach, on trains, through acquaintances) and became their friend. Alice Liddell, in particular, was one of his favorite little girls.

Artist Gertrude Thomson, who drew pictures of fairies and nymphs, received a letter from Dodgson in which he wrote:

“I confess I do not admire naked boys in pictures. They always seem… to need clothes, whereas one hardly sees why the lovely forms of girls should ever be covered up.”

Lewis Carroll/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Carroll Wrote To A Young Girl That He Enjoyed Kissing The Lock Of Hair She Sent Him

Dodgson was bold about the tenderness (and possible romantic love) he felt for his young female friends. He once wrote to a 10-year-old girl that he was happy to have her hair to kiss, but he’d rather kiss her instead:

“Extra thanks and kisses for the lock of hair. I have kissed it several times – for want of having you to kiss, you know, even hair is better than nothing.”

It was common for Dodgson to write these types of things in his letters. In another, he wrote to a mother suggesting that she bring her daughter along to their get together:

“And would it be de rigueur that there should be a third to dinner? Tête à tête is so much the nicest.”

Lewis Carroll/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

He Was Obsessed With Prepubescent Girls, But Did He Act On His Impulses?

Dodgson spent much of his time with his childhood friends, and it seems pretty clear that he was attracted to young girls. But there’s no evidence that he had sexual relationships with any of them. He mentioned he was afflicted by “the inclinations of my sinful heart”. He was able to battle his impure thoughts by focusing on his mathematics work. He once wrote that performing calculations helped combat “unholy thoughts, which torture with their hateful presence, the fancy that would fain be pure.”

In 1933, writer A.M.E. Goldschmidt submitted an essay to Oxford called “Alice in Wonderland Psycho-Analysed.” He insinuated that Dodgson had sexual feelings for Alice. The proof? Alice falling down the well was a metaphor for sex. Goldschmidt was not an expert in psychology, yet his commentary spurned others to make similar correlations.

Biographer Morton Cohen examined Dodgson’s diaries and determined that the writer was most disturbed and had problems sleeping following the days he spent with Alice. He dealt with his emotions by writing whimsical stories and ultimately his tour de force, Alice in Wonderland.

Lewis Carroll/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

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