Five Fascinating Facts about Lewis Carroll

The man who wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was born today in 1832. In honour of this, here’s another instalment in our new ‘Five Fascinating Facts’ series, this time all about Lewis Carroll.

1. There is an interesting link between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Specifically, the title of Carroll’s book was suggested to him by Tom Taylor, the author of Our American Cousin – the play Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated in 1865. Carroll wanted to call his book Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, but Taylor thought that with such a title, young readers might think the book had something to do with mining!

2. Lewis Carroll once stayed up all night composing an anagram of William Ewart Gladstone. The result of such lucubration was the following gem: ‘Wild agitator, means well’.

Carroll13. He almost always brewed his tea for exactly ten minutes. He would time it, too. Quite fitting that the author who was also a mathematician took such a mathematical and precise attitude even when it came to his afternoon tea!

4. He called himself ‘Dodo’. As we’ve discussed in our previous post, Interesting Facts about Lewis Carroll, this was possibly a result of his stutter: Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and some commentators have surmised that ‘Dodo’ was a result of his stammering pronunciation of his surname.

5. His numerous inventions included a tricycle and a method for justifying right-hand margins on a typewriter. He also invented a word game called the ‘word ladder’, the object of which is to transform one word into another by altering one letter in the original word each time to form a new word (e.g. cold to warm, as in cold – wold – word – ward – warm). The game seems like the perfect synthesis of Carroll’s playfulness and preciseness, rolled up into one.

If you enjoyed this list of literary trivia, we recommend our book crammed full of 3,000 years of interesting bookish facts, The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History, available now from Michael O’Mara Books.

Image: Lewis Carroll, 1863, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.


  1. Pingback: Modern Words That Came From Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’ | Something to Write Home About

  2. Pingback: Five Fascinating Facts about ‘Jabberwocky’ | Interesting Literature

  3. Interesting. See my latest blog on Alice and Depth Psychology!

  4. Pingback: Five Fascinating Facts about Children’s Literature | Interesting Literature

  5. I am curious about this electric pen.

  6. Pingback: Holes and Tea Time | Norah's Knowledge Bank 2014

  7. Interesting blog. If you have a chance, please check out my novel on amazon, Jane Eyre Gets Real. Classical lit. characters, including Alice in Wonderland, find themselves in contemporary NYC, on a reality TV show.

  8. Reblogged this on mudandbone and commented:
    Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll, the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Check out this post as well as Interesting Literature’s fascinating blog.

  9. Thanks for the recent “like” of a post on my Westerns genre site…much appreciated. I like the layout of your own site….very eye-catching!
    All the best,

  10. Thank you for this post. Loving this series!
    Sharing also a great contemporary opera based on L. Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

  11. Fascinating–thanks for posting. It would have been interesting to know more about his sleep patterns, but he wasn’t included in this infographic about sleep and productivity in the lives of famous authors, which is also very interesting::

  12. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Happy [belated] birthday to Lewis Carroll! Read on for some interesting facts about this most interesting author.

  13. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll! | pattytmitchell

  14. I love these posts! While I knew that he invented the word ladder game (which is so much fun!) I never thought of his tea habits…I find the little things like that so fascinating because they seem to slip into our writings. Obviously he wrote characters meticulous and odd as he found himself. i.e. the Dodo, the White Rabbit, the entire scene with the tea party…I am intrigued.
    I think is what I love the most about Mr. Dodgson’s writings, and about your Five Fascinating Facts posts. I am always intrigued.

    I too recently mentioned Alice in Wonderland in a blog post, though I was mentioning specific characters such as Dormouse and the Mad Hatter (one of my all time favorite characters!) (if you want to look at it, the post is

  15. Pingback: Newly-minted Alice: Collage | First Night Design

  16. Thanks for this. Every author needs a friend like Tom Taylor. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!”

  17. I used to live word ladder puzzles and I never knew Lewis Carroll invented them!

  18. Goodness! I didn’t know he invented the word ladder – I seem to see that everywhere. Great (and very interesting) post.

  19. He wrote his best stuff in Bournemouth

  20. Thanks for this interesting post; I posted about Mr. Carroll not too long ago, too.