The Secret World of Lewis Carroll
It's a timeless classic of children's literature and the third most-quoted book in English after the Bible and Shakespeare. But what lies behind the extraordinary appeal of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland? To mark the 150th anniversary of its publication, this documentary explores the life and imagination of the man who wrote it, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.
Broadcaster and journalist Martha Kearney delves into the biographies of both Carroll and of the young girl Alice Liddell, who inspired his most famous creation. Kearney's lifelong passion for Carroll's work began when, as a young girl, she starred as Alice in her local village play.
She discusses the book with a range of experts, biographers and distinguished cultural figures, from the actor Richard E Grant to childrens author Philip Pullman, and explores with them the mystery of how a retiring, buttoned-up and meticulous mathematics don, who spent almost his entire life within the cloistered confines of Christ Church Oxford, was able to capture the world of childhood in such a captivating way.
Martha places Carroll's pioneering work in the context of the Victorian imagination, where a fascination with the innocence of young girls was widespread, and goes on to explore the true nature of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and the Liddell family, uncovering the surviving clues in a piece of forensic literary detective work.
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"For fans of both literature and scandal The Secret World of Lewis Carroll was an excellent programme....[a] wonderfully engaging portrait." The Daily Telegraph
"An excellent, and possibly revelatory documentary about Lewis Carroll." Andrew Billen, The Times
"This gorgeous journey into the English heartland showed us again the wonders of Carroll's surreal and truthful masterpiece." The Arts Desk