Oxford Stories: Alice and the Dodo in Wonderland with Victoria Bentata
Alice was the real-life daughter of Dean Liddell, head of Christ Church, the Oxford college of Maths tutor Charles Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll, alias the Dodo), a man with a vivid imagination, a fascination for words and a keen sense of the ridiculous. Find out more about Alice, the Dodo and the other real life characters behind Alice in Wonderland in 19th century Oxford.
Alice in Wonderland is a brilliant work of fantasy, but many of its characters are based on real human beings from Lewis Carroll’s college, Christ Church, and from the City of Oxford. This event introduces the audience to the author, the people behind his characters and to the Oxford of the 19th century, which is key to a deeper understanding of both books of Alice’s adventures.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson came to Oxford as an undergraduate in 1851 and remained at his college, Christ Church as a student and tutor for most of his life. He was a talented mathematician, but he was also a keen photographer and he loved puzzles, games, and story-telling. In particular, he enjoyed the company of children and, not permitted to have a family himself, spent a lot of time entertaining the Dean’s youngsters.
The places he went with the Liddell children appear in his stories as too do often grotesque, but still recognisable, caricatures of people the children would have known from their home environment. The wonderful playfulness of Lewis Carroll’s writing is a clue to his childlike sense of fun, his mischievous sense of humour and his singular ability to with play with words.
Led by an expert on Oxford, Victoria Bentata, this interactive seminar will consider the remarkable story of Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass and its idiosyncratic author. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of Alice in Wonderland and a better acquaintance with Lewis Carroll’s Oxford.
Victoria Bentata is an Oxford University graduate, published author and highly experienced Oxford tour guide with a particular interest Oxford’s Literature.