Lewis Carroll: Formed by Faith
Published by: University of Virginia Press
Release Date: September 20, 2022
For Lewis Carroll, a deacon in the Church of England, faith in Christ and belief in a loving God stood at the core of his being, but little has been written about what the church or faith meant to the celebrated author of the Alice books. With Lewis Carroll Formed by Faith, Charlie Lovett provides the first in-depth study of the religious life of the famous author whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
By examining Dodgson’s religious education and core beliefs, this book shows how a deep Christian faith undergirded and guided every part of his life and work, from his relationships with children to his renowned writings, his work on logic, even his hobbies of photography and theatre going. The book includes a detailed account of the career of Dodgson’s father—an important figure in the Anglican church and a key influence on his son.
Family records give insight into Charles’s early education, and newly discovered manuscript materials paint a full picture of his religious education at Richmond and Rugby Schools. Lovett finds previously unknown influences in Dodgson’s life, analyzes his habits of preaching and prayer, explores his training for confirmation and ordination, analyzes his reasons for eschewing the priesthood, and concludes with an account of his death and funeral and his logically constructed theology of the afterlife. The book makes use of previously untapped sources and highlights new material, including a previously unknown sermon by Dodgson, the first ever discovered. The result is a major contribution offering new perspectives on this creator of fantastical fiction and the spiritual bedrock that informed his life and imagination.
"Until now there has not been an in-depth study of the religious aspects of Lewis Carroll’s life, an important feature of Carroll’s story that has been neglected for far too long. Lovett’s book contains a great deal that is new, including much that has been overlooked by other researchers, and will be essential reading."
—Edward Wakeling, former chairman of the Lewis Carroll Society, author of Lewis Carroll: The Man and His Circle
"This astonishing work will stand the test of time as the definitive work on Carroll and religion, hitherto a relatively neglected prime element in understanding the man who gave the world Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and much more. Lovett, a gifted storyteller and writer as well as a renowned Carroll collector and scholar, uses comprehensive primary research that is fresh and revealing to make a compelling case for the presence of Christian faith in nearly everything Carroll thought, did and wrote, from poetry to novels to letters and essays. A wonderful and in-depth travel guide to Victorian religion and the driving beliefs that shaped this increasingly important artist’s being.
—Edward Guiliano, author of Lewis Carroll: The Worlds of His Alices
"Much has been written about the life, times and writings of the author whom the world knows as ‘Lewis Carroll’. Charlie Lovett provides a new, compelling and long-overdue portrait drawn from the very particular perspective of the man behind the Carrollian pseudonym: the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. This intimate account of Dodgson’s deeply held Christian beliefs and his personal spiritual journey from baptism to burial uniquely takes the reader to the very heart and soul of the creator of Wonderland and the world beyond the Looking-glass."
—Brian Sibley, President of the Lewis Carroll Society