Dodgson, Charles (1832 – 1898)
‘It is too much to hope that you have an “Alice” among your children…’
A superb autograph letter signed by Dodgson, ‘Charles L. Dodgson, alias “Lewis Carroll”‘, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.5 x 7”, November 13th 1874.
Writing from Christ Church, Oxford, Dodgson addresses an Australian man whose children are enjoying his books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.
In full, ‘I take much blame to myself for having left unacknowledged, for more than seven months, your letter and the accompanying copies of your little book Bertie and of the Adelaide Observer. As to the story, I take it as a great compliment that you should have chosen Alice’s Adventures as a model for imitation, and am only sorry that your skill and your time should have been given to so humble a task, instead of taking, as I do not doubt you would succeed even better in, a line of your own. It is, I assure you, a source of real pleasure to me, who am a great lover of the race of children, to know that my little books are liked by so many, and in so many distant lands. They were inspired originally by an “Alice”, now a grown woman, and I have given away many copies since to other “Alices” and to many who do not bear her name.’
‘It is too much to hope that you have an “Alice” among your children, but if there is one of your daughters (whatever her name) who is still young enough to care for a presentation copy of Alice or of the Looking-glass, it will give me much pleasure to send one. In that case, perhaps you will favour me with the names and ages of the children — both that I may form a more definite idea of my distant readers, and that I may judge what will be most acceptable: children sometimes like books best, when given to individuals & sometimes when given collectively, & I should be glad if you would suggest which would be preferred. Perhaps you can find one to whom Alice would be acceptable, and another who would like a Looking-glass. I sign my real name to this, but request that you will not publish it in print, as I prefer the other as a nom de plume.’
In fine condition. Unmistakably the most exceptional Dodgson letter we have handled, rife with content relating to his most celebrated work, and boasting both his given name and nom de plume. The letter was penned between the publication of the Alice sequel Through the Looking Glass and his nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark.
Moreover, the mention of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the basis for the character of Alice, whom Dodgson explains is ‘now a grown woman’ is of significance, as Dodgson letters in large rarely allude to his young muse, especially so in such great detail.