In the Shadow of the Dreamchild uses new research to show that the long-standing image of the life of Charles Dodgson, better known to millions of fans around the world as Lewis Carroll, as exclusively child-centred and unworldly, his preoccupation with Alice Liddell, and his supposedly unnatural sexuality are all in fact nothing more than myths: that they belong to an invented persona, created around the name "Carroll," and have almost nothing to do with Dodgson's real but overshadowed life. Meticulously researched, the book traces the development of this false persona and demonstrates how generations of biographers have helped to create fictions about Dodgson's life, rather than bring the documentary facts before the public. It uses the data to recreate a startlingly new picture of Dodgson's personality, his experiences, and, crucially, his all-important relationship with the Liddell family. In the Shadow of the Dreamchild challenges almost every scholastic and literary insight on Carroll that has developed over the past century.
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Karoline Leach has written for the theater since the early 1990s, with her play The Mysterious Mr. Love being staged to critical acclaim in the West End's Comedy Theatre in 1997.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The inescapable conclusion we must draw....is is that if worshipping and romanticising girl-children, if photographing or drawing their nude bodies are taken per se to illustrate some kind of perversion, then it is the mass-perversion of a mass-culture. If Poe, and Kilvert, and Dodgson and all the other child-worshippers seem imbued with what we call 'paedophilia', it is because to our eyes, their age was imbued with it, soaked through with it. When a modern critic looks at Millais' portrait of his daughter 'Cherry Ripe', and sees not simply a small girl holding a piece of fruit, but 'a sexual metaphor...curvacious adult female forms in the child's billowing dress...female genitalia beneath pubic hair in the child's hands below black wristlets, pressed palm to palm between her thighs,' the issue is not the sexual inclination of either the painter or the critic, it is one of social perception. It would be crass and entirely inappropriate to assess Millais' sexuality on this basis, and it has been crass and inappropriate for biography to do so with Dodgson. Lewis Carroll was not a lonely deviant...the objects of his intense sexual desire were women, full-blooded, 'tall and lithe'. His one testament of passion is of erotic physical consummation with a mature and powerful woman. In his most private writings, he identified himself with the sin of David, which was not masturbation, or unruly fantasy, but adultery. David's Psalm of keening repentance, 'make me a clean heart oh God', was Dodgson's most frequently-invoked prayer... He was a man who tried to reconcile orthodoxy and radicalism in a single philosophy and succeeded only in being contradictory, disingenuous and unfulfilled. He effected a half-rebellion against the life he had been born into, but could not, or would not complete a severance that his own beliefs ought to have made inevitable. His sexual and emotional life was the arena for a continuing struggle between his own promptings and his desire for social acceptance. He was perhaps before anything else, a man who adored and relished every aspect of femaleness, who responded sensually and emotionally to female company, and who required the comfort and stimulus this gave him, to provide meaning in his life. His instincts were towards being a lover of the opposite sex, in the full and generous meaning of the word, and it can be argued that it was the most powerful motivating force in his life. His literature, his religion, his sin, his redemption, and the eventual achievement of inner peace, were all fed by this drive towards the possession and adoration of the condition of femaleness. In another age, with another social background, this passion might have manifested exclusively as hedonism or sexual licence. But the nature of his ambiguous rebellion, dictated that instead it should refract into a disconnected rainbow of expressions, from at one extreme a kind of promiscuous greed for the female - her image, her love, her physical proximity, and at the other, the gagging cutesiness of the Victorian child-religion.... His brief and mysterious period of turmoil during the 1860s, and the passionate love poetry he produced, mark the transition point in his life, from youthful optimism, creativity, ambition and drive, to the strange, rudderless unproductive middle age of sentimental piety and the worship of the child. It was a momentous, intensely experienced erotically-charged event that has never yet been recorded in any biography - because it does not fit the image of 'Carroll'. His religious problems have been explained as a fear of preaching, or as a result solely of his growing religious doubts, his prayers as over-conscientiousness or a sudden deluge of self-abuse, his poetry as largely irrelevant. The fact that they all happened within one brief period of his life, and all combine to tell the same story, has gone unnoticed amongst the mythology. It is - with only slight exaggeration - as if Wilde's biography had been created and maintained without reference to Reading gaol. But when the story of his religious difficulties, his work, his private prayers, are re-integrated into the chronology of Dodgson's life, some things become immediately visible. The kernel of this crisis was sexual, an affair of the heart. Collingwood's cryptic admission of the autobiography underlying Dodgson's love verse, his description of the 'shadow of disappointment' that lay so long over his life, seem to put this much beyond doubt. A love affair with a tall lithe creature he thought of as 'the star of perfect womanhood'. For Cohen and other biographers, his one experience of love is universally judged to have been an unconsummated longing for a little girl, even though this view requires a wholesale rejection of Dodgson's own image of his own experience, in his private diary, and in his work. They have looked no further than the myth, devoid as it is of any evidential support, and have been content to leave crucial questions unanswered. But these questions need to be addressed. What or who was at the heart of this guilty love affair? Why are the portions of his diary that must have dealt with it now missing? What are the implications on our view of his life and work of restoring this 'lost' experience into his biography?
The remainder of this book will be about trying to discover some possible answers for these and other questions
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Descripción Peter Owen Ltd, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería SONG0720613183
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Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110720613183
Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0720613183
Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 720613183