“We are nearer now than before, I think, to the man who wrote Alice.” — David McKie, Guardian
In the Shadow of the Dreamchild caused a stir on its first publication in 1999 and remains a striking, iconoclastic piece of literary criticism and biography which does much to restore Lewis Carroll’s posthumous reputation. Author Karoline Leach substantially revised the book and it is this text that we reproduce here in this special edition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventure’s In Wonderland.
The book uses new research to deconstruct the long-standing image of the life of Charles Dodgson, better known to millions of fans around the world as Lewis Carroll. Traditionally thought of as exclusively child-centred and unworldly, his pre-occupation with Alice Liddell and his supposedly unnatural sexuality are shown here to be nothing more than myths. 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 re-create a startlingly new picture of Dodgson’s personality, his experiences and, crucially, his all-important relationship with the Liddell family.
The dismantling of the myth and the new image that is put in its place are inevitably controversial, and since the first whisper of the book’s conclusions became known last year reaction in the press and from Carrollian scholars has been intense. After all, In the Shadow of the Dreamchild challenges almost every scholastic and literary insight on Carroll that has developed over the past century.
“At last a book with something new and surprising to say about Lewis Carroll.” — Peter Lewis, Daily Mail
“It’s clear that he was neither saint nor pervert. I welcome this work of reassessment, though it is by no means a whitewash, and I believe that many lovers of Carroll will be similarly relieved.” — Patrick Skene, Spectator
“Persuasive . . . Leach makes a good case.” – Daily Telegraph
“After Karoline Leach’s book Carroll studies can never be quite the same again . . . it should certainly be read by anyone concerned with Dodgson’s life and work.” — Lewis Carroll Review
KAROLINE LEACH trained as an actress and has written for the theatre 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. Her play Tryst opened Off-Broadway in 2006 and was most recently staged at the Westport Country Playhouse in 2008. In the Shadow of the Dreamchild was her first book.
|Date Published||17th July 2015|