Still She Haunts Me by Katie ROIPHE

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Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a shy Oxford mathematician, reverend, and pioneering photographer. Under the pen name Lewis Carroll he wrote two stunning classics that liberated children’s literature from the constraints of Victorian moralism. But the exact nature of his relationship with Alice Liddell, daughter of the dean of his college, and the young girl who was his muse and subject, remains mysterious.

Dodgson met Alice in 1856, when she was almost four years old. Eventually he would capture her in his photographs, and transform the stories he told her into the luminous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. Then, suddenly, when Alice was eleven, the Liddell family shut him out, and his relationship with Alice ended abruptly. The pages from Dodgson’s diary that may have explained the rift have disappeared.

In imagining what might have happened, Katie Roiphe has created a deep, textured portrait of Alice and Dodgson: she changing from an unruly child to a bewitching adolescent, and he, a diffident, neurasthenic adult whose increasing obsession with her almost destroys him. Here, too, is a brilliantly realized cast of characters that surround them: Lorina Liddell, Alice’s mother, who loves her daughter even as she envies her youth; Edith Liddell, Alice’s resentful little sister; and James Hunt, Dodgson’s speech therapist, an island of sanity in Dodgson’s increasingly chaotic world.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Katie ROIPHE

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Katie Roiphe is a professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. She writes a column on life, literature, and politics for Slate and writes for The New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her two children.
Published October 1, 2002 by Delta. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Arts & Photography. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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He represses such thoughts as best he can but is plagued by nightmares in which much of the surreal imagery of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass first appears.

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The New York Times

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In one crucial scene, a boating trip during which Dodgson begins telling the story that became ''Alice,'' Roiphe informs us that ''the London Meteorological Society recorded the weather around Oxford on July 4, 1862, as 'rather cool and wet,' '' while Dodgson later remembered a sky of ''cloudless...

Sep 16 2001 | Read Full Review of Still She Haunts Me

The Guardian

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The Grand Ambition Lisa Michaels Sceptre £14.99, pp262 Still She Haunts Me: A Novel of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell Katie Roiphe Review £10, pp222 Pop Kitty Aldridge Cape £15.99, pp249 A few years ago, Lisa Michaels, a young Californian writer, published an excellent memoir about growing up wi...

Nov 04 2001 | Read Full Review of Still She Haunts Me

Publishers Weekly

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When Dodgson ruins a photograph of his beloved Alice by mistakenly rubbing out the features of her face, the resulting blur seems to mirror the novel: despite great care, what is meant to be a clear psychological portrait renders its subject fuzzy and distorted.

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