The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, December 26, 2014


Lewis Carroll letter written to a friend on the perils of fame for sale at Bonhams
The letter was written to a friend, Mrs Symonds, in 1891 when he had been well known as the author of the Alice books for nearly 30 years. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- A handwritten letter from Lewis Carroll, under his real name of Charles Dodgson, bemoaning the drawbacks of fame is to be sold at Bonhams sale of Books, Manuscripts, Maps and Photographs in London on 19 March. It is estimated at £3,000-4,000.

The letter was written to a friend, Mrs Symonds, in 1891 when he had been well known as the author of the Alice books for nearly 30 years. He explains how he hates letters of his being put into autograph books because: "All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection with the books, and to my being pointed out to, and stared at by, strangers, and treated as a 'lion'. And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all".

He realised that there were plenty of people "who like being looked at as a notoriety" but stressed that "We are not all made on the same pattern: & our likes & dislikes are very different".

Dodgson was notoriously shy with people he did not know – especially adults - and objected to giving out his autograph. In 1890 he even had printed, The Stranger Circular, which he sent to would-be collectors with the message that Mr Dodgson bluntly refused to have anything to do with books published under another name i.e. Carroll.

In addition to his reputation as a popular writer, Dodgson was also known as a photographer and the sale includes a charming photograph of a girl with a bucket and spade at the seaside (estimate £600-800). It was taken in 1882 in Eastbourne, where Dodgson spent his annual holidays, and is likely to be of Winnie Howes who would have been seven or eight at the time.






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