Born in 1832 in the village of Daresbury in northwest England, Dodgson was the eldest son of a staunchly conservative Anglican cleric. He was a precocious child. When he wasn’t entertaining his ten siblings with stories and games, he worked through advanced reading lists assigned by his father. At the age of seven, he read The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – one of the most important works of Christian literature.
In 1850, at the age of 18, Dodgson became an academic at the College of Christ Church at Oxford University. In his Reminiscences of Oxford (1900), the Reverend W. Tuckwell described him as “austere, shy, precise, absorbed in mathematical reverie, watchfully tenacious of his dignity, stiffly conservative in political, theological, social theory, his life mapped out in squares like Alice’s landscape…”
Somewhat brilliant, Dodgson was a professional mathematician, logician, author and poet. He was also a prolific photographer. However, he was not without defects either. After a childhood fever, he was deaf in one ear. Furthermore, a bout of whooping cough left his chest chronically compromised. And, like most of his siblings, he suffered from a lifelong stammer.