|Born: January 27, 1832|
Died: January 14, 1898
Anyway, back to the math: I recently came across a fascinating article written by Melanie Bayley for New Scientist about the curious mathematical aspects of the Alice books. She says that what many have assumed to merely be fantastic imaginary tales for children, were actually Dodgson's (Carroll's) attempts to parody the absurdities of mid-19th century's new abstract mathematics - "Wonderland's madness reflects Carroll's views on the dangers of the new symbolic algebra".
And in this nonsensical world, Carroll seems to make the Cheshire Cat the logical voice of traditional geometry:
"'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where--' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'"
Speaking of nonsense, I can't even begin to understand ykcowrebbaJ!!!!!
|Illustrations by John Tenniel (1820-1914/English)|
(By the way, I just realized in re-reading Carroll's texts: that whole "un-birthday" thing doesn't take place at the famous Tea Party, but is rather a conversation that takes place between Alice and Humpty-Dumpty in the second book! I guess I watched the Disney version too many times! What misconceptions have you had?)