Lewis Carroll and Alice (Thames & Hudson, New Horizons, £6.95 in UK)


The original Alice was the daughter of Henry George Liddell, now remembered only for the standard Greek-English dictionary he compiled with his fellow-scholar Scott, and which is still in use in schools and universities. Naked children had a special significance to Victorian romantics, who saw them as beings fresh from God and nature, trailing clouds of glory and radiating pre-Edenic innocence. Carroll's obsession with them seems to have been entirely asexual, which is borne out by the often sickly sentimentality of his photographs themselves - as can be judged from this volume - particularly when they had been hand-tinted over by some unknown artist(s). Rather surprisingly, he also had a penchant for theatre people, particularly the Terry family, though his overruling vocation was as a mathematician and logician. (Incidentally, one of the photographs reproduced here purports to be of William Holman Hunt; it is in fact of his fellow Preraphaelite, John Everett Millais). B.F.