After Such Kindness
I am an Oxford local historian, and the only Oxford guide endorsed by the Lewis Carroll Society. I have helped shape Oxford’s annual Alice’s Day since the first one in 2007, and have participated in French, Dutch, Canadian, Brazilian and British TV and radio documentaries, most notably for BBC 2 and BBC Radio 4. My interest is mainly the many Oxford realities which are hidden away within the apparent fantasy of the ‘Alice’ books, an angle which has enabled me to lecture on this internationally famous topic as far away as Assam in India. Subsequently, my appreciation of Carroll’s versatility as a mathematician, photographer, inventor, diarist, and letter writer has grown steadily over the years.
An appraisal of a world-famous Oxford story from a new angle: the fundamental influence of the River Thames in the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Lewis Carroll (the Christ Church don Charles Dodgson) entertained Alice Liddell and her sisters (the daughters of the Dean) with impromptu stories on rowing trips over seven summers, and it was on the river that the story of Alice had its birth.
Alice in Waterland sets the Oxford scene by combining excerpts from Carroll’s diaries and both Alice books with contemporary images, memoirs, and fiction on a literary journey of discovery along some ten miles of the picturesque river of which ‘the merry crew’ were all so fond. The book also sheds new light, and corrects some long-standing misconceptions, on the real places, people, and events which stimulated Carroll’s extraordinary imagination. "This is a splendid book." Philip Pullman
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Actually, it is ten books, covering 1855 to 1897 (with a reconstruction of the missing journals of April 1858 to May 1862 – their disappearance being the cause of countless conspiracy theories!). These diaries are the principal source of practically every piece of Lewis Carroll/Alice analysis that has ever been published, and provide a uniquely revealing chronology of the genesis of one of the world’s classic works of literature. These volumes mean that the enigmatic genius of Lewis Carroll is not the sole preserve of academics or historians; through them, he becomes accessible to us all. Transcribed and fully indexed by Edward Wakeling, a renowned world expert, whose extraordinarily detailed and insightful bibliographical and contextual notes provide an unparalleled insight into Victorian Oxford (London, Surrey, Yorkshire, Sussex, and more).
Some of these volumes are hard to get, but there are some remaining copies at the Lewis Carroll Society if interested.
We think you will like Oliver Twist, The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England, and Some Danger Involved if you like this list.
From Tim's list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart.
From Darren's list on dangerous spirits.
A neglected classic of popular history. This book taught me things about the history of magic that now seem so obvious and important that I wonder how I missed them before. Ryrie tells the story of the fraudulent magician Gregory Wisdom, whose deception of a Tudor nobleman led to allegations of attempted murder by witchcraft. More broadly, he reveals a world in which the widespread acceptance of occult phenomena made counterfeit magic alluringly credible, and charlatans co-existed with “genuine” practitioners of magic. I know of no other book that describes the twilight world of fake and real sorcery with such vividness and insight.
From John's list on British mysteries of the Victorian Era.
For those who prefer their mysteries to be driven by British proprieties and comforts set against compelling social issues, Will Thomas is a must-read author.
The reader is taken downstairs and up, through gritty back alleys and up Pall Mall. You learn the city of London and its history via vivid conversation, prose, and action. I have read them all with pleasure. Listening to the audiobooks becomes necessary when you wish to immerse yourself in the varied accents, narrated by the wonderful Antony Ferguson. The mysteries are each of them excellent, but Barker and Llewellyn, enquiry agents extraordinaire, along with the supportive characters, become like dear friends with whom you wish to revisit regularly.