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Introduced by the Revd. M. Vine on 15 April 1997
Michael Vine is Vicar of Llantilio Pertholey, Abergavenny, a former Naval Chaplain and a Member
of the Lewis Carroll Society. He went up to Christ Church a century after Lewis Carroll, read Mathematics
and Physics and was ordained in 1960.
Mr Vine thought it vital to place Carroll in his context, the third child and eldest boy of the marriage
of the Revd. Charles Dodgson and Frances Lutwidge, named Charles Lutwidge Dobson, born in rural
isolation in Daresbury, Cheshire. His father's preferment to Croft, N. Yorkshire led to his going to school
locally, then to Rugby and from there to Christ Church, Oxford in 1851, where he stayed until his death in
Carroll's literary style was developed from an early age in his family's magazines. The name Lewis
Carroll, invented in 1856, being reserved for the Alice books, the Snark, Sylvie and Bruno and his poems, but
also, strangely, for his books on Symbolic Logic. He used his own name on his mathematical books and
He was innovative in his children's books, breaking new ground by allowing children to be
themselves. In this he was somewhat subversive. His use of language was original, inventing several new
words. His works were all imbued with a strange use of logic. His own position as a logician has recently
been reviewed (his work was not published until 1977), revealing the value of his pioneering efforts.
Reference was made not only to Carroll's own works, much of which has not been out of print, but
to the many books written on him, e.g. by Martin Gardner and the letters edited by Morton Cohen and the
latter's recent definitive biography.