Charles Lutwidge Dodgson He embarked on a path in his life that many believed led directly to the absurd. More towards the caricature than the portrait and always behind the mirror than in front of its reflection. His life began and ended in January, and without a doubt, he reached one of the best places: literary immortality.
Born on January 27, 1832 in England, in the county of Cheshire -Like his famous cat-, Charles was the third of the eight children of the Dodgson marriage, and the first son. Since he was a child, he had exasperating shyness, chronic insomnia, deafness in his right ear and a stutter that would make him suffer the unspeakable.
However, there is no defect that is not accompanied by some gift: the first occupation of his life, as well as his favorite fun, was mathematics. And the endless nights he spent awake were spent wondering and deciphering problems. Later, she opted for the written word, which consoled her stumbling blocks with the spoken word and transformed her extraordinary shyness into a social circle based on deep friendships with children. Especially little girls. He understood them perfectly. He easily took part in their games; he always made up some new ones and told them stories. Then he decided to write them and they saw the light, published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
The story of his most famous text is true: In 1862, in the course of one of his usual walks with the little Alice Liddell and his two sisters, he told them a wonderful story: “Alice’s Underground Adventures.” Already written they were part of a book that was published in 1865, with the title “Alice in Wonderland.” It was a best-seller and he soon wrote a sequel, titled Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).
His literary history may have ended there, but Carroll he continued to write texts: all combinations of fantasy, nonsense and absurdity with incisive logical and mathematical paradoxes, still others with an incredible waste of poetry. Suffice as an example to mention “Fantademagoria”, a treatise on how to deal with a ghost, with its respective advice for the ghost: “No ghost with common sense, start a conversation” and useful precautions for haunted property owners: “The houses are classified, I have the honor to tell you, according to the number of ghosts they harbor. The tenant hardly counts as cargo, along with coal and other junk. “
Carroll, who died on January 14, 1898, – tomorrow on our watches – was a fervent believer that in the world, it was six o’clock all the time. At the end of the road he wrote: “If so, so it had been and if so, so it could be; but since it was not, it had not been and perhaps that is why nothing had ever been ”. Pure logic.
Only a few years older than Lewis Carroll, also the son of January but born in 1809 across the ocean, in Boston, Massachusetts, another writer found his way through the stories and grappled with time and his circumstances in different ways: “Five years in perspective,” he wrote in The week of three Sundays – they are the same as five hundred ”. Time is like that, he thought. Sometimes it stops and everything goes silent. Everything except the voice of the clock. Suddenly the days, weeks and months pass, the seconds go quickly and it turns out that it has already passed, not a year, not five, but two hundred and thirteen. The ones that I would meet Edgar Allan Poe next Wednesday the 19th if he was still alive.
Like any respected writer – for interesting, for forced, for mysterious or for classic – Poe brings along a fame that sometimes drags him down and ends up devastating everything. The books assure that he was the first teacher of the short story of terror and mystery and the initiator of the detective story. Suffice it to mention his works such as “The Golden Beetle”, “The crimes of Morgue Street” – where the identity of the murderer spooks the readers-, “The mystery of Marie Rogêt” and “The stolen letter”.
However, despite such fame, Poe also wrote a significant number of essays, all renowned for their intelligence and depth. So much so that even today, his thoughts on the nature of fiction and the art of writing have a great influence on contemporary literary theory.
“If I were asked for an extremely brief definition of the term Art – Poe wrote in Marginalia – I would say that it is the reproduction of what the senses appreciate in nature through the mantle of the soul. (…) But the mere imitation, however tight, of what exists in nature, does not confer on anyone the sacred name of artist. There is still more: as the first element the thirst for supreme beauty ”.
Poe spent his entire life creating a literary world to reflect the real world and he did not describe it as a dream of incredible literary beauty, he related what the horrible nightmare of being awake was like. And also, perhaps, how to deal with all the clocks that never stopped and always passed six o’clock.