ABSTRACT

Best known as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Th rough the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found Th ere (1871), Lewis Carroll (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was a man of many interests and accomplishments: a mathematics don at Christ Church, Oxford, a Church of England priest, a pioneer photographer and an ardent theatregoer.1 It was not until he was twenty-four that Carroll ventured inside a professional theatre, the Princess’s in London’s Oxford Street where the manager, Charles Kean, was succeeding in attracting the respectable middle-classes to a form of entertainment that they had long regarded as morally suspect. Lavish Shakespeare revivals painstakingly researched for historical accuracy in sets, costumes, etc. were the hallmark of Kean’s productions, but he also engaged a strong acting company of which juvenile performers were a particular feature, most notably the precocious talent of the Terry sisters, Kate and Ellen. Carroll’s connection with Ellen Terry stretched over four decades from 16 June 1856,2 when in Kean’s revival of Shakespeare’s Th e Winter’s Tale he ‘especially admired the acting of little Mamillius, Ellen Terry, a beautiful little creature, who played with remarkable ease and spirit’,3 to 26 August 1897, within a few months of his death at the age of sixty-six on 14 January 1898, when, whilst on his annual summer holiday in Eastbourne, he ‘Went to the Albion, where Ellen Terry is now staying’,4 the reason being that her daughter Edith Craig was appearing there on tour with Janet Achurch (Mrs Charrington). Carroll regularly visited the two Eastbourne theatres, but does not seem to have attended either A Doll’s House or Candida,5 avoiding them as he did all plays by Ibsen and Shaw.