In the Shadow of the Dreamchild  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll is a 1999 book by British author Karoline Leach that posited the concept of the "Carroll Myth": the idea that many of the most famous aspects of Lewis Carroll's biography, including his supposed adoration of Alice Liddell, are more legend than fact.

Its main contentions are:

  • Lewis Carroll was not 'exclusively focused' on female children as has been claimed by all previous biographers
  • He did not 'lose interest' in girls over the age of 14, and that many of his so-called 'child-friends' had actually been grown women
  • Alice Liddell was not 'the real Alice', and that Carroll was never in love with her, or asked to marry her
  • His relationships with adult women have been consistently under-examined and misreported
  • His life was haunted by an unnamed pain that may have involved a guilty love affair

The book has had considerable impact on Carroll studies and reactions to it have been very polarised.

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