The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, (published in 1899, London by T. Fisher Unwin) is an anthology of Lewis Carroll's most famous poems and short stories, along with excerpts from his novels, accompanied by obscure drawings and fragments from his private journal entries. Including these private sketches adds depth to Carroll's writing, helping translate the obscure nature of his poetry and prose more clearly to his readers; the whimsical creatures and realms he describes are given an equally quaint physical form in the author's doodles. The editor attempts to provide clarity to avid readers of Carroll, despite the contentious nature of including illustrations in poetic volumes during this period, hence the specification in the title. The book seemingly has educational purposes, and Stuart Dodgson Collingwood's role as editor of this volume is pivotal. Much of the book's informatory value is found in editor's own interpretation's of Carroll's work. Stuart Dodgson Collingwood is the nephew of Lewis Carroll, which is the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Dodgson Collingwood published another successful volume on his uncle's work in 1898, titled The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, (also published through T. Fisher Unwin) which similarly offered its readers insight into the fantastical letters of Lewis Carroll, which were characteristically true to his surreal novels and poetry. T. Fisher Unwin was founded in 1882 and is named after the company's founder, Thomas Fisher Unwin, who had a reputation for publishing books with subject matter that may have been considered risqué during this period. His audaciously liberal business approach established his legacy, as Unwin is credited for launching the careers of notable authors such as H.G. Wells and Joseph Conrad.


This book was found in the McPherson Library on the University of Victoria Campus. The cover of this book is an attractive, bold orange colour with only the title and author written in gold on the spine: however, this cover is almost certainly not the original binding of the book-- the call number of the book (specifically, PR4611 A38D6) is adorned in the same gold font below the title, indicating that the book was likely recovered when a library came into possession of it. The book is nearly 400 pages long, complete with an appendix and index, and the pages are thick and smooth. The aged paper is covered by large, clear font, giving the book a utilitarian feel. The cover of The Lewis Carroll Picture Book is exactly six inches and a half inches in length and four inches in width, which places the book in the formatting category was called in the Victorian Era octodecimo. The size of this volume promotes it as easy to carry, which further enhances its practicality.

The book begins with two blank pages followed by the title centred on the front of the third page. On the back of this page the publisher has included an advertisement for two books that T. Fisher Unwin is releasing as "Gift Books", along with rave reviews of these volumes from news publications, namely the Liverpool Daily Post, New Age, and St. James's Gazette. Throughout this novel, there are photocopies of photographs of Lewis Carroll and his friends and family, along with pages out of his journal which include handwritten passages and original illustrations, the first of which being a portrait of Carroll himself with the description "LEWIS CARROLL (From a photograph.)", which appears on the page to the left of the title page, where, inscribed, is the description:
"A selection from the unpublished writings and drawings of Lewis Carroll, together with reprints from scarce and unacknowledged work".
lewis carroll 2.jpg
LEWIS CARROLL (From a photograph)

lewis carroll1.jpg
Title page with a black silhouette, under which reads "LEWIS CARROLL, (Aged 8)

The next page is adorned with the editor's short dedication, "To my mother", before the table of contents which includes a list of Carroll's included poems, followed by a second table of contents which details where in the book the reader can locate illustrations. The editor's mother is, notably, the sister of Carroll.

"The Jabberwocky"

Throughout the book, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood convincingly aligns his uncle with his writing: he paints Carroll as fanciful, dreamy, and ethereal in nature by displaying his imaginative doodles and thoughts. Carroll wrote creative letters and diary entries, which included puzzles, puns, and characters described throughout his published works. His most famous book, Through the Looking Glass, included his most well known poem, first published in 1871: "The Jabberwocky", or "Stanza of Anglo Saxon Poetry", which is seemingly a nonsense-poem, comprised of words and phrases made up by the author which have no sensible meaning. However, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood offers new insight into this poem by allowing his readers access to a journal entry which sheds light on the meaning of the verse:
The first verse of "The Jabberwocky" can now be translated from the original cryptic Anglo-Saxon writing to mean "It was evening, and the smooth active badgers were scratching and boring holes in the hull side/ All unhappy were the parrots, and the grave turtles squeaked out." (The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, 38).
Page 37 of "The Lewis Carroll Picture Book"
Page 38 of "The Lewis Carroll Picture Book"

Though this excerpt is still absurd in content, the ability to read this literal translation alongside the original provides the reader with a new interpretation. (Read the untranslated verse here.)

Illustrated Poetry in the Victorian Period

Advances in technology made it possible for any given literary volume to be published en masse, thus expanding the book market extensibly. Previously, manuscript copies of a writer's work were limited, due to the laborious effort it took to recreate these volumes; however, following the invention of the printing press, books became less of a luxury item, and, therefore, more accessible to less wealthy households. This caused value to shift from the rarity of a book to its other additive qualities, spurring a tradition of adding corresponding illustrations to increase a books' aesthetic appeal. Publishers encouraged 19th century writers to include pictures alongside their prose and poetry in order to draw in greater profit for themselves: these companies anticipated greater sales of an illustrated volume that of its unembellished counterpart, and were able to attach a higher price tag to each of these lavish copies. Despite this pressure and undeniable popularity, poets were often still hesitant to publish their works accompanied by such adornments due to the notion that visual aids might skew the reader's perception of the verse. The choice of Stuart Dodgson Collingwood to include his uncle's personal sketches indicates an attempt to appeal to the gift book market, and, further, reveals the publisher's own aspiration to profit monetarily from his personal relationship to Lewis Carroll-- notorious author and poet, but lesser-known sketch artist. Through composing this augmented edition of Carroll's most prominent titles, Collingwood undoubtedly capitalized on this pre-established celebrity while simultaneously preserving his uncle's notoriety.

The Lewis Carroll Picture Book is an informative book, written by the nephew of the revered author/poet. It is formatted to be a practical and insightful reference guide to the obscure Victorian era novelist and inventor.

Works Cited
Chapman, Alison. 'Illustrated Poetry', English 386 Course Material, Spring 2016.

Codell, Julie F. 'Unwin, Thomas Fisher (1848-1935)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2015. [, accessed 20 March 2016]

Carroll, Lewis. The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, ed. Stuart Dodgson Collingwood. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1899. Print.

Carroll, Lewis. The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, ed. Stuart Dodgson Collingwood. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1898. Print.

Morton N. Cohen, ‘Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge [Lewis Carroll] (1832–1898)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn,
Sept 2013 [, accessed Feb 14 2016.]

'Book Sizes', Web. [, accessed Feb 15 2016.]
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