Dodgson and the Thirty-Nine Articles


Lewis Carroll: Formed by Faith by Charlie Lovett, November 2022


As for Carroll’s religious views, what did Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles mean to the Deacon Dodgson? There is material available on Dodgson and the Thirty-Nine Articles. Karoline Leach (2002, her comment in a Yahoo discussion group quoted by,>religion):

Apart from Cohen, no biographer has addressed the ambiguities of Dodgson’s religious life. Almost as many misconceptions and myths surround it as do his emotional and sexual life. The story has been told repeatedly that he possessed a ‘simple piety’ and a complete loyalty to the Anglican Church. That this is simply not true is clear from a reading of his diaries and his letters.

But the problem is Dodgson never left a clear statement of his very personal religious views. All we have is a scattering of observations, comments, hints and semi ‘confessions’, which leave us realising his views were anything but ‘simple’.

The idea of comparing this scattering of commentary to the 39 Articles, which was the very backbone of ‘orthodox’ Anglicanism of the time, strikes me as brilliant. It would be the first ever attempt to bring a structural analysis to where Dodgson stood in relation to the Anglican Church. Considering his position as a lecturer at Oxford, who ought to have been in holy orders but wasn’t, this is of considerable biographical importance, and might help get a much clearer view of Dodgson the man.


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