Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/156

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Dodgson
Dodson
144

nonsense vein was 'The Hunting of the Snark,' 1876, a bewildering story in verse, technically as brilliant as anything its author wrote, the meaning of which, however, still defies students. The theory that it is an allegory of the pursuit of fame has perhaps most favour. Not until 1889 did 'Sylvie and Bruno,' Dodgson's next book for children, appear, to be followed in 1893 by 'Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.' This story cannot be called successful. The author attempted to do two things at once : he tried to write a drolly fanciful story for children, after his known manner, and also to provide their elders with theological dogma. Though the book exhibits his deeply religious mind in a beautiful light, and shows now and again that his powers of comic invention had not weakened, it remains divided against itself.

Besides the fanciful works which Dodgson issued under his familiar pseudonym of Lewis Carroll, he made many serious contributions in his own name to mathematical literature; but, despite the true greatness of his mathematical talent, the limited character of his reading in mathematics deprived most of his published mathematical work of genuine value. The native acuteness and ingenuity of his intellect led him to devote much attention to formal logic, in whose intricate puzzles he delighted, and he almost seemed to have convinced himself that it was an engine for the discovery of new truth, instead of a means of detecting error that more could be got out of the premisses than was put into them. But this failing did not hamper him in dealing with a subject in which he was especially interested elementary geometry. Perhaps it even added to the enthusiasm with which he pursued its study. His one valuable contribution to mathematics is 'Euclid and his Modern Rivals' (London, 1879). Many, excusably, refused to accept the book seriously; it was dedicated to the memory of Euclid, and thrown into dramatic form, while scattered up and down it were many jokes, which would have been more numerous but for the criticism of friends to whom the proof-sheets were shown. But when stripped of its external eccentricities it was a really serious contribution to Euclidian geometry, and went far to vindicate the unique position of Euclid's elements as a first text-book of geometry, by a careful and systematic examination of the various treatises which had been produced by way of substitutes for it.

Besides the books already mentioned, Dodgson wrote: 1. 'Syllabus of Plane Algebraical Geometry,' Oxford, 1860. 2. 'Formulæ of Plane Trigonometry,' Oxford, 1861. 3. 'An Elementary Treatise on Determinants,' London, 1867. 4. 'Phantasmagoria and other Poems,' London, 1876. 5. 'Euclid, Books I and II,' London, 1882. 6. 'Rhyme? or Reason?' (a reprint, with additions, of 'Phantasmagoria' and 'The Hunting of the Snark'), London, 1883. 7. 'The Principles of Parliamentary Representation,' London, 1884. 8. 'A Tangled Tale,' London, 1885. 9. 'The Game of Logic,' London, 1887. 10. 'Curiosa Mathematica,' 3 parts, London, 1888-93. 11. 'The Nursery Alice,' London, 1890. 12. 'Symbolic Logic,' London, 1896.

Dodgson issued from time to time pamphlets on various subjects, such as descriptions of games of intellectual activity that he had invented; hints to mathematical examiners; and advice concerning letter-writing.

[The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, 1898; The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, edited by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, 1899; The Story of Lewis Carroll, by Isa Bowman, 1899; Reminiscences of Oxford, by Rev. W. Tuckwell, 1900, pp. 161-3; Times obituary notice, 15 Jan. 1898; information from the Rev. E. F. Sampson.]

E. V. L.

DODSON, JOHN GEORGE, first Baron Monk-Bretton (1825–1897), politician, born at 12 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London, on 18 Oct. 1825, was the only son of the Right Honourable Sir John Dodson [q. v.] He was educated at Eton from 1838 and gained there in 1841 and 1842 the prince consort's prizes for modern languages. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 9 June 1843, and graduated B.A. in 1847, when he obtained a first class in classics, and M.A. in 1851. In 1853 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn.

On leaving Oxford in 1847 Dodson spent two years in travel in the East, going as far as Baghdad, and on his return journey visiting Albania and Montenegro. He stayed for three months in 1848-9 in Cyprus, and his account of that island, which was then little known, was reproduced in successive editions of Murray's 'Handbook' down to 1872. His eastern tour was soon followed by travel in other parts of the world. In 1853 he visited the United States, and during the Crimean war of 1854-5 visited the Crimea. He possessed great facility as a linguist, which he retained through life. An ardent mountaineer, he was a member of the Alpine Club. His narrative of an ascent of 'the passages of the Glacier du Tour