Friday, August 08, 2008

Lewis Carroll

Until I stumbled across it earlier this week on wikipedia, I never knew that Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland) is credited with inventing word ladders. Lewis Carroll wasn't actually his real name, but a pseudonym created by translating his first two names (Charles Lutwidge) into Latin (which gives you Carolus Ludovicus apparently), switching the order of the two names, then translating them back into English*.

To find out what your name would be in Latin, have a look at this site (though some of the names it comes up with are a bit lame), or for a more serious look at Roman names you can try here- scroll down to the bottom of the page for tips on Latinising your own name.

Lewis Carroll's other notable link to the Classics is that the character of Alice seems to have been in some sense based on or inspired by Alice Liddell, the daughter of Henry Liddell, who helped write the Liddell and Scott Classical Greek dictionary, still in use today. I was sure he was also somehow related to Charlton T Lewis, who wrote most of the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary, but I can't find any evidence- even on wikipedia.

*[Carolus is the Latin equivalent of Charles, which is why Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus in Latin) is known as a Carolingian king, and if Prince Charles ever becomes king we will be living in Carolingian times.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And another link, of course, is that both Alice books have been translated into Latin ; the full text of ALICIA IN TERRA MIRABILI can be found here.