Alice in Wonderland and New Math: A Connection?

When I wrote my book Spiritual Maturity: The Road to Wonderland, I made the conscious decision to introduce each chapter with a quotation and picture from Lewis Carroll's famous books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I didn't choose these works because there was some special spiritual significance in the text. If I was looking for some deep underlying meaning I would have been driven to Lewis or Tolkien. Both of these scholars self-conciously wrote their fiction with a Christian worldview in mind.

No, I chose Alice simply because…well…I like Alice. That's it. Nothing more to see. Move along folks.

What has surprised me since the publication of Spiritual Maturity is how often people suddenly see spiritual significance in a book that I've always considered wonderful nonsense. I just picked portions that illustrated a single point that I was trying to explain in a chapter. I was making no claim to a coherent message of the works themselves.

So color me surprised when I came across this interesting article by a DPhil candidate out of Oxford.

Melanie Bayley claims that the conservative mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) of Christ Church College, Oxford, wrote much of the book as a satire of what he considered the nonsensical theories being proposed at the time. Those who know me won't be surprised when I state that I'm unable to reproduce her argument here. My wife is the numbers person in the family. 

Still, even for someone who has forgotten most of the math he ever learned (even though, through an act of divine providence I squeaked out an "A," not once, but twice in college Calculus) I found this article an interesting read. You should check it out.

Alice's adventures in algebra: Wonderland Solved.