This is one of the most important books published on Lewis Carroll in recent years. Not only does it provide the reader with access to rare materials, most of which have never previously been reprinted, but Dr. Abeles’ commentary provides an unparalleled look at Dodgson’s involvement in the spheres of politics and voting theory.
The book is divided into four sections, each with its own introductory essay. “Fairness in Elections” reprints Dodgson’s pamphlets on voting procedure. The next section, “Rationality in Sports,” contains Dodgson’s writing on Tennis Tournaments and on betting. In some cases, Dodgson’s letters to the editor of the St. James’s Gazette mention the opinions of other correspondents, and Abeles has included these other letters as well, giving the reader a complete view of Dodgson’s work in context and of the response to it. “Proportional Representation” also includes letters by Dodgson’s contemporaries that respond to and elaborate upon his arguments. This section also contains Dodgson’s major work Principles of Parliamentary Representation. A short section of “Political Humor” finishes the book, but previous sections are not without their humor. Many of the pieces reprinted here show that Dodgson could use his Carrollian wit even on a seemingly dry topic.
Prof. Abeles’ general introduction is a major reconsideration of Dodgson as a political scientist, considers his political activism, and puts his theories in the context of the history of political science. A major scholarly contribution to the fields of Victorian political theory and Carrollian studies, The Political Pamphlets and Letters of Charles Dodgson will be an important addition to libraries from the largest university to the most modest Lewis Carroll enthusiast. Includes 28 rare Lewis Carroll items reprinted, most for the first time; 9 items by his contemporaries reprinted, showing their reactions to his ideas; and 5 introductory essays by Prof. Francine Abeles, providing a new view of Dodgson and politics.