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The contemplation of life forms turns out to be frustratingly abstract; the creatures are as unpredictable as unsolved problems. And like most anomalous specimens and unappeasable desires, they seem to have gone extinct before their proper time, as witness the Dodo and borogrove. ”18 In this sense, Wonderland is a belated nineteenth-century ecosystem, a pastoral mathematical formula on the verge of logical extinction. In this system, determinism, as an immutable law, is being subjected to the twentieth century’s “laws” of chance.
Is a paradoxical form of looking back. ”1 The Alice books manage to show both these quests—that of the child to look forward, and of the adult to look back—simultaneously, as mirror logics of each other. Like both Freud and the surrealists, Carroll implicitly understood that a child’s emotions and desires appear omnipotent and boundless to the child—and thus make the adult’s forgetting of them difficult if not illogical. Growing up poses psychological and logical absurdities. The quandary of a logically grounded knowledge constituted out of an illogical universe pervades both books.
Which is to be master—that’s all” (p. 219). Lewis Carroll was a teacher of symbolic logic at Oxford, and he loved to make mathematical knots for his pupils to wriggle out of. Carroll’s fondness for mathematical puzzles and classical logic admits of both the curious and trivial. He found logical problems and amusements in port prices, postal calculations, even lawn tennis. In 1883 he published a pamphlet, Lawn Tennis Tournaments, in which he proved, logically of course, that a player who lost in the first round might find that the finalist was an inferior player to herself.