Aquatics, Play, and Eroticism

Beside the Seaside with Lewis Carroll

in Critical Survey
John Bale Keele University

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This article explores some of the sports and leisure activities of Lewis Carroll. He is well known for his playfulness in his writings but relatively few works have explored what he was doing in his holiday time. Away from the ivory towers of Oxford University, he would travel to the south coast to explore the seaside towns such as Brighton and Eastbourne. He was well aware of the games and sports of the Victorian age and acquired an interest in aquatics. He was interested in young girls and watched then playing on the beach, recording them in his diary. As a spectator it is impossible to know what his motives were but they suggest that play has a negative side – i.e., the player being played with.

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