Blending Logic and Imagination: The Puzzle Art of Lewis Carroll


Marcel Danesi, PhD
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Series: Fine Arts, Music and Literature
BISAC: LIT009000

Lewis Carroll is known mainly for his children’s novels and poems. Throughout these ingenious works he interspersed riddles, math and logic games, and a host of other puzzles, reflecting his interest in the ludic (playful) imagination. It is not widely known that Carroll is one of the greatest puzzle makers of history, composing them not only for children, but also for adults in magazines, periodicals, and books. One of his puzzle masterpieces is the so-called doublet puzzle, which he wrote for Vanity Fair, and is still one of the most loved wordplay games to this day. There have been various anthologies of Carroll’s puzzles in recent decades, but virtually no study of their importance as part of a unique “puzzle art” exists. This book aims to examine this art as it manifests itself in Carroll’s many puzzle creations, both within his novels, and in his many other writings. It dissects the blend of logic and imagination that he employs in creating riddles, anagrams, acrostics, math puzzles, logic games, and a host of other puzzle genres—all of which are discussed in the book. The main theme is that Carroll’s literary writings cannot be truly grasped without taking into account his puzzle art.



Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Puzzles of Lewis Carroll

Chapter 2. Riddles, Anagrams, and Acrostics

Chapter 3. The Doublet

Chapter 4. Logic

Chapter 5. Mathematics

Chapter 6. Miscellaneous

Chapter 7. Nonsense



Audience: General audience
The Lewis Carroll Associations mentioned above
Any organization that sees puzzles as important

Keywords: Lewis Carroll, puzzles, doublets, recreational mathematics, nonsense literature

Additional information