A load of nonsense The plot makes no sense at all. The characters are silly and totally unbelievable. The story is far-fetched. In short, the whole thing is a load of nonsense! These are not opinions that any author would normally want a reader to give about a novel he has written. A writer hearing these things said about his work would probably never write another word again. But that wasn't the case with English Victorian writer, Lewis Carroll. Words like 'silly', 'illogical' and 'nonsense' were just what he wanted to hear readers say about his books. Best-selling silliness Victorian children loved Carroll's books because they were absurd and irrational, very much unlike the deadly serious books they had to read at school or were expected to read at home by their parents. Carroll's most famous work, Alice in Wonderland, was an instant hit when it was published in 1865, and it has been a best-seller ever since. Alice has never been out of print, has been translated into more than 100 different languages and there have been 21 different movie versions. Not bad for a load of nonsense! Two names, one man You might think that the person who wrote one of the world's most amusing books and created some of fiction's most ridiculous characters would be a laugh-a-minute man, but you would be wrong. Carroll (1832-1898) was a successful, serious mathematics lecturer at one of the world's famous universities. And Lewis Carroll wasn't even his real name. He was really Charles Dodgson, and he taught at Christ Church College, Oxford University. Unmarried, Dodgson was great friends with the Dean of Christ Church, Henry Liddell, and his three young daughters. He used to entertain the girls by telling them stories about a girl called Alice who fell down a rabbit hole into a very strange world. The middle Liddell girl, whose name just happened to be Alice, persuaded Dodgson to write the stories down, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was eventually published under the pen name Lewis Carroll in 1865. It was an immediate hit, but Dodgson/Carroll was never tempted to give up his day job. He worked at Oxford University until his death in 1898. Down the rabbit hole and back up Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen and Edward Cullen were not the first fictional sensations to get a sequel after their first story hit the big time. Alice was so popular back in the mid-1860s that Carroll had almost no option but to bring her back again. But fans had to wait for six years before Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There was published. Carroll did not want to repeat too much of his original hit, so this time Alice steps through the mirror in her bedroom wall into a very odd, alternative world. Here she meets another wonderful cast of bizarre characters like the Jabberwocky, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Red Queen and Humpty Dumpty. After Alice In 1876, Carroll left Alice behind and wrote The Hunting of the Snark, a long, nonsense adventure poem about a gang of misfits who set off to track down the world's only snark. This bizarre hunting crew all have jobs starting with the letter B. Why? Don't ask! The Bellman, Bonnet Maker, Barrister, Baker, Broker, Billiard-Marker, Butcher, Banker and Baker are joined on their hunting trip by a Beaver. When the diverse bunch gets to the land of the snark, they split up and have adventures of their own. What is a snark, and why is the gang hunting it? By now, if you are a fan of Carroll, these are the sort of questions you will know not to ask! Snark did not have anything like the success of the two Alice books, but that didn't matter because Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll had already earned himself a unique place in literature. Carroll proved stories don't have to make sense for us to love them.