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Lewis Carroll

On 14 January 1898 Lewis Carroll, the British author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, died. Carroll passed away five months before Escher was born. Although their paths never crossed, the author and the artist have a lot in common. Both were addicted to long walks, both were obsessed by documenting the minutiae of their daily life, both were mad about chess and intrigued by game elements and by using these in their work.

Lewis Carroll with lens, London, by O. G. Rejlander, 1863. The Morgan Library & Museum
Escher in 1924

The chess-field from Through the Looking Glass, illustration by John Tenniel
Illustration by Ralph Steadman

Escher was fascinated by the mirrors and the toying with perspective in the Alice books. Scientific journalist Martin Gardner, author of The Annotated Alice, brought the two together. Escher corresponded with Gardner about mathematical elements in his work and the similarities with Lewis Carroll. Douglas R. Hofstadter saw these too and gave his famous Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid a fitting subtitle: A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll.
Illustration by Peter Newell
Martin Gardner, The Annotated Alice, 150th anniversary edition

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