Lewis Carroll

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

"I think a Christmas-card, drawn by the child herself who sends it, is worth ever so much more than a bought one."
Lewis Carroll, Letter to Edith [Blakemore], 27 Dec. 1881

An attitude with which I can wholeheartedly agree.

Math puzzle for Wilton John Rix

Lewis Carroll wrote this cute puzzle for the eldest son of a good friend.

[To] Mr. Wilton Rix, Esq., P.M., L.S.D., P.P.C., etc., etc., Bank House, Beccles

May 20, 1885
Honoured Sir,
Understanding you to be a distinguished algebraist (i.e. distinguished from other algebraists by different face, different height, etc.) I beg to submit to you a difficulty which distresses me much.
If x and y are each equal to "1," it is plain that 2 × (x² – y²) = 0, and also that 5 × (x - y) = 0. Hence 2 × (x² – y²) = 5 × (x – y).
Now divide each side of this equation by (x – y).
Then 2 × (x + y) = 5.
But (x + y) = (1 + 1), i.e. = 2.
So that 2 × 2 = 5.
Ever since this painful fact has been forced upon me, I have not slept more than 8 hours a night, and have not been able to eat more than 3 meals a day.
I trust you will pity me and will kindly explain the difficulty to
Your obliged,
Lewis Carroll

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