Looking Autism in the Face: Two New Perspectives on the Spectrum HTML version
This book was conceived as two separate items, one a journal article about Charles Dodgson,
Alice Liddell, and autistic friendships; the other a book of famous examples of a particular sort of
autistic, intended to demonstrate what these special people are like.
Unfortunately, the journal article grew out of control, and the book was hampered by the fact
that I couldn’t find enough information about one of the people I wanted to include. So I had
one item too long to be a journal article, and another too short to be a book, both about autism.
What could be more logical than combining them as two articles in one package?
The one complication is that the two contain common material. The section “Charles Lutwidge
Dodgson: The Case for Autism” in The Hidden Hall of Fame is almost identical to the chapter ““A
thought so dread, he faintly said, Extinguishes All Hope’: Charles Dodgson and Autism” in
Alice’s Evidence. There is truly no reason to read both. So you can take any of several approaches:
• If you are interested in autism and autistics in general, read The Hidden Hall of Fame in its
entirety, then skip to “‘He stole those tarts, And took them right away’: The Accusation” in
• If you are interested specically in autistic friendships, the strange, intense, troubling
relationships experienced by autistics, read Alice’s Evidence in its entirety.
• If you are interested specically in Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll, and know the details
of his life in outline, read Alice’s Evidence in its entirety.
• If you are interested in Dodgson and don’t know his history, read the Introduction to The
Hidden Hall of Fame and the opening section on Dodgson in that book, then skip to “‘He
stole those tarts, And took them right away’: The Accusation” in Alice’s Evidence.
• If you want to read about some famous and important music-and-mathematics autistics,
read The Hidden Hall of Fame and skip Alice’s Evidence.
This book is really only a first draft. Alice’s Evidence is mostly nished, but I had hoped to make
The Hidden Hall of Fame much more complete. There are many more famous scientists, such as
Albert Einstein and Henry Cavendish, who surely belong here (although my goal was to include
only one example of each sort of “expression” of music-and-math-and-language autism). Many
musicians, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, have been proposed as examples of the type. Several of
us suspect that Francis James Child, perhaps the greatest scholar of folk music who ever lived,
was autistic. Hans Christian Anderson has also been suggested, and Emily Dickinson. President
James A. Gareld showed overwhelming signs of autism, and he was probably the most
intelligent (though hardly the most successful) president in American history. Male autistics are
more common than female, but there are some of the latter, and it would be nice to include them.
But to research all those people would take more time than I thought I had. Being myself
autistic, I want people to see this work, and perhaps start to understand autistic friendships —
and to eliminate the many vile speculations that have arisen about Charles Dodgson over the