Brexit, Hunting a Fantastical Beast

May government’s Brexit aims were never achievable – we’ve been hunting a fantastical beast all along
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The Snark – the beastly figment of imagination created by Lewis Carroll.
Image: Segment of an assemblage by G. Kluge of illustrations by C. Martens & T. Landseer, H. Holiday & J. Swain

Michael Keating, University of Aberdeen

 
The Brexit process started in March 2017 with the triggering of Article 50, allowing two years to complete the process. The main story since then has been of postponing difficult decisions in the hope that something would turn up. Ministers have insisted they have a mandate from the people but have struggled to agree on what it entails in practice. Negotiations within the UK government have been as difficult as those with the EU.

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»To haunt a man of forty-two«

“No doubt,” said I, “they settled who
      Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
      Was no great compliment!”

 
In his 29th annotation (MG029) to The Hunting of the Snark, Martin Gardiner stated:

Curiously, Carroll refers to his age as 42 in his poem Phantasmagoria (Canto 1, Stanza 16) though at the time [1869 or earlier] the poem was written, he was still in his thirties. The number 42 certainly seems to have had some sort of special significance for Carroll.

To me that simply means that for Carroll the number 42 does not refer to his own age.

Martin Gardner’s Snark Annotations

Today I start to refer to Martin Gardner’s annotations to The Hunting of the Snark in a more systematical way. Admittedly, I should have done that much earlier. I didn’t read the annotations carefully enough. As an example, Martin Gardner annotated (MG058) to The Hunting of the Snark that Elizabeth Sewell pointed out in The Field of Nonsense (1973) that a line in Carroll’s poem has a similarity to a line in a limerick by Edward Lear. I found that in Google.

I should have mentioned Elizabeth Sewell in my article Nose is a Nose is a Nose in the LCSNA Kight Letter № 99, Fall 2017, p. 30~31.

MG058” stands for the 58th annotation in the annotated Snark and links to articles and blog entries which contain issues to which Gardener had referred. In this case it is about Lewis Carroll’s and Edward Lear’s waistcoat poetry.

MG0” leads you to all entries in snrk.de which refer to issues addressed by Martin Gardner.

9.5±0.5 Snark Hunters

There is no tenth member in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. I think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. Let us take them in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
  3. The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
  4. The Broker, to value their goods.
  5. The Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, might perhaps have won more than his share. From John Tufail I learned that in Henry Holiday’s illustration the Billiard-marker is preparing a cheat.
  6. The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
  7. The Beaver, that paced on the deck or would sit making lace in the bow and had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, though none of the sailors knew how.
  8. The Baker, also addressed by “Fry me!”, “Fritter my wig!”, “Candle-ends” as well as “Toasted-cheese”, and known for joking with hyenas and walking paw-in-paw with a bear.
  9. The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend with the lace-making animal.

9 or 10 hunters? | Care and Hope | The Snark

 
2017-11-06, edited: 2018-11-07

Arne Nordheim’s Snark

Among all Snark music known to me, Arne Nordheim’s The Return of the Snark – For Trombone And Tape is my favorite. Nordheim composed this 15 minutes piece in the year 1987. Gaute Vikdal plays the trombone.

The recording is part of the 7 CDs album Listen – The Art of Arne Nordheim. There are other recordings of Nordheim’s The Hunting of the Snark available in the Internet, for Trombone only. But I like the Return most.

Mike Batt’s Snark Relaunch

Mike Batt’s latest Snark project is to make the first-ever recording of the FULL-LENGTH version of his musical The Hunting Of The Snark, based on Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsense poem. He invites you in his PledgeMusic campain to support to finance this ambitious recording.

Links:
※ 2018: Facebook | Twitter | PledgeMusic campaign
※ 1987: Twitter | The Hunting Of The Snark – Royal Albert Hall

 
2018-10-15, update: 2018-11-02

Hunting Snarks is innocent and wise!

Even while the blinding bandage lies,
Daughter of a Judge, upon thine eyes,
If the scales thou wield with care
Truth and Justice will declare
Hunting Snarks is innocent and wise!

Inscribed (1876-09-02) with an allusion to Justicia by Lewis Carroll into an edition (now owned by NYU) of The Hunting of the Snark owned by Charlotte Edith Denman, daughter of George Denman.

Source of the acrostic poem:
Rare, Uncollected, Unpublished & Nonexistent Verse of Lewis Carroll, Collected and Annoted by August A. Imholz, Jr. & Edward Wakeling, p. 30, LCSNA 2018, ISBN 978-0-930326-11-1.
The book is available to LCSNA members only.