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-baw 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: 2018-09-15

Wombats and Woodchucks

The drawing depicts Dante Gabriel Rossetti lamenting the death of his second wombat. Mary Hibbs (pen names: Mary Hammond and Sandra Mann) made me aware of the image and of the possibility that the Beaver in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark could have been a reference to Rossetti’s wombat.

The fame of Rossetti’s Wombat is lasting much longer than that poor animal itself, after having been transported for its short life from Australia to Chelsea. But there also was a “Canadian marmot or woodchuck” in Rosetti’s estate in Chelsea, where he moved into the Tudor House in 1862. Actually, Rosetty had two wombats. We also learned from Angus Trumble (Rossetti’s Wombat: A Pre-Raphaelite Obsession in Victorian England, 2003-04-16) that Rosetti had a little zoo in his garden aas well as friends living in his big house like the “deeply unattractive poet and semi-professional sadomasochist Algernon Charles Swinburne — who liked to slide naked down the banisters giest”. I guess that Rosetti’s mini-zoo was kept not even semi-professionally, but together with his friends and his dormouse, Rosetti surely was well prepared for mad tea parties. (See also: G.A.H.! (Gardner’s Annotations Hyperlinked) – The Dormouse and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Wombat, LCNSA.)

In The Hunting of the Snark, the Beaver was the Bellman‘s pet and became the Butcher‘s friend. Can anything from the real world be associated with that Beaver-Bellman-Butcher triple? This might expand the Snark matrix, a matrix with elements from The Hunting of the Snark in its rows and elements from the real world in its columns.

Douglas Young’s Snark

MusicWeb international, by Gary Higginson:

Douglas YOUNG (b.1947)
The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits)
Narrator – Peter Easton
Douglas Young – Piano and Percussion
The Leicestershire Chorale and Members of the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra/Peter Fletcher
rec. Bosworth College, Desford, 14 March 1982
CAMEO CLASSICS CC9106 [53.21]

… … …

What is so marvellous is how well the young instrumental musicians at the time, played and clearly reacted to the music (their names are listed in the booklet) and my colleague at the time on MusicWeb, John Whitmore, is quoted as saying “the playing is good absolute rather than good considering”, I can’t improve on those words.

The booklet contains the original, Monty Python type, illustrations you find in any good copy of the poem, by Henry Holiday (d.1927) as well as the complete Carroll text and biographies of the performers but no composer’s note on the work.

Mounty Python type! I like that.

Besides Lewis Carroll’s textual allusions and Henry Holiday’s pictorial allusions, I now also found a piece with musical allusions. Accompanying the Bellman’s “That English is what you speak” with Greensleeves is clear, whereas I don’t know whether Young meant to allude to Schnittke when I heared Schnittke. Then again, to choose Silent Night to accompany the Baker’s gruesome end is wonderfully naughty.

As far as I know, this recording is in the market since 2014. From MusicWeb it received three reviews, with Paul Corfield Godfrey‘s review inbetween Whitmore‘s and Higginson‘s reviews. As a layman I would like to add to these that if I ever would dare to try to learn The Hunting of the Snark by heart, I would use this recording to help me memorizing the text.

 

Remark: The links in the quoted text from MusicWeb had been added in snrk.de and were not part of the original text.

Media data: Libraries Australia

Snark Taming

Warren Buffet @warrenbuffet99 2018-08-26 15:18 UTC

The smartest people I know:

1   Don’t get easily offended
2   Read more than they talk
3   Enjoy intelligent discourse
4   Quickly admit when they’re wrong
5   Comfortable changing their opinion
6   Surround themselves w/ intelligence
7   Seek to understand every perspective on a topic

 


The Snark is not necessarily evil.

197    “He remarked to me then,” said that mildest of men,
198        “ ‘If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
199    Fetch it home by all means—you may serve it with greens,
200        And it’s handy for striking a light.

Let’s strike a light and help the Snark not to turn into a Boojum: Snark taming.

A Snark Meme

Applicable to leaders of the leaders of the Breakit and to other stable geniuses:

Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.

“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.”

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
    A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
    When a vessel is, so to speak, “snarked.”

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
    And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
    That the ship would not travel due West!

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
    That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
    And that was to tingle his bell.

 


Meme!


Snarks Have Five Unmistakable Marks

As I reported in the Associations Blaster (2014-03-08), Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Henry Holiday kept a Snark as a pet. They fed it with »greens«, but as growing greens led to horrible electricity bills, Dodgson and Holiday could not afford to keep their Snark any longer. It took many years until 2014, before in Colorado planting greens became legal and affordable enough to breed Snarks again. I assumed then that we would see more of these beasts in the future.
        Since I predicted that in 2014, more and more biotopes for Snarks had been created, not only in Colorado. The top of the tide seems to have been approached in 2017, when the White House too became a habitat especially for those Snarks, who were able to quickly adapt to such a challenging environment: In order to survive there, Snarks now are born as Boojums right away.

Luckily, there still are regions where most Snarks just are Snarks (Audio):

    “Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
        The five unmistakable marks
    By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
        The warranted genuine Snarks.

    Let us take them in order.

  1.     “The first is the taste,
            Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
        Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
            With a flavour of Will-o’-the-wisp.
  2.     “Its habit of getting up late you’ll agree
            That it carries too far, when I say
        That it frequently breakfasts at five-o’clock tea,
            And dines on the following day.
  3.     “The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
            Should you happen to venture on one,
        It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
            And it always looks grave at a pun.
  4.     “The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
            Which it constantly carries about,
        And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes –
            A sentiment open to doubt.
  5.     “The fifth is ambition.
    1.  
       
       
          It next will be right
              To describe each particular batch:
          Distinguishing
             
      those that have feathers, and bite,
             
      And those that have whiskers, and scratch.

          “For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
              Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
          Some are Boojums –” The Bellman broke of in alarm,
              For the Baker had fainted away.
       

       
          “He remarked to me then,” said that mildest of men,
              “ ‘If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
          Fetch it home by all means – you may serve it with greens,
              And it’s handy for striking a light.

          “ ‘You may seek it with thimbles—and seek it with care;
              You may hunt it with forks and hope;
          You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
              You may charm it with smiles and soap –’ ”

          (“That’s exactly the method,” the Bellman bold
              In a hasty parenthesis cried,
          “That’s exactly the way I have always been told
              That the capture of Snarks should be tried!”)

       
      Among the forks mentioned above (used to hunt the Snark and carried by this landing crew of a naval expedition) is a tuning fork. Charles Darwin used a tuning-fork to let spiders dance and, for dissection (don’t tell the spiders), lace-needles together with his microscope. And, just in case that the maker of the Ocean Chart missed something, a telescope can be quite helpful.

       
      2017-09-18, edited: 2018-08-26

His Hair

Henry Holiday interpreted “his hair” in

001    “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
002        As he landed his crew with care;
003    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
004        By a finger entwined in his hair.

as the Banker’s hair, not as the Bellman’s hair. That also seems to be the the common understanding of the ambiguously used pronoun “his” since The Hunting of the Snark was published in 1876.

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