Why Donald Trump Can’t Kill the Truth, by Errol Morris, TIME, 2018-05-22:
[…] What is so scary about the present time is that people believe that they can assert truth just by screaming louder than others or repeating themselves endlessly, like the Bellman in Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”: “What I tell you three times is true.” […]
In my view, tweaking the truth is nothing new. But the ability to tweet the tweaked truth makes the difference.
By the way: Morris’ article links to the Poetry Foundation. They do a good job, but Ebooks Adelaide offers a better on-line rendering of the poem. My version is based on an earlier Ebooks Adelaide version.
- [main image]: John Martin, The Bard (ca. 1817); by GIMP: contrast enhanced in the rock area & light areas delated.
- [inset] Henry Holiday (engraver: Joseph Swain), Illustration (1876) to the chapter The Beaver’s Lesson in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, detail
Bycatch (found in 2013) from my Snark hunt:
- [left] from Maurits Cornelis Escher’s Cimino Barbarano, 1929.
- [right] from John Martin’s The Bard, ca. 1817.
initial post: 2017-09-26
Henry Holiday – Hawes Water (between 1859 and 1865)
This is about Henry Holiday’s illustration to the final chapter of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, published more than 140 years ago. This also is about Thomas Cranmer. He and the Baker (the ambivalent hero in The Hunting of the Snark) perhaps hoped that after having left their 42 articles behind, the Boojum won’t get them.
The Hunting of the Snark needs to be read at least twice. The book is an excellent example for crossover literature: Children read it as a nonsense story. It is “dark”, but funny nevertheless. However, mature readers (at age hundred-forty or so) might feel, that it ends with a reference to the burning of Thomas Cranmer in 1556.
The image serves to compare two illustrations:
- Henry Holiday’s illustration to the chapter The Vanishing in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876). The complete illustration is on the upper left side. A 135° couterclockwise rotated detail from that illustration has been rendered on the upper right side of this comparison image.
Source: 1st edition of The Hunting of the Snark (April 1876).
- Faiths Victorie in Romes Crueltie (published by Thomas Jenner, c. 1630). Immediately to the right side of the fire, Thomas Cranmer is depicted burning his hand.
License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
Source: Folger Digital Image Collection
The rotated detail from Henry Holiday’s illustration neither is a “claw” nor a “beak”. I assume that it depicts a fire. And there is a hand in both fires. Carroll and Holiday almost too successfully made sure that the readers of The Hunting of the Snark don’t understand that too early.
To Mary Barber
The Chestnuts, Guildford
January 12, 1897
My dear May,
In answer to your question, “What did you mean the Snark was?” will you tell your friend that I meant that the Snark was a Boojum. I trust that she and you will now feel quite satisfied and happy.
To the best of my recollection, I had no other meaning in my mind, when I wrote it: but people have since tried to find the meanings in it. The one I like best (which I think is partly my own) is that it may be taken as an Allegory for the Pursuit of Happiness. The characteristic “ambition” works well into this theory—and also its fondness for bathing-machines, as indicating that the pursuer of happiness, when he has exhausted all other devices, betakes himself, as a last and desperate resource, to some such wretched watering-place as Eastbourne, and hopes to find, in the tedious and depressing society of the daughters of mistresses of boarding-schools, the happiness he has failed to find elsewhere.
With every good wish for your happiness, and for the priceless boon of health also, I am
Always affectionately yours,
In The Selected Letters of Lewis Carroll (1982, edited by Morton Cohen) and in all copies of this letter in the internet, C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) is being quoted as having addressed Mary Barber with “My dear May”, not with “My dear Mary”. I learned that “My dear May” is correct: Quora | Yahoo Groups | Twitter
[…] Yet nonsense poems, and Carroll’s in particular, often carry significant political undertones. For example, in Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, he tackles vivisection and the role of anthrocentrist activities in scientific pursuit. […]