Snark Explanations

by Mary Hammond, published on Nov 7, 2017. There also is an essay: Mary Hammond, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark Explained.

This of course is not the first Snark interpretation. First hints on what the Snark could be about had been given to us by Henry Holiday and Philo M. Buck. And there is an excellent chapter on Carroll’s tragicomedy in Louise Schweitzer’s One Wild Flower. Oliver Sturm’s Die Jagd nach dem Schnatz is a German translation, which also contains an attempt to explain the Snark. And there is a Snark chapter in Klaus Reichert’s Lewis Carroll: Studien zum literarischen Unsinn. Reichert is another German Snark translator.

Among the interpretations known to me, Mary Hammond’s interpretation is the first one where Eternal Damnation is seen as one of the more important issues to which Lewis Carroll might have taken reference in The Hunting of the Snark. In Carroll’s poem, the Baker‘s Forty-Two Boxes led me to the same conclusion earlier.

In my correspondence with Mary Hammond she also told me about what in her view “…jum” in Boojum could stand for: Search for jumble in the chapter Of Reason in John Locke‘s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). That is interesting: Even before I learned about this, I associated Boojum with the vanishing of reason – which too often is the beginning of violence. Yet, I’ll probably never know, whether my association is similar to what the Boojum meant to Carroll.

549    “It’s a Snark!” was the sound that first came to their ears,
550        And seemed almost too good to be true.
551    Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
552        Then the ominous words “It’s a Boo-”

553    Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
554        A weary and wandering sigh
555    That sounded like “-jum!” but the others declare
556        It was only a breeze that went by.

Original Manuscript Found Among Brexit Impact Study Tables

Here is the manuscript. Also I publish the secret road map used by the British government to navigate through Brexit.

 
What I tell you three times is true:

349       “The thing can be done,” said the Butcher, “I think.
350        The thing must be done, I am sure.
351        The thing shall be done! …”

 


Links:

Snarks Have Five Unmistakable Marks

    “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.

  1.     “Let us take them in order. 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 bathingmachines,
            Which is constantly carries about,
        And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes –
            A sentiment open to doubt.
  5.     “The fifth is ambition. 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!”)