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.
This is how Henry Holiday imagined that the Boojum might look like:
How would Chinese call the Boojum?
- Boojum can be translated with 不佳 (bù jiā). The pronouncation in English is explained to Chinese people in fanyi.baidu.com.
- I also found 布经 (bù jīng) as a Chinese translation.
- As for vanishing away, one also could consider to use 不见 (bù jiàn).
This blog is mostly about Lewis Carroll‘s, Henry Holiday‘s and Joseph Swain‘s illustrations to The Hunting of the Snark.
In his Illuminated Snark, John Tufail assumed that the night sky in the front cover of The Hunting of the Snark could be a map. Together with my assumption that Henry Holiday drew inspiration from several paintings by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, John’s paper helped me to find the Ditchley Portrait. That again helped me to find the painting by an anonymous artist depicting Elizabeth I at old age.
Goetz Kluge, Munich, 2017-08-28
The big beast perhaps gave birth to a Boojum.
(John Tufail made me aware of this illustration by J. J. Grandville.)
As for The Hunting of the Snark, I think that this is the most important finding of my Snark hunt.
Usually elements borrowed by Henry Holiday from other artists are inconspicuously integrated into Holiday’s illustrations. Here is an exception. The monstrance-shaped tree is just a small element in John Martin’s The Bard. In Holiday’s illustration it is more prominent.
Illustrations by Henry Holiday (from The Hunting of the Snark, 1876) and Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (Allegory of Iconoclasts, aka The Image Breakers, around 1567): In the “mouth” of Gheeraerts’ “head” a praying priest is depicted. The shape of the priest also is visible in the “mouth” of Holiday’s vanishing “Baker”.
There is more — with acknowledgments to Mahendra Singh, to John Tufail and to the Internet.
I started my Snark hunt in December 2008. http://www.artandpopularculture.com/User:Goetzkluge could give you an idea where I was in 2010.