On Borrowing

One of the surest tests [of a poet’s superiority or inferiority] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

Thomas Stearns Eliot, p. 114 in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, 1920

The Lewis Carroll Collection at Christ Church

The Lewis Carroll Collection

Christ Church holds three distinct collections of material relating to Lewis Carroll, aka Charles Ludwidge Dodgson. These collections include a wide variety of material, from autograph letters and a wealth of manuscripts, original photographic prints, proof sheets and presentation copies, to a large number of editions of the “Alice” books in different languages.

Illustrated editions include 19th century black and white etchings and a huge range of 20th century illustrations. Some illustrators are famous in their own right, like Salvador Dali, Ralph Steadman and Barry Moser. The collections also include an impressive array of secondary material (biographies, books about various aspects of Carroll’s work, etc.) and are available for the use of researchers upon application to the Library.

The whole corpus of the Lewis Carroll collection is currently the object of intense study and scrutiny, being reviewed and catalogued. This is a work in progress. A significant part of the Lewis Carroll collection has now been digitized. More will follow in due course. This project aims to provide an enhanced experience for viewers, allowing them to flip the pages, zoom in, and read very detailed descriptions. The digitized part of the Lewis Carroll collection has been organized in the following sections:

The Making of ‘Alice’
Other Works by Lewis Carroll
Miscellaneous Carroll Material
Carroll Friends and Contemporaries

Access to all fully digitized resources is made available both through the college website, or directly via the Digital Bodleian portal. Crucially for research, our digitized items are integrated with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), a set of software standards established and adhered to by an ever expanding community of libraries and cultural heritage institutions, including the British Library, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cambridge University Library, Harvard University Library, MIT, Stanford University, Trinity College Dublin, the Vatican and Yale University. All this gives scholars an unprecedented level of uniform and rich access to image-based resources hosted around the world.

Source: http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/lewis-carroll-collection-0

Snark related links are offered in “Other Works by Lewis Carroll“. Presently the links also lead to scans of Henry Holiday’s illustrations.

I like Edward Wakeling’s detailed description of Holiday’s illustrations. The Ocean Chart is not mentioned. That is no mistake: That chart quite probably isn’t an illustration by Henry Holiday. My own collection of scans does contain the Ocean Chart, as it is about all illustrations to The Hunting of the Snark. That includes the illustration not made by Henry Holiday.


Comment to tweet by Bono Jorden:

Retweeted by Musée Unterlinden (2017-12-27):


Eternal Disconnect

All men shall not be saved at the length. They also are worthy of condemnation, who endeavour at this time in restore the dangerous opinion that all men, by they never so ungodly, shall at length be saved, when they have suffered pains for their sins a certain time appointed by God’s justice.

Article 42 in Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles (1552)


No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm, and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one.

Rule 42, “completed” by the Bellman in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876)


Pope Francis said eternal damnation is not a torture chamber but distance from God.

Vatican Radio, 2016-11-25

If something like eternal damnation (Article 42) would exist, then that also would be an eternal disconnect (Rule 42) between the Abrahamic god and those who adhere to that god.

What are those Forty-Two Articles?

The Forty-Two Articles were intended to summarise Anglican doctrine, as it now existed under the reign of Edward VI, who favoured a Protestant faith. Largely the work of Thomas Cranmer, they were to be short formularies that would demonstrate the faith revealed in Scripture and the existing Catholic creeds. Completed in 1552, they were issued by Royal Mandate on 19 June 1553. The articles were claimed to have received the authority of a Convocation, although this is doubtful. With the coronation of Mary I and the reunion of the Church of England with the Catholic Church, the Articles were never enforced. However, after Mary’s death, they became the basis of the Thirty-nine Articles. In 1563, Convocation met under Archbishop Parker to revise the articles. Convocation passed only 39 of the 42, and Elizabeth reduced the number to 38 by throwing out Article XXIX to avoid offending her subjects with Catholic leanings. In 1571, the Article XXIX, despite the opposition of Bishop Edmund Gheast, was inserted, to the effect that the wicked do not eat the Body of Christ. This was done following the queen’s excommunication by the Pope Pius V in 1570. That act destroyed any hope of reconciliation with Rome and it was no longer necessary to fear that Article XXIX would offend Catholic sensibilities. The Articles, increased to Thirty-nine, were ratified by the Queen, and the bishops and clergy were required to assent.

Source: Wikipedia, 2018-03-15

I assume, that Carroll’s “forty-two” serves as a reference to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles and the last article hierin about eternal damnation. As far as I understand, eternal damnation was a controversial issue in the era of the Oxford Movement, and the Rev. C. L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) objected to the belief in eternal punishment. (The controversy seems not to have ended yet.)

Today, “42” mostly is known as an answer invented by Douglas Adams to an unknown question. Of course neither Lewis Carroll nor Douglas Adams would have provided us with spoilers which could help us to understand their “42”. Holding your readers responsible for their interpretations is much more fun to writers like Adams and Carroll. Therefore Adams told us that the “42” just popped up in his mind out of the air when he enjoyed the view of his garden. And Carroll told us that the last line “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see!” in The Hunting of the Snark popped up in his mind during a walk near Guilford (incidentally the birthplace of Ford Prefect, and then again not his real birthplace).

Lewis Carroll’s Snark and Douglas Adams’ Guide have more in common than just having fits instead of chapters. But among both authors, it probably was only the Reverend Dodgson to whom “42” had a special relevance in the history of the church, that vessel which had been snarked so many times.


What I tell you three times is true!

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.

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

329    “’Tis the voice of the Jubjub!” he suddenly cried.
330        (This man, that they used to call “Dunce.”)
331    “As the Bellman would tell you,” he added with pride,
332        “I have uttered that sentiment once.

333    “’Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
334        You will find I have told it you twice.
335    ’Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
336        If only I’ve stated it thrice.”

Kelly Ramsdell Fineman told us …

… that President Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Wharton were huge fans of the Snark. On one visit to the White House, Wharton learned of the following exchange that occurred between the President and the Secretary of the Navy (undoubtedly unaware of Carroll’s poem, or at least unaware that Roosevelt was quoting):

During discussion, Roosevelt said to the secretary of the Navy,

“Mr. Secretary, what I tell you three times is true!”

The Secretary replied stiffly,

“Mr. President, it would never for a moment have occurred to me to impugn your veracity.”

Yes, better don’t impugn your leader’s veracity. Even though he will get rid of you rather sooner than later, you don’t need to push it.


The Bellman’s Rule is stated in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, line #7 and line #335. I said it in Lua – wrote it in Python, I created it for high speed, but I wholly forgot (when finally done), that Haskell is what you need! So, here is an example for how to implement that rule:

#! /usr/bin/haskell
import Data.List
statementList :: [String]
statementList =
  ["Grand Fenwick steals American jobs!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"Just the place for a Brexit!"
  ,"There are 9 Snark hunters."
  ,"Grand Fenwick steals American jobs!"
  ,"There are 9 Snark hunters."
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"Just the place for a Brexit!"
  ,"6 * 7 = 42"
  ,"Grand Fenwick steals American jobs!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"Just the place for a Brexit!"
atLeastThrice :: [String] -> [String]
atLeastThrice sL = [head grp | grp <- group $ sort sL, length grp >= 3]

Result (if loaded and executed in GHCi):
*Main> atLeastThrice statementList
["6 * 7 = 39","Brexit promises will be kept!","Grand Fenwick steals American jobs!","Just the place for a Brexit!","There are 10 Snark hunters."]