[The New Belfry of Christ Church, Oxford] is of the best of Dodgson’s Oxford squibs, a good humored but cutting attack on Dean Liddell (the father of Alice) and the wooden cube built to contain the Cathedral bells during operations to build a new tower. Though it can still be found today behind the stone walls of the tower, the wooden cube was always a temporary plan but Dodgson was impatient and the Governing body were slow.
Source: Cristies, 2009-12-04
The Bell in The Hunting of the Snark might be interpreted as a symbol for time and time pressure. But it also might have been used by C.L. Dodgson to continue lampooning Dean Henry Liddell‘s “bonnet-box” project, a meekly geometric belfry to go up on the cathedral at Christ Church.
“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best—
A perfect and absolute blank!”
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.
I might have gone too far with interpreting “bathing-machines” as a reference to baptismal bowls. Then again, Carroll knew very well how to pack several meanings into one statement. Is it the Bellman Henry Liddell who believes that bathing-machines add to the beauty of scenes, a sentiment open to doubt?
One of my guesses was that the Jubjub is a chronometer. But it also could be a reference to the clock tower and its boring “symmetrical shape”. And the voice of a Jubjub won’t be overheared.
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