The Bandersnatched Banker

Just leaving some marks on Instragram.

#SnarkAllusion — ※ Left: The Banker after his encounter with the #Bandersnatch, depicted in an illustration (woodcut by #JosephSwain for block printing) by #HenryHoliday to the chapter "The Banker’s Fate" in #TheHuntingOfTheSnark" by #LewisCarroll (scanned from an original 1876 1st edition of the book) ※ Right: Slightly horizontally compressed rendering of "The Imagebreakers" (1566-1568) aka "Allegory of Iconoclasm" aka "The Iconoclasts", an #etching by #MarcusGheeraertsTheElder (#BritishMuseum, Dept. of Print and Drawings, 1933.1.1.3. (See also Edward Hodnett: Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, Utrecht 1971, pp. 25-29.) Henry Holiday flipped the “nose” of Gheeraert’s “head” before using it as the Banker’s nose in his pictorial allusion to Gheeraerts’ etching. Probably not intended by Gheeraets but discovered by Holiday: Flipping the nose yields a different nose with a different shape. — I published an article about this in the “Knight Letter” 99 of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America: — #スナーク狩り #MarcusGheeraerts #ArtAnalysis #VictorianLiterature #VictorianIllustration #VictorianWoodcut #ReferentialArt #PictorialAllusion #LewisCarrollSociety #16thCenturyArt #16thCenturyPrint #16thCenturyEtching #19thCenturyArt #19thCenturyIllustration #UnusualArt #Bandersnatch #Reformation #Bildzitat #PictorialReference #SideBySide #Vergleich

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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


[…] When [The Hunting of the Snark] was published in 1876 it was illustrated by Henry Holiday who, though a very talented artist, failed to capture the surreal nature of Carroll’s poem. The illustrations for this edition however, provided by Gormenghast author Mervyn Peake, are the perfect accompaniment. Peake’s drawings have an uneasy bubbling quality, blending with the silly and macabre feel of the words, a particular favourite of mine being his Bandersnatch (a beast mentioned in the Jabberwocky), which is shown above. […]

This illustration (even without the yellow lines and dots which I added) might contain more elements of “surreal nature” than what you find in Mervyn Peake’s illustrations. I like those playful weeds (or animals?) in the lower left corner of Holiday’s illustration.

That’s not the only thing that corner has to offer.

Another popular path (not) to understand The Hunting of the Snark has been stated more than three times: Some call Carroll’s poem “nonsense”.

Anyway, I don’t think that Holiday failed to convey to us graphically what Carroll meant. The price for his achievement perhaps was that Holiday’s illustrations are less eye pleasing than illustrations like Peake’s.

The poem and the illustrations are grotesque. is about Henry Holiday‘s illustrations (engraved by Joseph Swain) to Lewis Carroll‘s tragicomical ballad The Hunting of the Snark.
        If – and the thing is wildly possible – the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this great blog, I will not (as I might) point to the fact that throughout my Snark hunt, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart; and that the crooked Boojum also played its cards very hard and, as everyone knows, failed to stop me – which would qualify me as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!
        As promised, I will not point to that – even though it would be true if I would state it three times. Very true. Very, very true. Rather, I point to those (like John Tufail and Mahendra Singh) who really helped and encouraged me and, last not least, to those many people who turned the Internet into a humongous museum through which I could stroll while loafing on my sofa. That was the place where my Snark hunt started in December 2008, and is place for presenting my trophies since 2012.
        On 2017-10-09, underwent a major change. I added a blog to the site and rearranged it completely. If you previously used links to and your browser now doesn’t find them anymore: Some of these links still may work if you replace by

In you’ll find a few assumptions:
The Beaver‘s lace making is “wrong” (in Carroll’s view) if lace making stands for vivisection.
Lewis Carroll liked to create “portmanteau words”. The Boots could be the maker of Bonnets and Hoods.
Last not least, I think that the most important assumption is that Thomas Cranmer could be among the historical persons to whom the Baker (with four nicknames related to something which was heated or burned) might be related. As a protestant, Cranmer wrote the Forty-Two Articles. Under threat, he left those articles behind like the Forty-Two Boxes, which the Baker left behind on the beach. Then Carroll associated the Baker with pets of catholic saints: Macarius’ hyenas and Corbinian’s bear.
Of course there also is the possibility that I suffer from apophenia.

Contact: In order to minimize spam, I disabled blog registration and don’t publish an email address. But you can write to me (e.g. for registration) in social networks.

Götz Kluge, Munich 2017-11-07

Monstrous Things from Walls

Look at walls splashed with a number of stains, or stones of various mixed colours. If you have to invent some scene, you can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills, in various ways. Also you can see various battles, and lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes and an infinite number of things, which you can reduce to good integrated form. This happens on such walls and varicoloured stones, (which act) like the sound of bells, in whose peeling you can find every name and word that you can imagine.
        Do not despise my opinion, when I remind you that it should not hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas. The mind of the painter is stimulated to new discoveries, the composition of battles of animals and men, various compositions of landscapes and monstrous things, such as devils and similar things, which may bring you honor, because by indistinct things the mind is stimulated to new inventions.

Leonardo da Vinci


Blurring images is low pass filtering images. Sometimes you need to get rid of distracting details in order to get the whole picture.

Jay Clause‘s what Salvador Dali taught me about creative work will help you to (perhaps) get the whole picture. However, keep in mind that artists like to play with what the beholders of their work might want (or might not want) to percieve. Even without blurring, artists can deny anything you “see” in an ambiguous creation: They play with their own pareidolia as well as with the pareidolia of their audience.

Squinting helps you to see things. It’s fine to try that with artwork which has been intentionally created for such squinting. But better make sure that it was an artist who created the face that is looking at you. I don’t know whether Mars ever has been inhabited by artists.


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