Mike Batt’s Snark

※ 1987: The Hunting Of The Snark – Royal Albert Hall (1h)

 
※ 2010: The Hunting Of The Snark – Live at Cadogan Hall (9m40s)

 
※ 2020-07-22: John Murray Lunchtime Show with Mike Batt. The whole show on k107FM is worth listening to, but if you are very impatient and want to learn more about Mike Batt’s Snark musical right away, start at 01:18:45 in the podcast.

Twitter | Wikipedia | more Snark music

 
2018-10-15, update: 2020-07-27

snrk.de

About this site:
Snrk.de mostly 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 snrk.de is place for presenting my trophies since 2012.
        On 2017-10-09, snrk.de underwent a major change. I added a blog to the site and rearranged it completely. If you previously used links to snrk.de and your browser now doesn’t find them anymore: Some of these links still may work if you replace snrk.de by old.snrk.de.

In snrk.de 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”. I think that the Boots is the maker of Bonnets and Hoods and that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only, not ten.
Last not least, since 2010 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.
        Already in 1994, Angus MacIntyre’s suggested: “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” in The Reverend Snark, Jabberwocky 23(1994), p. 51~52. Henry Holiday’s pictorial reference to Thonas Cranmer’s burning confirms the link between The Hunting of the Snark and Thomas Cranmer.


About me:
I am an electronics and mechatronics engineer living near Munich in Germany. I know how to work scientifically, but not in the field of arts and literature. In that field of research I am an amateur. Therefore I don’t have to protect any reputation in academic Snarkology ;-). Nevertheless, if you publish papers about, for example, references from The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer, please give credit to those, who addressed that topic already. That’s me (2015, 2015, 2016), but also Karen Gardiner (2018), Mary Hibbs (2017, pen names: Mary Hammond and Sandra Mann) and Angus MacIntyre (1994).


Blog:
※ Posts and Pages: I use WordPress to run snrk.de. WordPress offers to publish “posts” and “pages”. In this blog you will often find pairs of articles where one of them is a post and the other one is a page. In such a pair of articles, both have the same title where the post is a brief blog article and the associated page then goes into more detail.
Comments: I disabled the commenting function for almost all articles. Sorry, there is too much bot spam.


Contact:

In order to avoid collecting personal user data and to minimize spam, I disabled blog registration.


Privacy policy and data protection:
This site complies with the European General Data Protection Regulation. The blog snrk.de itself does not collect your private data. But some pages have embedded content (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.) which might not respect your privacy sufficiently. If you don’t like that, don’t use snrk.de!


Licenses:
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 is the license for images in this blog if not indicated otherwise.


Götz Kluge, Munich 2018-07-07, update: 2020-07-25

Knight Letter № 100

In July 2018, the members of the LCSNA (Lewis Carroll Society of North America) received the 100th Knight Letter.

Also in this issue, Goetz Kluge makes the case that a seventeenth-century engraving may have influenced Henry Holiday’s last illustration for The Hunting of the Snark. Goetz’s excellent blog about all things Snark is at http://snrk.de/

Preface to the Knight Letter № 100, LCSNA, 2018
 

 
On pages 55~56 you find a few lines which I wrote about the Baker and Thomas Cranmer in The Hunting of the Snark.

There also is an accompanying web page.
In the end, the Baker met the Boojum. As an allusion to Thomas Cranmer, the hero in Carroll’s Snark tragicomedy had been named “Baker” and also got some “hot” nicknames. Carroll went to the limits of black humor: The Baker got baked.

Incidentally, in parallel to my little note (p. 55~56 in the Knight Letter № 100) on the Baker’s hot names and on Henry Holiday’s pictorial reference to Thomas Cranmer’s burning, a paper «Life, Eternity and Everything, Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll» suggesting textual references from The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles has been published in The Carrollian (July 2018, № 31, p.25~41), a journal of the Lewis Carroll Society in the UK. The author, Karen Gardiner, is an Anglican priest. She also addresses the objections of Revd. C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) against the dogma addressed by Article № 42 of Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles.

Karen Gardiner (2018), Mary Hibbs (2017), myself (2015) as well as Angus MacIntyre (1994), we all independently from each other suggested that there are such references to Thomas Cranmer and his Forty-Two Articles (the Baker’s forty-two boxes) – coming from different starting points and different backgrounds. As for me, I initially just looked for Lewis Carroll’s (C.L. Dodgson’s) textual references as guidance for finding pictorial references in Henry Holiday’s illustrations.

 
Twitter | Seven Coats

 
(MG064)

PS: A friend told me that the caterpillar (here without hookah) on the front page of the 100th Knight Letter is a Hickory Horned Devil.

2018-07-28, updated 2019-07-24

Mental Troubles

Perhaps I may venture for a moment to use a more serious tone, and to point out that there are mental troubles, much worse than mere worry, for which an absorbing object of thought may serve as a remedy.

  • There are sceptical thoughts, which seem for the moment to uproot the firmest faith;
  • there are blasphemous thoughts, which dart unbidden into the most reverent souls;
  • there are unholy thoughts, which torture with their hateful presence the fancy that would fain be pure.

Against all these some real mental work is a most helpful ally. That “unclean spirit” of the parable, who brought back with him seven others more wicked than himself, only did so because he found the chamber “swept and garnished,” and its owner sitting with folded hands. Had he found it all alive with the “busy hum” of active work, there would have been scant welcome for him and his seven!

(Charles Lutwidge Dogdgson: Pillow Problems and A Tangled Tale, 1885, p. XV;
see also: Life & Letters. Bulletpoints not by Dodgson.)

 

As any human, Carroll/Dodgson was battling with all kind of temptations. As we know, speculations about possible temptations in his private life keep feeding the pop culture Carroll debate since the 1930s. The controversy even might marginalize the religious conflicts which the Reverend Dodgson was struggling with. I think that one of these serious conflicts was Charles Darwin’s challenge to fundamental religious beliefs. Darwin’s discoveries surely had (and still have) the potential to uproot the firmest faith in various religions.

In the title of the book [Pillow-Problems, 2nd edition], the words “sleepless nights” have been replaced by “wakefull hours”.
        This last change has been made in order to allay the anxiety of friends, who have written to me to express their sympathy in my broken-down state of health, believing that I am a sufferer of chronic “insomnia”, and that it is a remedy for that exhausting malady that I have recommended mathematical calculation.
        The title was not, I fear, wisely chosen; and it certainly was liable to suggest a meaning I did not intend to convey, viz. that my “nights” are often wholly “sleepless”. This is by no means the case: I have never suffered from “insomnia”: and the over-wakeful hours, that I have had to spend at night, have often been simply the result of the over-sleepy hours I have spent during the presceeding evening! Nor is it as a remedy for wakefulness that I have shuggested mathematical calculation: but as a remedy for the harassing thoughts that are apt to invade a wholly-unoccupied mind.

I believe that an hour of calculation is much better for me than half-an-hour of worry.

(Charles Lutwidge Dodgson: Pillow Problems, preface to the second edition, 1893)

Carroll openly described how he used mental mathematical work to find distraction from “harassing thoughts”. I don’t know to which degree the illustrator Henry Holiday discussed and aligned with Carroll his choice of pictorial references in his illustrations to Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, but there is a pictorial reference to mental troubles: St. Anthony’s temptations (painting by Matthias Grünewald). In one of Holiday’s illustrations you see Colenso’s arithmetic textbook. Like Anthony, also Carroll needed lots of mental work as an distraction from sceptical, blasphemous and unholy thoughts. Anthony probably found help in the scriptures which were sacred to him. Interestingly, the Reverend Dodgson used mathematics to resist the temptations.

I saw this math textbook in Holiday’s illustration since many years. Only recently that led me to the assumption (which probably always will be just an assumption) that Holiday might have placed that book into his illustration as a hint to how Carroll used math to keep his brain busy with “some real mental work” as a “most helpful ally” in his battle against the temptations which haunted him.

By the way: Possible references in “The Hunting of the Snark” to St. Anthony and to Darwin had been addressed by Mahendra Singh already in June 2007, more than two years before I started my Snark hunt. He and John Tufail were among my most helpful scouts during that hunt.
 

2020-06-11, update: 2020-07-18

The Snark’s Significance

Henry Holiday: The Snark’s Significance, 1898-01-29 (The Academy, p. 128)

It is possible that the author was half-consciously laying a trap, so readily did he take to the inventing of puzzles and things enigmatic; but to those whok new the man, or who have divined him correctly through his writings, the explanation is fairly simple.

Mr.Dodgson had a mathematical, a logical, and a philosophical mind; and when these qualities are united to a love of the grotesque, the resultant fancies are sure to have a quite peculiar charm, a charm so much the greater because its source is subtle and eludes all attempts to grasp it.

Attached to Holiday’s article there also is a letter from Carroll/Dodgson.

Holiday’s Butcher and Millais’ Raleigh

But perhaps Holiday’s ruff – and the pose of the Fit Five drawing – was inspired by the Elizabethan drama inherent in Millais’ Boyhood of Raleigh, (1869).

Louise Schweitzer, One Wild Flower (2012)

A popular approach to avoid frustration and embarrassment is to claim that the meaning of the Snark is elusive. But some try to understand it nevertheless. For those courageous readers I take this post as an occasion to recommend Louise Schweitzer’s doctoral thesis One Wild Flower.

 
more

 
2017-09-04, updated 2020-07-16

Blur

Blurring images is low pass filtering images. An artist’s blunted sight can have the same effects like blurring with computerized image processing. 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.

Before computerized image processing was available, artists use simple techniques to blurr images. For example, squinting or looking at an image through a feather did the trick.

Squinting might help you to see things which you wouldn’t see with clear sight. It’s fine to try that with artwork which might have been intentionally created for such an exercise. 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.
 

2017-12-28, updated: 2020-07-14

Waistcoat Poetry

 

There was an old man of Port Grigor,
Whose actions were noted for vigour;
He stood on his head
till his waistcoat turned red,
That eclectic old man of Port Grigor.

Edward Lear, 1872

 

He was black in the face,
and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright
that his waistcoat turned white –
A wonderful thing to be seen!

Lewis Carroll, from “The Hunting of the Snark”, 1876

 
 

Martin Gardner annotated (MG058) to The Hunting of the Snark that Elizabeth Sewell pointed out in The Field of Nonsense (1952) that a line in Carroll’s poem has a similarity to a line in a limerick by Edward Lear.

See also:



In The Field of Nonsense (I use a 2015 reprint), Elizabeth Sewell compared Carroll’s waistcoat stanza and Lears’s waistcoat limerick while taking a safe distance to considering “mutual plagiarism” by stating that “there is no evidence that either man was familiar with the other’s work”, adding that “the likeness do not in any case suggest borrowings…” (p. 9). However, Carroll/Dodgson knew Lear’s work (Marco Graziosi).

 
2017-09-11, update: 2020-07-10