blog

Featured

The Vanishing

Almost four months before Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark was officially published on the 1st of April 1876, the illustrator Henry Holiday still thought of that ballad as a “tragedy“. In the end, the collaboration between the author and the illustrator yielded a tragicomedy. The sad end still is there, albeit very well hidden from child readers: The burning of Thomas Cranmer.

Nonsense literature like Carroll’s can be read repeatedly. Carroll’s nonsense is crossover literature. At different ages you would read the Snark tragicomedy differently. Likewise, you would look at Henry Holiday’s illustrations differently. Carroll wrote his Snark tragicomedy in a way which protects the young reader from understanding the sad end of the final “fit” The Vanishing too early.

 
2021-09-02, updated: 2022-01-18

Featured

Nose is a Nose is a Nose

A Snark article in the Knight Letter
(with lots of help from the editors Chris Morgan and Mark Burstein)


Source: Knight Letter (ISSN 0193-886X), Fall 2017, Number 99

When I wrote this article, I failed to mention that already in 1973 Elizabeth Sewell pointed out in The Field of Nonsense that a line in Carroll’s poem has a similarity to a line in a limerick by Edward Lear (MG058). I am sorry for not having mentioned that.

I posted my article online with permission of the Knight Letter editors. In the online copy, I fixed the wrong URL kl.snr.de. It’s kl.snrk.de. Furthermore, four additional images have been attached to my online version.

read more

 


2009


2018-02-09, update: 2018-12-30: Reference to Elizabeth Sewell

Face Change

In an early draft to the illustration The Crew on Deck in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, the illustrator Henry Holiday gave the Bellman a different face than the one which the Bellman had in the final illustration. Henry Holiday didn’t discard the original face. He moved that round faced character (an Oxford colleague?) to the illustration to the chapter The Barrister’s Dream and then turned the Bellman in the illustration The Crew on Deck into a Darwin look-alike.

I think that Dodgson addressed conflicts within the Curch of England and the related legal battles (see Essays and Reviews) in The Hunting of the Snark. One of the results of that conflict was the The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 introduced (in the year when Carroll started to write his Snark tragicomedy) as a Private Member’s Bill by the Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait. So I dug a bit into the history of this. When I saw the round features of the bishop’s face in the Wikipedia, it reminded me of the face which Holiday gave the Bellman in his first draft. Interestingly, during the young Dodgson was a pupil at Rugby School, the bishop was the headmaster of of that school. Rugby seems to have been a traumatizing experience for Dodgson.

As for the looks, Richard Bethell, 1st Baron Westbury could be another candidate for Holiday’s reference. The Wikipedia says: “Perhaps the best known of his decisions was the judgment delivering the opinion [see excerpt] of the judicial committee of the privy council in 1863 against the heretical character of certain extracts from the well-known publication Essays and Reviews.”

 
2018-03-31, updated: 2022-01-22

Tree of Life

In this image, Charles Darwin’s tree of life sketch of the evolutionary tree (c. July 1837, Notebook B, 1837-1838, page 36) is compared to some “weeds” in the lower left corner of Holiday’s illustration.

To my knowledge, the earliest publishing of a facsimile from Darwin’s hand drawing occurred in the 20th century. A “tree” was published in Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. But that was an image arranged by a typographer, not Darwin’s sketch from his Notebook B. Darwin did not keep his notebook B secret after the publication of On the Origin of Species, but I do not know of any presentation of his sketch before 1876. Thus, the resemblance between the “weed” and Darwin’s evolutionary tree probably may be purely incidental.

Are any earlier publishing dates for facsimile reproductions of his drawing known before 1876? Could Darwin’s supporters (probably not Darwin himself) have used his sketch for promoting The Descent of Man in 1871?

I am searching the earliest publishing date of that image e.g. in newspapers, magazines, books etc. Can you give me any hints?

In the illustration, there is no clear resemblance between Darwin and the Banker, who, however, is carrying a tuning fork. On his expedition with the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin used such an instrument for experiments with spiders.
 

Links:

 
2018-12-09, updated: 2022-01-21


 
There is more which went into Holiday’s illustration.

不佳

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away —
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

2021-12-23: Illustration mostly by Henry Holiday

How would Chinese call the Boojum?

  • Boojum can be approximately transcribed 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 transcription.
  • As for vanishing away, one also could consider to use 不见 (bù jiàn).
  • I call the beast 不佳不见 (bù jiā bù jiàn).

在他想说的话中间,
在他的笑声和喜悦中,
他轻轻地突然消失了—
因为斯纳克变成了
一个不佳不见,你看

在他想說的話中間,
在他的笑聲和喜悅中,
他輕輕地突然消失了—
因為斯納克變成了
一個不佳不見,你看

 
So what is a Snark and what is a Boojum?
Lewis Carroll wrote about The Hunting of the Snark:

As to the meaning of the Snark, I’m very much afraid I didn’t mean anything but nonsense. Still, you know, words mean more than we mean to express when we use them; so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means. So, whatever good meanings are in the book, I’m glad to accept as the meaning of the book. The best that I’ve seen is by a lady (she published it in a letter to a newspaper), that the whole book is an allegory on the search after happiness.

  • Snark: Neither the usage in the year 1866 nor the contemporary usage of the term help here. According to Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark has at least one meaning: The pursuit of happiness. To Carroll, that pursuit could be about the Anglican path to happiness. That path is “meagre and hollow, but crisp“, because it void of any catholic decor and superstition. The dispute about how to achieve happiness is not always comfortable, but it is necessary, because for different people there always are different paths to happiness. In civilized societies the Snark helps us to find a path which optimizes our happiness. As people and their environments keep constantly changing, the Snark hunt will never end.
  • Boojum: I think that Lewis Carroll and Henry Holiday’s tragicomedy (a “tragedy” in Holiday’s opinion) is about how walking the meagre and hollow, but crisp path (Snark) towards happiness (whatever that might be) turns into terrible fights with very sad ends (Boojum). Unfortunately, also in the 21st century too often good Snark hunters “softly and suddenly vanish away”. They and their work “disappear”, erased by those who walk along the path of the Boojum. It seems that this will never end as well.
            In a nutshell: In my view, a Boojum is a monster or a process. If you meet it (for example at the violent end of a controversy), then you softly and suddenly vanish away.

 
For comments: Reddit

 
2017-12-17, update: 2022-01-20

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), and borrowing isn’t necessarily evil.

 
2017-09-11, update: 2022-01-20

Page 83


«With ‘Baker’ not ‘Butcher” on p. 83.»
(Source: abebooks.com)

Do you think that this “Baker” on page 83 really proves that the book is a first edition and that it should be “butcher”? You find the answer in any contemporary Snark edition. No mistake, the Baker still is there.

More Examples for advertising the first edition of “The Hunting of the Snark”, offered for prices between €200 and €2000:

First edition, first issue of Carroll’s whimsical nonsense poem with “baker” on p. 83 which was later corrected to “butcher”.

First edition, first printing, with “Baker” for “Banker” on page 83.

First issue with “baker” not “butcher” on page 83. It is unknown how many copies were printed this way.

No, it is known: All copies were printed this way!

 
This is about line 560 on page 83, the last page of Lewis Carroll’s tragicomedy. A “Baker” in that line is no proof that the book is a rare first Snark edition. Actually, all copies are printed this way, because that is how it should be. In Henry Holiday’s illustration on page 82 you see the head and a hand of the Baker, not the Butcher and not the Banker. Remember, the Banker had to be left behind in the previous chapter, so he cannot show up in the final chapter. And the Butcher didn’t meet the Snark either.

Thus, there is nothing special about “Where the Baker had met with the Snark.” This alleged error is a myth. Those rare book traders just didn’d (and still don’t) check the facts.

Then there is the JubJub. If you read somewhere that the bird never will look at a “bride”, then better check line 386 on page 55 in the original Snark edition. It’s “bribe”. You can find “It will never look at a bride” in the Internet many times. But that’s wrong.

 
2018-04-02, update: 2019-07-02

 


Removed (not by me) from Wikipedia

Rare book sellers often claim, that the first edition of ”The Hunting of the Snark” can be identified by the word “Baker” instead of “Butcher” or “Banker” in the 560th line on page 83. However, “Where the Baker had met with the Snarkis correct. “Butcher” or “Banker” in the 560th line is wrong. Also “bribe” in the 386th line on page 55 is correct, even though in the Internet the erratic “It never will look at a bride” can be found.

(The hyperlinks in this text where not part of the WP text.)

 
2019-11-26, update: 2022-01-19

Meagre and Disjointed Extracts

In C.L Dodgson’s days, some members of the Anglican clergy were not happy with their 39 Articles (1563, revised 1571). And the Reverend Dodgson was not happy with them. He objected especially to the last article in Thomas Cranmer’s 42 articles (1553), which didn’t make it into the 39 Articles, because Dodgson did not accept the dogma of eternal punishment.

So I always was curious to learn more about attempts to restore the articles which were withdrawn from the 42 articles. I found an answer in Essays and Reviews: Richard Bethell 1st Baron Westbury thought of the 39 Elizabethian Articles of Religion as “meagre and disjointed extracts [from Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles] which have been allowed to remain in the reformed Articles”.

It is material to observe that in the Articles of King Edward VI., framed in 1552, the Forty-second Article was in the following words:-

‘All men shall not bee saved at the length.’ —
Thei also are worthie of condemnation who indevoure at this time to restore the dangerouse opinion, that al menne, be thei never so ungodlie, shall at lengtht bee saved, when thei have suffered paines for their sinnes a certain time appoincted by God’s justice.”

        This Article was omitted from the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion in the year 1562, and it might be said that the effect of sustaining the Judgment of the Court below on this charge would be to restore the Article so withdrawn.
        We are not required, or at liberty, to express any opinion upon the mysterious question of the eternity of final punishment, further than to say that we do not find in the Formularies, to which this Article refers, any such distinct declaration of our Church upon the subject as to require us to condemn as penal the expression of hope by clergyman, that even the ultimate pardon of the wicked, who are condemned in the day of judgment, may be consistent with the will of Almighty God.
        We desire to repeat that the meagre and disjointed extracts which have been allowed to remain in the reformed Articles, are alone the subject of our Judgment. On the design and general tendency of the book called “Essays and Reviews,” and on the effect or aim of the whole Essay of Dr. Williams, or the whole Essay of Mr. Wilson, we neither can nor do pronounce any opinion On the short extracts before us, our Judgment is that the Charges are not proved.

Source: Excerpt (pp. 762-764 in ER) from Trial and Appeals, 1861 to 1864: “Erroneous, Strange, and Heretical Doctrines”, B “This Great Appeal”: Before the Judicial Committee if the Privy Council, III The Judgement [1864-02-08, by Lord Westbury] of the Lord Chancellor.

For comments: Twitter

2022-01-19

Eschatological Snark


According to Karen Gardiner, “it would be unwise for anyone to imply that they have found the answer to the book’s mystery.” The book is Lewis Carroll’s and Henry Holiday’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876). Initially I was that unwise. There several answers.

I started my Snark hunt in December 2008. Initially I probably had been quite unwise and thought that I had found the answer. That might explain the title The real story behind “The Hunting of the Snark” of an early post in The Lewis Carroll Forum. I am sorry for that botched exercise in self-irony. There is not just one single “real story” behind Carroll’s Snark poem. There are many answers.

Gardiner gave her warning to Snark hunters in her paper Life, Eternity, and Everything: Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll, published on p.25~41 in THE CARROLLIAN, No. 31, mailed by the UK Lewis Carroll Society to me in June 2018.

As for “Article 42” in Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles and “Rule 42” in The Hunting of the Snark, the main argument of Gardiner’s June 2018 paper is “that Carroll’s frequent and unexplained use of the number 42, and in particular his development of Role 42 in the preface of The Hunting of the Snark and Rule 42 in Alice’s trial scene highlight the doctrine of eternal punishment that Carroll was so concerned about.” The issue was addressed in this Blog in December 2017: Eternal Disconnect.

As for Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles and the Baker’s 42 boxes in The Hunting of the Snark, Gardiner made me aware of Angus MacIntyre‘s comment (1994) “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” Since 2010 I believe that too. Thanks to Karen Gardiner’s 2018 paper in THE CARROLLIAN and to Angus MacIntire’s suggestion I now know that linking the Baker in The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer (among other references) is not such a weird idea after all.

Also Mary Hammond (a pen name of Mary Hibbs) recognized in 2017 that eternal damnation (Article 42 in the 42 Articles) was an issue which Carroll/Dodgson might have addressed in The Hunting of the Snark.

The Article 42 in the 42 Articles was of special interest to Carroll/Dodgson, who objected to the belief in an eternal punishment. But I don’t think that this explains why in The Hunting of the Snark Carroll came up with 42 boxes rather than 39 boxes as a reference to one of the most important foundations of the Anglican church. I suggest that Carroll chose the “42” as among several references to Thomas Cranmer, the author of the 42 Articles.

I started in December 2008 to be unwise with a single finding. But soon I understood, that there are many answers to Lewis Carroll’s and Henry Holiday’s textual and pictorial puzzles in The Hunting of the Snark. There are no references in Gardiner’s papers to my findings related to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 Articles, but it is good to learn that also theologists write about religious aspects of The Hunting of the Snark. Reverend Karen Gardiner is a Priest in the Church of England.

more

 
2018-07-06, update: 2022-01-18

«L.C. forgot that “the Snark” is a tragedy»

To the illustrator Henry Holiday, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark was a “tragedy”. That might have been Carroll’s intention in 1874, when he started to write the poem as one of the many chapters of his Sylvie and Bruno project. But when the poem was published as a separate book in 1876 with more than 500 lines, it turned out to be a tragicomedy.

Page from a letter (1876-01-04) by C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) to Henry Holiday about Holiday’s illustration to the chapter The Beaver’s Lesson. The two lines at the bottom are notes written by Henry Holiday.

Source: www.pbagalleries.com/…

I think the note is:

× L.C. forgot that “the Snark” is a tragedy and [should]
on no account be made jovial. h.h.

In the end, Carroll produced a tragicomedy.

 


Link: Twitter

 
Update 2018-09-01

See also: https://twitter.com/Bonnetmaker/status/1033366198535286785

 


Update 2022-01-06

Karina
@KJakubowicz
On a geeky note, it thrills me that this was filled out in purple ink.

Like Lewis Carroll and many an Oxbridge university prof, Virginia wrote in purple. It was traditionally cheaper than black & so became linked with academics and aesthetes.
1:19 PM · Jan 6, 2022

 


2017-09-06, update: 2022-01-06

Greens

Some Snark meanings might not have been what Lewis Carroll thought of, but he left lots of space for even more meanings than you can think of. I, for example, associate growing greens with high electricity bills. Others have other ideas, which might be better.

“The Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll: It’s said of the Snark, “You may serve it with greens.” As the author is a mathematician, this means Green’s Theorem being applied as a minor step, and the Snark stands for a theorem that is fiendishly difficult to prove.

😉 Markian Gooley, 2020-07-17 😉

 
2020-06-18, update: 2022-01-06

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.

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

 
Likewise, a good illustrator welds the theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different and sometimes even funnier than that from which it is torn.

And Lewis Carroll may have borrowed from Thomas Gray.

 

All art is infested by other art.

(Leo Steinberg, in Art about Art, 1979)

 

Gustave Doré was an inspired master thief too:Segments from:
※ Plate I (mirror view) of Gustave Doré’s illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1863),
※ Matthias Grünewald’s Temptation of St Anthony (c. between 1512 and 1516, a panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece, now located at Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France).

 
The borrowing never ends:

 
2018-02-18, update: 2022-01-05

The Mathematical World of C.L. Dodgson

On voting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2038&v=wYjnUDV3pTM

2019-10-22: Below you find text (2018-05-13) moved from https://snrk.de/page_the-new-belfry#voting to this blog article.

Carroll/Dodgson tried to fight against apodictic assertiveness and oversimplification not only by means of nonsense poetry but also by means of mathematics. He expected decisions to have a solid base – like fair voting:

One small part of Dodgson’s work, though, has impressed social scientists: his analysis of the mathematics of voting. His interest in the topic was sparked by the deliberations of his colleagues at Christ Church over such matters as how to choose a new belfry. Dodgson’s pamphlets on voting were largely ignored until 1958, when a British economist, Duncan Black, noticed that there had been nothing so good on the topic since just after the French Revolution.

https://www.economist.com/node/11662202, 2009
 

Ostensibly, [Dodgson] was pondering the best way for the governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, where he was a tutor in mathematics, to decide on the design for a controversial belfry, and to pick new members of the college. […] For college elections, Dodgson first proposed a version of Borda’s method, and also a version of Condorcet’s (though he appears not to have known about Borda’s and Condorcet’s work). Later, he developed an interest in politics beyond the walls of Christ Church, and, in the eighteen-eighties, he tried to find ways to secure equitable representation in Parliament for minorities.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/07/26/win-or-lose, 2010

 
Dodgson’s method of taking votes on more than two issues (1876) attempts to find winners in case initially there is no winner. The method was applied at Christ Church college for a small number of candidates. However, for large lists of choices, the rearranging of candidates (until a winner is found) requires a computing power which surely was not available then. And in 2006 it still was a challenge (see McCabe-Dansted below).

2019-10-22, updated: 2022-01-04

Benjamin Jowett


Image sources: (ul,br) Henry Holiday, (ur) probably by The Autotype Company, after Désiré François Laugée, (bl) from cover of Benjamin Jowett and the Christian Religion by Peter Hinchliff.

[…]
Need I rehearse the history of Jowett?
I need not, Senior Censor, for you know it.
That was the Board Hebdomadal, and oh!
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow!
[…]

C.L. Dodgson, from Notes by an Oxford chiel (1874)

 
For comparison (inspired by Dodgson?):

First come I. My name is J-W-TT.
There’s no knowledge but I know it.
I am Master of this College,
What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

Source: The Balliol Rhymes (written in the 1880s), ed. W. G. Hiscock, 2nd edn. (1939; Oxford: printed for the editor, 1955): 1-25. PN 6110 C7H5 Robarts Library (Wikipedia: In 1880, seven undergraduates of Balliol published 40 quatrains of doggerel lampooning various members of the college under the title The Masque of B–ll––l, now better known as The Balliol Masque, in a format that came to be called the “Balliol rhyme“.The college authorities suppressed the publication fiercely.)

I suggest that The Barrister’s Dream in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark is about E.B. Pusey’s attempt to trial Jowett for heresy at the Vice-Chancellor’s Court for unpaid bills for heresy. According to Karen Gardiner (see p. 55 below), the trial began on 1863-03-20. The judge was an academic common lawyer. Jowett’s lawyer objected to the formally civilian court being turned into something like a court of common law, which had no jurisdiction in spiritual matters. The Punch (the anonymous author Dodgson?) called it the “small debts and heresies court“. The judge disagreed, provided it could be shown that Jowett had been guilty of breaking any of the university statues. As this could not be shown, the case was dismissed. Thus, the trial was a mess like the trial in the Barrister’s dream.

“In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
      To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
      If you grant the plea ‘never indebted.’

 
See also:
※ John Tufail, The Jowett Controversy
※ Karen Gardiner, Escaping Justice in Wonderland (An adaption of a paper given at the Glasgow International Fantasy Conference 2018), published in The Carrollian No. 33 p. 47 ~ 60, March 2020 (abstract, 2018).
Essays and Reviews

 
Instagram | Reddit

2018-05-03, update: 2022-01-02

One Month of Snark Hunting in 2009

On January 27th, 2009, I presented some first results of my Snark hunt after one month of hunting. In some cases (e.g. page 2) I probably was wrong, even though Henry Holiday might have used shapes in his illustrations as a reference to shapes in two or more source illustrations.

(Pages 3~5 just showed low quality renderings of three of Holiday’s Snark illustrations. Later I used high resolution scans.)

Article 42 in the 42 Articles


The helmsman used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, “No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm,” had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words “and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one.“ So remonstrance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.

Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark, Preface


#42. 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


As far as I understand, some Christians define eternal damnation as being separated from God for ever. (Even as an atheist I am capitalizing that first letter. I respect others’ beliefs.) That sounds like what “Rule 42” of the Bellman’s “Naval Code” (capitalized first letters as in Carroll’s Snark) says.
        Thomas Cranmer’s 42th Article about eternal damnation didn’t make it into the 39 Articles of the Anglicans, but the debate continued. The Reverend C.L. Dodgson was opposed to the dogma of eternal damnation.
        In 1994, Angus MacIntyre suggested (The Reverend Snark, Jabberwocky 23, p. 51~52): “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” I learned about MacIntire’s suggestion in an article by Karen Gardiner, an Anglican priest. In June 2018 she suggested that in The Hunting of the Snark, Carroll/Dodgson addressed the Article 42 in Thomas Cranmer‘s Articles (Life, Eternity, and Everything: Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll, July 2018, p.25~41 in THE CARROLLIAN, No. 31).
        My approach to a possible reference in The Hunting of the Snark to the 42 Articles was different. It started with discovering a pictorial reference in one of Henry Holiday’s Snark illustrations to Thomas Cranmer’s burning. If I look back at what came into my mind in the year 2014, it was Henry Holiday who made me curious to learn more about the articles 27, 41 and 42 and whether they might have been an issue for the Reverend Dodgson.

 
2018-07-08, updated: 2021-12-30

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 on eternal damnation 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, with the second part of the sentence having been “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 (archive)

 
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
 

Henry VIII was succeeded by his son, Edward VI, in 1547. During Edward’s reign, the Church of England adopted a stronger Protestant identity. The Book of Common Prayer of 1549 authorised a reformed liturgy, and this prayer book was revised in 1552 to make it more explicitly Protestant. To make the English Church fully Protestant, Cranmer also envisioned a reform of canon law and the creation of a concise doctrinal statement, which would become the Forty-two Articles. Work on a doctrinal statement was delayed by Cranmer’s efforts to forge a doctrinal consensus among the various Protestant churches to counter the work of the Catholic Council of Trent. When this proved impossible, Cranmer turned his attention to defining what the Church of England believed.
        The Forty-two Articles were drafted by Cranmer and a small group of fellow Protestants. The title page claimed that the articles were approved by Convocation when in reality they were never discussed or adopted by the clerical body. They were also never approved by Parliament. The articles were issued by Royal Mandate on 19 June 1553. The articles were to be short formularies that would demonstrate the faith revealed in Scripture and the existing ecumenical creeds. The theology of the articles has been described as a “restrained” Calvinism.
        Edward died in 1553. 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, despite the opposition of Bishop Edmund Gheast, Article XXIX was re-inserted, declaring 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, 2021-03-28
 
 


Eternal damnation still was a controversial issue in the era of the Oxford Movement.

ON APPEAL FROM THE ARCHES COURT OF CANTERBURY.
[…] An Article setting forth extracts of a review of a work that a Clergyman of the Church of England had reviewed, charging that he had therein advisedly declared, that after this life there would be no judgment of God, awarding either eternal happiness or eternal misery, contrary to the Three Creeds, the Absolution, the Catechism, and the Burial and Commination Service: Held not established by the passages of the work pleaded. It is not penal for a Clergyman to express a hope of the ultimate pardon of the wicked [2 Moo. P.C. (N.S.) 432, 433]. […]

Source: 15 E.R. (Essays and Reviews) 943; Date: 1863-06-26; Court: Privy Court; Appellant: Rev. Rowland Williams, D.D.; Respondent: Rev. Walter Kerr Hamilton, Lord Bishop of Salisbury; Appellant: Rev. Henry Bristow Wilson, Clerk; Respondent: Rev. James Fendall, Clerk
 

Rev. C. L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) objected to the belief in eternal punishment in 1897, but his article on Eternal Punishment was not published during his lifetime. In the article, one of Dodgson’s points is that “αἰών” should be translated as “of indefinite duration”, not as “eternal”. (See p. 52 in Robert D. Sutherland’s Language and Lewis Carroll, 1970.) The controversy on eternal punishment seems not to have ended yet.

I assume, that Carroll’s “forty-two” serves as a reference to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles. And Rev. Karen Gardiner suggested in The Carrollian (July 2018, № 31, p.25~41), that this is a reference mainly to Article 42 (about eternal damnation) in the Forty-Two Articles.

Today, “42” mostly is known as an answer to an unknown question. That answer had been revealed in a popular travel guide and invented by Douglas Adams as an answer to that 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 (the BBC radio series) 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.

 
Links:

 
Twitter

 
2017-12-25, updated: 2021-12-29

Snark Assemblage


Here I inserted (2012-08-18) details from Henry Holiday’s Snark illustrations to the 1st Snark fit into Thomas Landseer’s illustration.

You can use the assemblage in compliance with license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Main artists: Conrad Martens & Thomas Landseer, Henry Holiday & Joseph Swain.

more | search “SnarkAssemblage”

 
2017-09-23, update: 2021-12-29