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Three 150th Snark anniversaries

  • 25 October 2025: Title
    • On 25 October 1875, Carroll decided to use “The Hunting of the Snark” as the title of his Snark tragedy.
  • 1 April 2026: Publication
    • On 29 March 1876 at Macmillan, Carroll prepared 80 presentation copies for family and friends. (As far as I understand, these copies contained an additional poem: the Easter Greeting.)
    • On 1 April 1876, Macmillan officially published the poem with Henry Holiday’s illustrations.

There are more Snark related entries in Carroll’s notes.

 
2024-06-05

Featured

The Vanishing

Image based on an illustration by Henry Holiday and a page of the British Museum:

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: 2022-02-28

Snarks Have Five Unmistakable Marks

How can we recognize a Snark? The Bellman explains it (🎶🎶🎶): A Snark is not necessarily evil, but once it turns into a Boojum, you are in trouble.

    “Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
        The five unmistakable marks
    By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
        The warranted genuine Snarks.

    “Let us take them in order.

  1.     The first is the taste,
            Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
        Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
            With a flavour of Will-o’-the-wisp.
  2.     “Its habit of getting up late you’ll agree
            That it carries too far, when I say
        That it frequently breakfasts at five-o’clock tea,
            And dines on the following day.
  3.     “The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
            Should you happen to venture on one,
        It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
            And it always looks grave at a pun.
  4.     “The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
            Which it constantly carries about,
        And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes –
            A sentiment open to doubt.
  5.     “The fifth is ambition.
    1.  


          It next will be right
              To describe each particular batch:
          Distinguishing
             
      those that have feathers, and bite,
             
      And those that have whiskers, and scratch.

          “For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
              Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
          Some are Boojums –” The Bellman broke of in alarm,
              For the Baker had fainted away.
       

       
          “He remarked to me then,” said that mildest of men,
              “ ‘If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
          Fetch it home by all means – you may serve it with greens,
              And it’s handy for striking a light.

          “ ‘You may seek it with thimbles—and seek it with care;
              You may hunt it with forks and hope;
          You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
              You may charm it with smiles and soap –’ ”

          (“That’s exactly the method,” the Bellman bold
              In a hasty parenthesis cried,
          “That’s exactly the way I have always been told
              That the capture of Snarks should be tried!”)

          “ ‘But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
              If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
          You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
              And never be met with again!’
       

       
          “I engage with the Snark — every night after dark —
              In a dreamy delirious fight:
          I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
              And I use it for striking a light:

          “But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
              In a moment (of this I am sure),
          I shall softly and suddenly vanish away —
              And the notion I cannot endure!”

       
      Important: The descriptions above are opinions of the Bellman, the Baker and the Baker’s Uncle. The views of these characters are not necessarily Lewis Carroll’s views: “I do not hold myself responsible for any of the opinions expressed by the characters in my book.” (Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded). However, the “delirious fight” “every night after dark” could be a reference to the author’s own “mental troubles“.

       
      Among the forks mentioned above (used to hunt the Snark and carried by this landing crew of a naval expedition) is a tuning fork (held by the Banker). Charles Darwin used a tuning-fork to let spiders dance, and for dissection (don’t tell the spiders) he used lace-needles together with his microscope (like the one carried by the beaver).

       
      2017-09-18, edited 2024-06-18

Lookout

Who was first?
※ Gustave Doré’s illustration to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”,
※ Henry Holiday’s book cover design to Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”.

 
2024-06-17 (Henry Holiday’s 185th birthday)

Fact Checks

  • Ambiguous: The “Boots” and “the maker of Bonnets and Hoods” in The Hunting of the Snark might be two different persons, but also could be the same person.
  • Unproven: The assumption that Carroll was on drugs when he wrote the Alice books.
  • Not quite right: The assumption that C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) invented the word “Snark”.
  • Probably wrong: The assumption that the the Snark’s “fondness for bathing-machines” is nonsense. It might be an Oxford Christ Church College insider joke.
  • Too often wrong: Carroll quotes (e.g. in the Internet). Check them before a Carroll misquote sticks as a tattoo on your skin.
  • Wrong: The assumption that the “Ocean Chart” (the Bellman’s map) in The Hunting of the Snark was made by Henry Holiday.
  • Wrong: The claim by rare book sellers that only the first issue of The Hunting of the Snark has “Baker” on page 83.
  • Wrong: The assumption that there is photographic evidence that Alice Liddell, as a child, kissed C.L. Dodgson.
  • Wrong: The story that C.L. Dodgson sent an admiring Queen Victoria a copy of An Elementary Treatise on Determinants.

 

Not Lewis Carroll

 
2019-07-12, updated: 2024-06-13

Are there 9 or 10 Snark Hunters?

Most readers of The Hunting of the Snark assume that the Snark hunting party consists of ten members. However, probably for a good reason, only nine members can be seen in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s ballad. Actually, I really think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. But if you, as almost everybody else, prefer ten Snark hunters, that’s fine too. Lewis Carroll gave you (and me) a choice, incidentally(?) in the 9th and the 10th line of his tragicomedy.

Let us take all the crew members in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods.
    (A correct non-sequential interlaced portmanteau can be built from Bonnets and Hoods.)

    009  'The crew was complete: it included a boots -
010  A maker of Bonnets and Hoods.

The usual interpretation is that this is the introduction of two crew members:
The Boots and the maker of Bonnets and Hoods.

Alternatively, the two lines also can be interpreted as the introduction of
a Boots, who is a maker of Bonnets and Hoods.
  3. The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
  4. The Broker, to value their goods.
  5. The Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, might perhaps have won more than his share. From John Tufail I learned that in Henry Holiday’s illustration the Billiard-marker is preparing a cheat.
  6. The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
  7. The Beaver, that paced on the deck or would sit making lace in the bow and had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, though none of the sailors knew how.
  8. The Baker, also addressed by “Fry me!”, “Fritter my wig!”, “Candle-ends” as well as “Toasted-cheese”, and known for joking with hyenas and walking paw-in-paw with a bear.
  9. The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend with the lace-making animal.

More about the members of the Snark hunting party:
9 or 10 hunters?
  Care and Hope
  The Snark
  The Boojum

 
2017-11-06, updated: 2024-06-13

Carroll’s Honest Lie

Louis Zukofsky, “Review of Lewis Carroll, Russian Journal,” The New Masses (1935-10-08)Louis Zukofsky, “Review of Lewis Carroll, Russian Journal,” The New Masses (1935-10-08)

Authors, who say that they “don’t not know” whether their book is satire, might just tell an honest lie. Explaining that satire is satire is boring.

Of course “The Hunting of the Snark” contains satire. Dodgson wasn’t stupid. Satirists who explain their work would kill their work. E.g. in case of the “bathing machines“, “The Hunting of the Snark” took a reference to one of Carroll’s obvious satires.

By the way: I thought that Carroll’s Snark creation story “I was walking on a hillside, alone, one bright summer day, when suddenly there came into my head one line of verse — one solitary line — ‘For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.'” was another honest lie, a “lime twig for critics“. But after checking the weather of that day I am not so sure anymore. It was a bright summer day.

ex Twitter | contextualising Carroll

 
2019-06-23, update: 2024-06-11

Contextualising Carroll

Contextualising Carroll

The contradiction of science and religion
in the life and works of Lewis Carroll


PhD Thesis by
Darien Graham-Smith
University of Wales, Bangor, 2005

 
Summary

This work presents a theory that Lewis Carroll’s life and works were profoundly affected by a conflict between his logical world view and his religious beliefs. Three examinations are presented – the first of convention and logic in Carroll’s life, the second of the nature of his religion and the third of his response to contemporary science. The thesis concludes that Victorian science brought Carroll’s beliefs into contradiction, causing him to experience religious and existential doubts. It is suggested that an understanding of these doubts can inform an understanding of Carroll’s relationships with Alice Liddell and other young girls, and indeed has repercussions for his entire life and works beyond the scope of this thesis.

Two brief appendices expand upon issues mentioned in the text: the first considers the artefacts at Ripon Cathedral which are supposed by some to have influenced Carroll; and the second discusses Effie’s Dream-Garden, a children’s book which bears some resemblance to the Alice story but which was published several years before that story was first told.

 
Contents

   3  Summary
   4  Contents
   7  Acknowledgements
   8  Author’s Declarations
   9  Definitions

  10  Chapter 1: Introduction
  23  Chapter 2: Convention
  46  Chapter 3: Religion
  64  Chapter 4: Science
  88  Chapter 5: Darwin and the Dodo
 114  Chapter 6: Dreams and Doubts
 135  Chapter 7: Conclusion

 139  Appendix A: Ripon Cathedral
 142  Appendix B: Effie’s Dream Garden
 147  Works cited

 
Amazon (Kindle): B010Y2T5GS

 


If you want to use Darien Graham-Smith’ thesis for your own research, I recommend to discuss it with the author and with Simon Davison, the maker of the British 2023 Snark film.

 
2024-06-02, update: 2024-06-11

Eschatological Snark

Curator's comments
...
This is one of a number of earlier prints used by Henry Holiday in his illustrations to Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark, 1876 (information from Goetz Kluge, June 2016)


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).

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 Rule 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.”«But if Rule 42 is not just a random number, preferred by some inexplicable reason by Carroll, but is actually a theological nod to a discarded article of faith, then the riddle may be solved. The rule may indeed be the oldest (that is, from 1553 rather than 1571) and so the King, in some senses, is correct. But Alice is also correct. This rule has already been rejected as unnecessary and flawed and therefore cannot be used by the court to justify ejecting her.

It is therefore this paper’s argument that Carroll’s frequent and unexplained use of the number 42, and in particular his development of Rule 42 in the preface of the

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. I suggest that Carroll chose the “42” as one 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. When Reverend Karin Gardiner wrote her paper, she did not refer to my findings related to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 Articles. (She did that later in her Ph.D. thesis.) It is good to learn that also theologists write about religious aspects of The Hunting of the Snark.

more

 
2018-07-06, update: 2024-06-08

Lime Twig

On 1875-11-06 Carroll wrote in his diary about his Snark poem:

The first stanza was composed in July 22. 1874. “In the midst of the word…” which stands as the last verse of the poem. But the very last line, “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see” came into my head while out on a walk at Guildford, July 18[.]

Source: Edward Wakeling (Ed.), Lewis Carroll’s Diaries, Vol. 6, 2001, p. 432
 

I was walking on a hillside, alone, one bright summer day, when suddenly there came into my head one line of verse — one solitary line — “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.” I knew not what it meant, then: I know not what it means, now; but I wrote it down: and, some time afterwards, the rest of the stanza occurred to me, that being its last line: and so by degrees, at odd moments during the next year or two, the rest of the poem pieced itself together, that being its last stanza.

Source: From Lewis Carroll’s notes, found in Alice on Stage, The Theatre, April 1887.
See also: https://web.archive.org/web/20240504231527/https://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/173027.html

 

I think that leaving such a nice origination story to his readers is part of Carroll’s skillful marketing of his Snark ballade. Oliver Sturm, who translated The Hunting of the Snark into German (Die Jagd nach dem Schnatz. 1996, ISBN 978-3-15-009433-4, p. 85) called that a “Leimrute für Kritiker” (“lime twig for critics”). Sturm might be wrong. At least, Carroll didn’t make up the bright summer day.

I don’t think that Carroll dishonestly misleads his readers when he said “I know not what it means“. Of course he knows. He just made his poem as ambiguous as possible. The motive: Widening the interpretation space of his Snark poem. With that wider space, a book makes more readers happy (and therefore sells better, which is a nice side effect).

In case his readers (like me) think they have discovered some obfuscated meaning, it is the reader (again like me) who can be hold responsible for her or his interpretation, not the author. So, as for my interpretations, there still is the possibility that I am misleading myself.

This is why the Snark hunt never will end.

 
2017-12-17, updated: 2024-06-04

A Starry Map

Source of the map: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MODIS_-_Great_Britain_-_2012-06-04_during_heat_wave_(cropped).jpg

Source of Henry Holiday's front cover illustration to Lewis Carroll's 'The Hunting of the Snark': https://snrk.de/snarkhunt/

John Tufail’s “The Illuminated Snark” (p. 15) lead me to this comparison. In 2004 he interpreted the starry night sky in Henry Holiday’s front cover illustration to Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” (1876) as a map, where the white clouds represented land with rivers. I liked the suggestion, but did not find any real-world map to which Holiday might have alluded. Holiday engraved that illustration himself.

I discovered John Tufail’s paper in 2009. Only today, after 15 years, I got the idea to compress and flip a large segment of a map of the British isles vertically. That’s my “slowness in taking a jest”. You see the result. Sadly, I can’t tell John that anymore. I appreciated his guidance a lot. The white clouds weren’t the land, but as for a map having been hidden in the illustration, John was right.

 
For comments: reddit

 
2024-05-12, update: 2024-06-24

Snark Hunting with Charles Darwin

369    "The method employed I would gladly explain,
370        While I have it so clear in my head,
371    If I had but the time and you had but the brain —
372        But much yet remains to be said.

373    "In one moment I’ve seen what has hitherto been
374        Enveloped in absolute mystery,
375    And without extra charge I will give you at large
376        A Lesson in Natural History."

377    In his genial way he proceeded to say
378        (Forgetting all laws of propriety,
379    And that giving instruction, without introduction,
380        Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

Is this about the introduction to evolution by Charles Darwin?



HMS Beagle | Snark Assemblage
Carroll and Science by Mark R. Richards
Contextualising Carroll by Darien Graham-Smith
Henry Holiday’s Boojum
Vivisection
Breakfast at five-o’clock tea | Charles Darwin in Tahiti
Forks
Tree of Life
Crossing the Line
Darwin’s Study
One of the Beagle‘s Chronometers
The Expression of Emotions
Charles Darwin and the Snark

 
2022-10-31, updated: 2024-06-02

Carroll & Religion

 


contact

2022-11-05, updated: 2024-06-02

Bowsprit

Gemini came up (after I introduced https://snrk.de/page_boots-bonnetmaker/ in an earlier prompt) with a quite interesting answer to the question “Are ‘the maker of Bonnets and Hoods’ and the ‘Boots’ the same person in Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark'”?

Q: Are “the maker of Bonnets and Hoods” and the “Boots” the same person in Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”?

A: The document says that there is ambiguity about whether the maker of Bonnets and Hoods and the Boots are the same person. Some argue that the fact that the maker of Bonnets and Hoods is not pictured in any illustrations and the Boots’ job description includes unshipping the bowsprit, which requires some knowledge of ship parts, suggests they are the same person. Others argue that the description of the Boots’ incompetence makes it unlikely that they would be entrusted with such a task. Ultimately, the author leaves it up to the reader to decide.

Websites reviewed
1. snrk.de/page_boots-bonnetmaker

I already knew that ‘bonnets’ and ‘hoods’ can be understood not only as hats, but also as ship parts. (Carroll liked to use words with more than one meaning.) However, I didn’t make the link to the third ship part, the ‘bowsprit’. Thus, Gemini can generate new ideas (e.g. by checking which words belong to the same category).

It was quite probably Henry Holiday’s illustration (left image) of the Bonnetmaker holding a hat, which gave almost all Snark readers the idea that the Bonnetmaker just made hats. I think that Carroll associated some of his Snark characters with his Oxford colleagues, and the Bonnetmaker could have be a professor who graduated students to doctors and gave them their Tudor bonnet.

But on a ship, a maker of the bonnets and hoods (you see both ship parts together behind the Butcher and the Beaver in the right illustration) might be more helpful to repair these ship parts (and the bowsprit) than a hat maker.

 
2024-03-12, update: 2024-06-01

When the Queen met the Boojum

This is the first page published in snrk.de, a blog which was set up in 2017. It’s mostly about Lewis Carroll‘s, Henry Holiday‘s and Joseph Swain‘s illustrations to The Hunting of the Snark.

In his Illuminated Snark, John Tufail assumed that the night sky in the front cover of The Hunting of the Snark could be a map. Together with my assumption that Henry Holiday drew inspiration from several paintings by Marcus Gheeraerts (I+II), John’s paper helped me to find the Ditchley Portrait. That again helped me to find the painting by an unknown artist depicting Elizabeth I at old age.

It took me several years to find another map to which Henry Holiday might have referred as well.

more

 
2017-08-28, update: 2024-05-12

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 Dalí 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 blur images. For example, looking at an image through a feather did the trick.

Blurring 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.

 
Rather than suffering from pareidolia, artists get inspired by it.

 
Sometimes blurring helps to reveal structures hidden in the hatching.

 


See also: Susana Martinez-Conde, Dave Conley, Hank Hine, Joan Kropf, Peter Tush, Andrea Ayala and Stephen L. Macknik: Marvels of illusion: illusion and perception in the art of Salvador Dali

 


2017-12-28, updated: 2024-05-05

Easter Greeting

On 1875-10-25, C.L. Dodgson noted in his diary that publishing The Hunting of the Snark as a book «would give me a good opportunity to of circulating two papers (which might be lightly gummed in), one a new “Christmas Greeting” to my 40,000 child-readers, the other an advertisement for a house (and a garden perhaps) in or near London».

Later, because the book wasn’t ready for the Christmas sales due to delays in preparing the printing blocks for the illustrations, an Easter Greeting was lightly gummed into 1st editions of the book shortly before it was published on March 29th, 1876 (officially April 1st).

 

Easter Greeting by Lewis Carroll, printed by James Parker & Co. (Oxford, 1876) for C. L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) privately on cream laid fine paper with the “Towgood Fine” watermark. Tipped in at the black front end paper of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, 1st edition and 1st printing, Macmillan & Co. (London, 1876).
'Towgood Fine' watermark of the 'Easter Greeting' tipped in at the front end paper of Lewis Carroll’s 'The Hunting of the Snark'

 
2017-11-17, update: 2024-05-01

«To haunt a man of forty-two»

“No doubt,” said I, “they settled who
      Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
      Was no great compliment!”

 
In his 29th annotation (MG029) to The Hunting of the Snark, Martin Gardiner stated:

Curiously, Carroll refers to his age as 42 in his poem Phantasmagoria (Canto 1, Stanza 16) though at the time [1869 or earlier] the poem was written, he was still in his thirties. The number 42 certainly seems to have had some sort of special significance for Carroll.

It’s a popular assumption, but did Carroll really refer to his age? It’s only “curiously” if one assumes that Carroll was referring to his age before he reached that age. To me that simply means that for the number 42, Carroll did not refer to his own age. With “brat” he might have addressed a cleric who intended to reinstate the dogma of eternal punishment as described in the last article of Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles.

2018-11-11, updated: 2024-04-07

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 (possibly mocking Cranmer’s Article 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
 

The Deacon 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 that 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 Revd. 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 Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles.

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 Rule 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.”«But if Rule 42 is not just a random number, preferred by some inexplicable reason by Carroll, but is actually a theological nod to a discarded article of faith, then the riddle may be solved. The rule may indeed be the oldest (that is, from 1553 rather than 1571) and so the King, in some senses, is correct. But Alice is also correct. This rule has already been rejected as unnecessary and flawed and therefore cannot be used by the court to justify ejecting her.

It is therefore this paper’s argument that Carroll’s frequent and unexplained use of the number 42, and in particular his development of Rule 42 in the preface of the

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 Deacon Dodgson to whom “42” had a special relevance in the history of the church, that vessel which had been snarked so many times.

 
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2017-12-25, updated: 2024-03-06

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