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What I tell you three times is true!

001    “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
002        As he landed his crew with care;
003    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
004        By a finger entwined in his hair.

005    “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
006        That alone should encourage the crew.
007    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
008        What I tell you three times is true.

329    “’Tis the voice of the Jubjub!” he suddenly cried.
330        (This man, that they used to call “Dunce.”)
331    “As the Bellman would tell you,” he added with pride,
332        “I have uttered that sentiment once.

333    “’Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
334        You will find I have told it you twice.
335    ’Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
336        If only I’ve stated it thrice.

 
Referring to Edith Wharton’s biography of Theodore Roosevelt (MG007), Kelly Ramsdell Fineman told us …

… that President Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Wharton were huge fans of the Snark. On one visit to the White House, Wharton learned of the following exchange that occurred between the President and the Secretary of the Navy (undoubtedly unaware of Carroll’s poem, or at least unaware that Roosevelt was quoting):

During discussion, Roosevelt said to the secretary of the Navy,

“Mr. Secretary, what I tell you three times is true!”

The Secretary replied stiffly,

“Mr. President, it would never for a moment have occurred to me to impugn your veracity.”

 

Already Shakespeare applied the Bellman’s Rule. It is stated in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, line #7 and line #335. I said it in Lua – wrote it in Python and Scratch, I made that indeed, but I wholly forgot (when finally done), that Haskell is what you need! So, here is an example for how to implement that rule:

#! /usr/bin/haskell
import Data.List
someAssertions :: [String]
someAssertions =
  ["I am a very stable genius!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"There are 9 Snark hunters."
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"I am a very stable genius!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"Brexit promises will be kept!"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"6 * 7 = 42"
  ,"I am a very stable genius!"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ,"6 * 7 = 39"
  ,"There are 10 Snark hunters."
  ]
atLeastThrice :: [String] -> [String]
atLeastThrice assertions =
  [head grp | grp <-
    group $ sort assertions, length grp >= 3]

Result (if loaded and executed in GHCi):

*Main> atLeastThrice someAssertions
["6 * 7 = 39","Brexit promises will be kept!","I am a very stable genius!","There are 10 Snark hunters."]

 
PS: It’s not easy. Truth isn’t truth.

 
2017-12-16, update: 2022-05-21

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.

 
 


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 would be 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.)


 
2018-04-02, update: 2022-05-16

Crossover Literature

The Hunting of the Snark needs to be read at least twice. It is crossover literature. You read it differently at different ages. The book is an excellent example for crossover literature (and crossover picture books): Children read it as a nonsense story. It is “dark”, but funny nevertheless. Adult readers know more than children. Some of them will recognize (around 140 years after the book was published) the textual and pictorial references in Lewis Carroll, Henry Holiday and Joseph Swain’s tragicomedy.

Henry Holiday’s illustration to the final chapter of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark has been published almost 150 years ago. Children probably will not understand that the illustration is a reference to the burning of Thomas Cranmer. He and the Baker (the ambivalent hero in The Hunting of the Snark) perhaps hoped that after having left their 42 articles behind, the Boojum won’t get them.

Comparison of two illustrations:

  • Faiths Victorie in Romes Crueltie (published by Thomas Jenner, c. 1630). Immediately to the right side of the fire, Thomas Cranmer is depicted burning his hand.
    Source: British Museum
  • Henry Holiday’s illustration to the chapter The Vanishing in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876). The complete illustration is on the lower left side. A 135° couterclockwise rotated detail from that illustration has been rendered on the upper right side of this comparison image.
    Source: 1st edition of The Hunting of the Snark (April 1876).

The rotated detail from Henry Holiday’s illustration neither is a “claw” nor a “beak”. I assume that it depicts a fire. And there is a hand in both fires. Carroll and Holiday almost too successfully made sure that the readers of The Hunting of the Snark don’t understand their references to Thomas Cranmer too early: Carroll’s tragycomedy was published in 1876. In 1994, Angus MacIntyre 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 (I started to search for it in 2010) to Thomas Cranmer’s burning confirms the link between The Hunting of the Snark and Thomas Cranmer.

 
2018-05-07, updated: 2022-04-27

Thing-um-a-jig!

He would answer to “Hi!” or to any loud cry,
  Such as “Fry me!” or “Fritter my wig!”
To “What-you-may-call-um!” or “What-was-his-name!”
  But especially “Thing-um-a-jig!”

See also: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thingamajig and www.etymonline.com/search?q=thingamajig.

2020-02-25, update: 2022-04-19

Arne Nordheim’s Snark

As for the Snark music known to me, Arne Nordheim’s The Return of the Snark – For Trombone And Tape is among my favorites. Nordheim composed this 15 minutes piece in the year 1987. Gaute Vikdal plays the trombone.

The recording is part of the 7 CDs album Listen – The Art of Arne Nordheim. There are other recordings of Nordheim’s Snark compositions available in the Internet, like The Hunting of the Snark for Trombone only. But I like the Return most.

 
2018-11-02, update: 2022-04-04

Printmaking

I think that in his description of the five Snark marks, Lewis Carrolls might have referred to some of his contemporaries. After listing the 5th mark “ambition”, Carroll devides Snarks into two types:

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

This could be a reference to the Snark illustrator Henry Holiday and the engraver Joseph Swain, or generally to printmakers who make etchings and engravings. The Snark is not necessarily a bad beast (as long as it doesn’t turn into a Boojum).

 
2019-03-04, updated: 2022-03-28

Henry Holiday and the maker or Bonnets and Hoods

Watch those fingers: The photo has been “photoshopped” (by Henry Holiday or Joseph Swain?) already many years before I worked on it using GIMP. Holiday’s tinkering with the little finger and the thumb of his left hand might be a “Victorian craze“.

The image shows Henry Holiday and segments of one of Henry Holiday’s illustrations (cut by Joseph Swain) to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. The segments show the Bonnetmaker and a bonnet.

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw57000/Henry-Holiday?LinkID=mp59053

Henry Holiday (photo rendered in mirror view)

by Unknown photographer
albumen print, 1870s
5 3/4 in. x 3 5/8 in. (145 mm x 93 mm)
Given by Royal Institute of British Architects: London: UK, 1940
Photographs Collection
NPG x18530The Bonnetmaker drawing could be a little self portrait, a cameo of Henry Holiday in The Hunting of the Snark. The photo is a portrait perhaps taken by Joseph Swain or a self portrait. Henry Holiday was in his mid thirties when he illustrated Carroll’s Snark tragicomedy, and the National Portrait Gallery dated a portrait photo of Henry Holiday (NPG x18530) with “1870s”, where the face shown in that photo does not look too different from the face in the assembly shown above.

 


Such little self portraits in drawings have a long tradition.

In German there is the terms “Assistenzfigur”. That is a person positoned in the background or beside the main person or main object depicted in a painting. You may think of such a person as the static version of a “film extra” in a movie. She or he serves a a kind of helper or assistant. Sometimes one of these extras is the artist who made the painting. In German we call such an image in the image an “Assistenzselbstbildnis” or “Assistenzselbstbild” or “Selbstbildnis in Assistenz”. Perhaps the first known self-portraits in assistance where a kind of signature of the artist.

The “self-portrait in assistance” first became available since the 14th century to master builders and sculpturer, shortly after that in Italy also to fresco painters, and since the 15th and 16th century also to painters of large altar- and panel paintings; see Raupp, S. 8

Source (in German): Footnote on p. 162 in Suzanne Valadon – Identitätskonstruktion… (2001) by Valeska Doll referring to Untersuchungen zu Künstlerbildnissen und Künstlerdarstellungen in den Niederlanden im 17. Jahrhundert (1984) by Hans-Joachim Raupp.

In that matter there also are references to Raupp in Melanie Munduch: Die Selbstbildnisse Luca Giordanos (2012)

 


#Assistenzselbstbildnis: Twitter

For diskussion of the finger “photoshopping”: Twitter

Original post: 2017-09-28. Update: 2022-02-12

William Hartston’s Clues

Creativity: 42 clues to what it all means
WILLIAM HARTSTON
[Independent] Monday 17 May 1993 23:02 BST

[…] Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson offers a more convincing explanation. […] He must have known about Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles […]

William Hartston probably wrote his article with his tongue in the cheek (which is the safest thing you can do when writing about Douglas Adams’ and about C. L. Dodgson’s (Lewis Carroll’s) “42”). It was about an article by

Ellis Hillman, 64, the founder of the Lewis Carroll Society (and president of the Flat Earth Society in his spare time)

in the journal Chapter One of the Alliance of Literary Societies.

But thanks to the creativity of Lewis Carroll and Henry Holiday there really might be textual and pictorial references to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 Articles in The Hunting of the Snark.


 
On the Flat Earth Society: William Hartston seems to have used Ellis Hillman’s presidency of the Flat Earth Society to ridicule Hillman. Hartston got it wrong. And when Hillman passed away in 1996, Illtyd Harrington’s orbituary in the Independent mentioned his support of the Flat Earth Society out of context as well.

What is the context? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Shenton, based on p. 274 in Christine Garwood, Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea, 2008:

[…] But as [Samuel Shenton’s International Flat Earth Research Society] was dying [in 1969], he found the successor he had been looking for: Ellis Hillman, a lecturer and member of the Greater London Council, agreed to be president of the IFERS, with the encouragement of Patrick Moore. Lillian Shenton was suspicious of his motives (he was developing a post-graduate course on the development of ideas about the shape of the earth) and in the event he did little for the society. […]

Garwood wrote:

[…] Initially Hillman, who was frank about never having believed in the earth to be flat, was reluctant to accept Shenton’s offer and recalled contacting Patrick Moore to ask his advice. According to Hillman, Moore was encouraging: “For God’s sake, keep it going,” he allegedly exclaimed, “we must have heretical people in the world of astronomy.” Besides Moore’s enthusiasm, there was a second persuative factor: at the time Hillman was planning a postgraduate course on the development of ideas connected with the shape of the earth and he believed it would assist his academic research to accept Shenton’s offer. […]


 

 
2018-04-25, update: 2022-02-02

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: 2022-02-02

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: 2022-01-28

»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 only “curiously” if one assumes that Carroll was referring to his age before he reached that age. To me that simply means that for Carroll the number 42 does not refer to Carroll’s own age.

2018-11-11, updated: 2022-01-23

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

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 is 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 monstrous process. Once you encounter 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

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.

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

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