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«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

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

Three Creeds, Three Dogmata, Trinity

To what could the Baker’s “three pairs of boots” refer?

This office [of the Helmsman] was usually undertaken by the Boots, who found in it a refuge from the Baker’s constant complaints about the insufficient blacking of his three pairs of boots.

029    The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
030        He had seven coats on when he came,
031    With three pairs of boots—but the worst of it was,
032        He had wholly forgotten his name.

In Understanding Carroll’s Theological and Philosophical Views” (2010), John Tufail wrote:

The Jowett controversy was just a small part of what he [Pusey] saw as an extremely serious challenge to the authority of the Anglican Church and the basic tenets (the 39 articles and the three Creeds) upon which the Church was based. To Pusey three things were absolute both in terms of faith and of meaning. These were
※ the inviolability of ‘The Word’ discussed above,
※ the concept of ‘Original Sin’, and
※ the idea of ‘Eternal damnation’ for those deemed unrepentant or beyond Salvation.
Of the three, the one closest to Pusey’s heart – the thing that most of all kept the Christian flock close to the fold, was the idea of Eternal Damnation. Pusey’s views on this were clearly defined in a letter he wrote on the subject to Bishop Wilberforce in February 1864:

One can hardly think of anything for the hidden blasphemy of that judgement which declares to be uncertain which our Lord taught, and for the loss of the countless souls which it will involve, if not repudiated by the Church. For nothing, I suppose. Keeps men from any sin except the love of God or the fear of Hell.

People like lists with three points. They list up what a god may be (Trinity), and the Three Creeds are another list among such lists with three items.

The Baker’s “three boots” could be a reference to more than one of theese three items lists.


Links:

(Frankly speaking, to me as an atheist all this is more difficult to digest than one important apperance of “three” in nature, the three generations of matter.)

 
2018-07-07, updated: 2021-12-29

Snarks Have Five Unmistakable Marks

As I reported in the Associations Blaster (2014-03-08), Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Henry Holiday kept a Snark as a pet. They served it with «greens», but as growing greens led to horrible electricity bills, Dodgson and Holiday could not afford to keep their Snark any longer. It took many years until 2014, before planting greens became legal in Colorado and affordable enough to breed Snarks again.

How can we recognize a Snark? The Bellman explains it (🎶🎶🎶):

    “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!”)

       
      Warning: The descriptions above are opinions of the Bellman and the Baker’s Uncle. Also important: 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)

       
      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 2021-12-27

From Horses to Frolicking Weeds

 
※ [top left]: Illustration to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876) by Henry Holiday: The Vanishing (detail from lower left side depicting some weeds which seem to have some fun with each other)
※ [top right]: John Martin: The Bard (ca. 1817, detail from lower left side, retinex filtered and vectorized, then slightly horizontally compressed)
 

overview | Twitter [2nd][1st]

 
2018-02-17, updated: 2021-12-24

Snark Forum

My snrk.de blog has no forum. I don’t want do deal with privacy issues caused by storing user data. More important, I am too lazy to manage a forum.

But there is a nice (albeit presently not too active) Snark sub-forum managed by Mahendra Singh in thecarrollforum.proboards.com. It’s just the place to discuss Snark.

There you also will find some of my old posts. As I try to keep learning, I of course would write many of them differently today.

Hunting Snark in thecarrollforum.proboards.com

If you want to comment on anything you find in the web about The Hunting of the Snark, I recommend to open a thread in that forum, enter the link you are referring to in the post, and write there what you want to discuss.

Comments: Twitter | Forum

2020-09-24, updated: 2021-12-16

snrk.de

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

In snrk.de you’ll find a few assumptions:

  • The Beaver‘s lace making is “wrong” (in Carroll’s view) if lace making stands for vivisection.
  • Lewis Carroll liked to create “portmanteau words”. I think that the Boots is the maker of Bonnets and Hoods and that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only, not ten.
  • Last not least, since 2010 I think that the most important assumption is that Thomas Cranmer could be among the historical persons to whom the Baker (with four nicknames related to something which was heated or burned) might be related.
            As a protestant, Cranmer wrote the Forty-Two Articles. Under threat, he left those articles behind like the Forty-Two Boxes, which the Baker left behind on the beach. Then Carroll associated the Baker with pets of catholic saints: Macarius’ hyenas and Corbinian’s bear.
            Already in 1994, Angus MacIntyre suggested: “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” in The Reverend Snark, Jabberwocky 23(1994), p. 51~52. Henry Holiday’s pictorial reference to Thomas Cranmer’s burning confirms the link between The Hunting of the Snark and Thomas Cranmer.


About me:
I am a retired electronics and mechatronics engineer living near Munich in Germany. I know how to work scientifically, but not in the field of arts and literature. In that field of research I am an amateur. Therefore I don’t have to protect any reputation in academic Snarkology ;-). Nevertheless, if you publish papers about, for example, references from The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer, please give credit to those, who addressed that topic already. That’s me (2010, 2010, 2015), but also Karen Gardiner (2018), Mary Hibbs (2017, pen names: Mary Hammond and Sandra Mann) and Angus MacIntyre (1994).


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


Contact:

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


Privacy policy and data protection:
This site attempts to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation. The blog snrk.de itself does not collect your private data. But some pages have embedded 3rd party content (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.) which might not respect your privacy sufficiently.

If you don’t like that, don’t use snrk.de!


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


Götz Kluge, Munich 2018-07-07, update: 2021-12-12

Snark Themes for Firefox

Two chocolate colored Snark themes for the Firefox browser:

For those who prefer a dark blue Snark hunt:

More Firefox themes: Snark without image | Boojum (grey)
Thunderbird theme: The Hunting of the Snark
(Non-Snark Firefox themes: Ergodark | Pullepum | William Blake on Steroids | Mike Batt
)

Source of the scan: archive.org

I can’t make a Yoda theme for the Firefox browser, because Yoda is not my IP. I am using a design by Henry Holiday instead. It was published as an illustration to The Hunting of the Snark in 1876, so Holiday didn’t copy it from Star Wars.

 
Left image (2016): Concept art by Prince Mahlangu, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Right image (1876): Illustration by Henry Holiday (engraved by Joseph Swain) to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.

 
For comments: Twitter | Reddit | Flickr | Carroll forum

How to make Firefox themes: Mozilla | gitlab.com/AtomRidge/

 
2017-08-28, updated: 2021-12-12

 


PS: I have to admit that at work I use my “Ergodark” theme instead of any of my Snark themes.
2021-02-01: >1000 users.

My Avatar

 
In this image you see where it came from.
 

Just in case you want to know the source for my previous avatar in 2017.

This is a recombed version (with apologies to William Blake) of The Ancient of Times. Your family and your friends might enjoy them in high resoluton: Print them in color (8000×10000) and in black&white (8000×111111), frame them nicely, and give them away as a beautiful gift to keep up their spirits.

 
Holiday may have played with Blake’s painting too.I don’t know. There are better options.
 

Firefox Theme
 

2017-08-28, update: 2021-12-04

9.5±0.5 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’s take all the crew members in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, 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

 
2017-11-06, updated: 2021-11-22

Bathing-Machines

Snarks have five marks:

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.

[The New Belfry of Christ Church, Oxford], of the best of Dodgson’s Oxford squibs, a good humored but cutting attack on Dean Liddell (the father of Alice) and the wooden cube built to contain the Cathedral bells during operations to build a new tower. Though it can still be found today behind the stone walls of the tower, the wooden cube was always a temporary plan but Dodgson was impatient and the Governing body were slow.

Source: Cristies, 2009-12-04

The Bell in The Hunting of the Snark might be interpreted as a symbol for time and time pressure. But it also might have been used by C.L. Dodgson to continue lampooning Dean Henry Liddell‘s minimalistic “bonnet-box” project, a meekly geometric belfry to go up on the cathedral at Christ Church. In The New Belfry of Christ Church, a certain “D. C. L.” wrote:

§ 7. On the impetus given to Art in England by the new Belfry, Ch. Ch.

The idea has spread far and wide, and is rapidly pervading all branches of manufacture. Already an enterprising maker of bonnet-boxes is advertising ‘the Belfry pattern’: two builders of bathing-machines[MG025] at Ramsgate have followed his example: one of the great London houses is supplying ‘bar-soap’ cut in the same striking and symmetrical form: and we are credibly informed that Borwick’s Baking Powder and Thorley’s Food for Cattle are now sold in no other shape.

In The Belfry at Christ Church by E.G.W. Bill, edited by Michael Hall and published in Oxoniensia 2013 (Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society), I found this quote from a letter by C.L. Dodgson to The Pall Mall Gazette (1874-10-31):

During the restoration of the Cathedral, when the bells had been removed from the tower, which had become too weak to support them, it was proposed to hang them outside the cathedral in a wooden belfry, which we were assured would be quite inoffensive, as it would hardly be visible from any point of the compass. In an evil hour we consented, and the resulting erection, which cost about a thousand pounds, speedily made us famous for having inflicted upon Oxford the ugliest and most conspicuous monstrosity that probably she has ever seen. This, and the great expense already incurred, forced on us the conviction that we must now erect a stone bell-tower.

 
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2018-05-24, update: 2022-11-22

Breakfast at five-o’clock tea

Snark mark 2/5:

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.

In November 1859, Dodgson gave a lecture at a meeting of the Ashmolean Society on “Where does the Day begin?”. A clock is right 24 times a day, if you start carrying the clock around the globe due West at an angular speed of 15°/h once it has stopped. (It’s almost like the mad tea-party having always six o’clock while moving around the table.) Only the day date suddenly would change somewhere. (That’s where in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the March Hare quickly changes the topic.)

There neither were internationally defined time zones yet, nor an internationally agreed date line when Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle travelled around the world, but when he (and the Snark) breakfasted in Tahiti, it probably already was around tea time back home in Carroll’s Oxford. From England it carries us far away, when we imagine breakfasting in Tahiti.

On 2020-10-22 I found a twitter thread, where John Pretorius showed, that he interpreted (and applied) Lewis Carroll’s “breakfasts at five-o’clock tea” stanza in the same way as I did.

 
Discussion: Facebook | Twitter [5][4][3][2][1]

 
2019-08-16, update: 2021-11-20

My 1st Snark Trophy

My first Snark encounter was in 2005. Then, after almost four years, I entered the Snark hunting grounds in December 2008. http://www.artandpopularculture.com/User:Goetzkluge could give you an idea where I was in 2010.

The image shows illustrations by Henry Holiday (from The Hunting of the Snark, 1876) and Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (Allegory of Iconoclasts, aka The Image Breakers, around 1567): In the “mouth” of Gheeraerts’ “head” a praying priest is depicted. The shape of the priest also is visible in the “mouth” of Holiday’s vanishing “Baker”.

There is more — with acknowledgments to Mahendra Singh, to John Tufail and to the Internet.

And there are more big heads.

Articles in this blog about Henry Holiday’s illustration to the chapter The Vanishing.

 
2017-08-28, updated: 2021-11-20