Lorenzo and Isabella

Bycatch from my Snark hunt:

The, well, ambiguity of that “shadow”is known. Also there were some Freudian assumptions regarding what the salt could stand for. But so far I didn’t find any remarks on the impossibility of having a shadow being covered by white salt which isn’t covered by that shadow. To someone who learned physics that is a quite obvious question.


2017-12-17, update: 2020-04-11

Seven Coats

021     There was one who was famed for the number of things
022         He forgot when he entered the ship:
023     His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
024         And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

025     He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
026         With his name painted clearly on each:
027     But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
028         They were all left behind on the beach.

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.

2018-06-13, update 2020-03-20

Mindprinting the Snark

In the page related to this blog post, I quoted a large part of the article Henry Holiday’s Hunting of the Snark art has subconscious order (2019-10-17) by Edmond Furter, where he applies his Mindprint concept.

I don’t understand the Mindprint concept yet and I don’t know whether I agree to Further’s views, probably because I still didn’t dig into his writings. But I added some hyperlinks into the quoted article. They lead you to entries in my blog to which Furter might have referred when he wrote his article. Those links weren’t in the original article.


When the Queen met the Boojum

This is the first page published in, 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.


2017-08-28, update 2020-02-27


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!”

Untangling the Knot

Untangling the Knot
An Analysis of Lewis Carroll’sThe Hunting of the Snark

by Sandra Mann, 2018

[…] The Hunting of the Snark is an allegory for the journey of life which Carroll crafted very carefully to include “difficulties” which he believed had come about because of human error. Life as a journey by boat had long been a favorite metaphor of Carroll’s. In this case the tale would not be of a sweet row on a placid river, but one of a voyage filled with fear and bewilderment and dread. And the moral, that despite our bewilderment, we would all be saved through God’s love and compassion in the end. […]

(Sandra Mann and Mary Hammond are pen names of Mary Hibbs.)


[…] When [The Hunting of the Snark] was published in 1876 it was illustrated by Henry Holiday who, though a very talented artist, failed to capture the surreal nature of Carroll’s poem. The illustrations for this edition however, provided by Gormenghast author Mervyn Peake, are the perfect accompaniment. Peake’s drawings have an uneasy bubbling quality, blending with the silly and macabre feel of the words […]

Nothing against Mervyn Peake’s illustrations, but already this illustration (even without the yellow lines and dots which I added) might contain more elements of “surreal nature” than what you find in Mervyn Peake’s illustrations. I like those playful weeds (or animals?) in the lower left corner of Holiday’s illustration.

That’s not the only thing which that corner has to offer.

Another popular path (not) to understand The Hunting of the Snark has been stated more than three times: Some call Carroll’s poem “nonsense”. It isn’t.

Anyway, I don’t think that Holiday failed to convey to us graphically what Carroll meant. The price for his achievement perhaps was that Holiday’s illustrations are less eye pleasing than illustrations like Peake’s.

Holiday’s illustrations are as grotesque as Carroll’s poem.

2018-02-16, updated: 2020-02-01

From Horses to Playful Weeds

[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)
[right]: John Martin: The Bard (ca. 1817, detail from lower left side, retinex filtered and vectorized, then slightly horizontally compressed)


overview | Twitter

2018-02-17, updated: 2020-02-01

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 (with a high resolution image) | search “SnarkAssemblage”

2017-09-23, update: 2020-01-30

Hideously Ugly

Jun 13, 1862: Saw Millais’ “Carpenter’s Shop” at Ryman’s. It is certainly full of power, but hideously ugly: the faces of the Virgin and Christ being about the ugliest.

I found this quote in Lewis Carroll’s Diaries on Twitter.

And I found the following quote from Charles Dickens in Pre-Raphernalia, Raine Szramski‘s blog with “Pre-Raph Sketchbook Cartoons”.

You behold the interior of a carpenter’s shop. In the foreground of that carpenter’s shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-headed boy, in a bed-gown, who appears to have received a poke in the hand, from the stick of another boy with whom he has been playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness, that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest ginshop in England.

Two almost naked carpenters, master and journeyman, worthy companions of this agreeable female, are working at their trade; a boy, with some small flavor of humanity in him, is entering with a vessel of water; and nobody is paying any attention to a snuffy old woman who seems to have mistaken that shop for the tobacconist’s next door, and to be hopelessly waiting at the counter to be served with half an ounce of her favourite mixture. Wherever it is possible to express ugliness of feature, limb, or attitude, you have it expressed. Such men as the carpenters might be undressed in any hospital where dirty drunkards, in a high state of varicose veins, are received. Their very toes have walked out of Saint Giles’s.


Perhaps Dickens initially saw the reproduction of Millais’ painting in the Illustrated London News (1850-05-11) and couldn’t forget that first impression. It seems that the engraver of the reproduction was a bit biased against Millais’ Carpenter’s Shop. (Twitter)


Whether ugly or not, Henry Holiday probably liked the painting of his teacher. He might have alluded to Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents when he illustrated Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.


Category: Christ in the House of his Parents

2019-06-14, updated 2020-01-29

Snark too Dark

On the left side of this image comparison you see a scan (source: of Henry Holiday’s illustration to the final chapter The Vanishing in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. It already is a quite faithful reproduction of the original illustration.

The image on the right side has been generated from a scan of an original illustration from my own 1st edition of The Hunting of the Snark, where I grew the white areas a bit. (First I enlarged the image by 2:1. Then I applied GIMP → Filters → Generic → Erode. After that I scaled the image back to its previous size.)

In prints made by Ian Mortimer (for a limited edition of The Hunting of the Snark published by Macmillan in 1993) from Joseph Swain’s original woodblocks, the illustration has better quality, but looks even darker. That is as faithful to the original as it can get.

I am not sure whether in the original printing from electrotypes the dark areas of the illustration might have grown wider than it was intended by Henry Holiday. It looks as if too much black ink had spilled into the white areas. But Ian Mortimers wood prints are as dark as the electrotype prints. If this was overprinting, then Lewis Carroll must have tolerated it.

In order to fix overprinting with the technology available to in the 19th century printers, one perhaps would have to redo the electrotypes and then try to erode the black areas using etching. Or just less ink would just do the job. But I don’t know too much about electrotyping (and printing in general), so I am just guessing here. Whatsoever, since many Snark editions hade been sold already, the dark Snark with the well hidden face of the Baker is the standard today (if it wasn’t intentional anyway).

Further reading: Lewis Carroll’s cat-astrophe, and other literary kittens by Mark Brown, The Guardian, 2018-11-22. (A tweet by Susan J. Cheadle drew my attention to that article. “Carroll’s Trump-like anger at the printing of his book Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice Found There is revealed in a new exhibition opening at the British Library which explores and celebrates cats in literature.” (As for cats, you might like my bog post “Kitty”.))

For discussion: Twitter 2 | Twitter 1 | Facebook

2018-06-17, updated: 2020-01-20

What – me worry?

Source for “Alfred E. Neuman”:

After a Butcher/Jowett comparison I run into a page published by Arthur Neuendorffer. (Art perhaps is in Oxford what Alois Kabelschacht is in room 354 of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich.) Art discovered a resemblance between Henry Holiday’s depiction of The Butcher in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark and Alfred E. Neuman. He wrote: “When Mad Magazine was sued for copyright infringement, one defense it used was that it had copied the picture from materials dating back to 1911.” Incidentially, my first copy of the The Hunting of the Snark was an American edition published in 1911.

It seems, though, that Alfred E. Neuman and the Butcher are quite distant relatives:

Repetition increases perceived truth

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

October 2019, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 1705–1710

Repetition increases perceived truth equally for plausible and implausible statements

Lisa K. Fazio, David G. Rand, Gordon Pennycook

Repetition increases the likelihood that a statement will be judged as true. This illusory truth effect is well established; however, it has been argued that repetition will not affect belief in unambiguous statements. When individuals are faced with obviously true or false statements, repetition should have no impact. We report a simulation study and a preregistered experiment that investigate this idea. Contrary to many intuitions, our results suggest that belief in all statements is increased by repetition. The observed illusory truth effect is largest for ambiguous items, but this can be explained by the psychometric properties of the task, rather than an underlying psychological mechanism that blocks the impact of repetition for implausible items. Our results indicate that the illusory truth effect is highly robust and occurs across all levels of plausibility. Therefore, even highly implausible statements will become more plausible with enough repetition.

Keywords: Truth, Repetition, Illusory truth, Plausibility

Cite the article as: Fazio, L.K., Rand, D.G. & Pennycook, G. Psychon Bull Rev (2019) 26: 1705.


Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News
Researchers identify a major risk factor for pernicious effects of misinformation.
By David Z. Hambrick, Madeline Marquardt on February 6
Scientific American, 2018


What I tell you three times is true!

“Edward VI and the Pope” on Twitter





03 (comment to 02)









12 (2019-03-23)

Hunting Happiness

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.

Lewis Carroll (on The Hunting of the Snark)


What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.

Arthur Schopenhauer
(Günther Flemming made me aware of this quote in a comment to his translation of The Hunting of the Snark, p. 156, ISBN 978-3-8442-6493-7)

Dernière sortie pour wonderland

À propos du Dernière sortie pour wonderland par Ghislain Gilberti :

Paroles d’un mégalomane: « C’est sans concession que Dernière Sortie pour Wonderland referme pour toujours la porte du Pays des Merveilles et met un point final à la pudibonderie hypocrite que même Tim Burton n’a pas pu briser avec ses dernières adaptations cinématographiques. » Hypocrite ?  Ne pourrait-il pas être simplement que Burton ne considère pas les preuves existantes suffisantes pour des jugements moraux ?

Le roman est présenté comme une analyse révélant le « vrai visage » de Carroll. Le sujet nécessite une recherche minutieuse, vérifiable et discutable (sur la base de preuves) et une présentation scientifiquement propre. Mais ce livre a reçu la forme du roman « ré-écrit ». Il s’agit d’une tentative d’échapper aux critiques.

Blog Tea Time in Bloomsbury (2017-10-20) :

[…] Bon, maintenant que vous et moi avons une vision plus honnête de ce pavé de 500 pages, est-ce que ça vaut le coup de le lire ?

Oui, parce que c’est une adaptation fascinante et bien écrite. Vous ne vous rendrez pas compte que vous lisez un pavé (sauf au poids). Vous rentrerez dans un monde plein de couleurs (même si parfois, il y a un peu trop d’hémoglobine, un peu comme dans une série B ou un Tarantino), un univers connu qui continue à alimenter votre curiosité. Néanmoins, plus vous avancerez dans le livre et moins vous aurez envie de lire les passages dits parasites. Ces passages sont des traversées dans le temps pour une Alice adulte du futur qui voit des scènes de vie glauques/puantes de Lewis Carroll imaginée par l’auteur. Plus vous avancerez et plus ces passages deviennent puants, borderline de la fiction érotique pour pédophile.


Non []

Dernière Sortie pour Wonderland fait croire aux lecteurs qui ne comprennent pas les exigences d’une analyse qu’ils comprennent Carroll après avoir lu le livre. Que Gilberti, de l’avis de ses admirateurs, est un excellent écrivain ne fait qu’empirer les choses. Cependant, ce que le roman réalise, c’est qu’il rend les fantasmes de l’auteur plus clairs que les fantasmes de Carroll. Gilberti est un maître de l’écriture de fiction : Il pourrait également réécrire les instructions d’utilisation d’une machine à laver comme un roman adapté fascinant sur les appareils électroménagers pervers.


(1) Pages 463~485 : Une sélection (par Séverine Clément, auteur de matériel) de plus de 80 photos en noir et blanc sans spécification suffisamment précise des sources. Au moins pour une photo (en haut à gauche à la page 485) ne fait pas partie de la collection de Carroll. Les commentaires de Clément en disent plus sur sa propre imagination que sur les intentions de Dodgson/Carroll.

(2) Qui est Norah Spencer (ou Nora Spencer, CBS) ?  J’ai posé cette question à Gilbert sur Facebook. Mais après cela, il a supprimé cet article Facebook.

(3) Facebook: [1] [2] [3] [4]

(4) Babelio


There seems to be more “imaginative” fiction: the “novel” O fotógrafo e a rapariga by Mario Cláudio, 2015

2019-12-09, updated 2019-12-29