2021-07-19, update: 2022-07-17
Perhaps I may venture for a moment to use a more serious tone, and to point out that there are mental troubles, much worse than mere worry, for which an absorbing object of thought may serve as a remedy.
- There are sceptical thoughts, which seem for the moment to uproot the firmest faith;
- there are blasphemous thoughts, which dart unbidden into the most reverent souls;
- there are unholy thoughts, which torture with their hateful presence the fancy that would fain be pure.
Against all these some real mental work is a most helpful ally. That “unclean spirit” of the parable, who brought back with him seven others more wicked than himself, only did so because he found the chamber “swept and garnished,” and its owner sitting with folded hands. Had he found it all alive with the “busy hum” of active work, there would have been scant welcome for him and his seven!
(Charles Lutwidge Dodgson: Pillow Problems and A Tangled Tale, 1885, p. XV;
see also: Life & Letters. Bulletpoints not by Dodgson.)
As any human, Carroll/Dodgson was battling with all kind of temptations. As we know, speculations about possible temptations in his private life keep feeding the pop culture Carroll debate since the 1930s. The controversy is marginalizing the religious conflicts which the Reverend Dodgson was struggling with. I think that one of these serious conflicts was Charles Darwin’s challenge to fundamental religious beliefs. Darwin’s discoveries surely had (and still have) the potential to uproot the firmest faith in various religions.
In the title of the book [Pillow-Problems, 2nd edition], the words “sleepless nights” have been replaced by “wakefull hours”.
This last change has been made in order to allay the anxiety of friends, who have written to me to express their sympathy in my broken-down state of health, believing that I am a sufferer of chronic “insomnia”, and that it is a remedy for that exhausting malady that I have recommended mathematical calculation.
The title was not, I fear, wisely chosen; and it certainly was liable to suggest a meaning I did not intend to convey, viz. that my “nights” are often wholly “sleepless”. This is by no means the case: I have never suffered from “insomnia”: and the over-wakeful hours, that I have had to spend at night, have often been simply the result of the over-sleepy hours I have spent during the preceding evening! Nor is it as a remedy for wakefulness that I have suggested mathematical calculation: but as a remedy for the harassing thoughts that are apt to invade a wholly-unoccupied mind.
I believe that an hour of calculation is much better for me than half-an-hour of worry.
(Charles Lutwidge Dodgson: Pillow Problems, preface to the second edition, 1893)
Carroll openly described how he used mental mathematical work to find distraction from “harassing thoughts”.
I don’t know to which degree the illustrator Henry Holiday discussed and aligned with Carroll his choice of pictorial references in his illustrations to Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, but there is a pictorial reference to mental troubles: St. Anthony’s temptations (painting by Matthias Grünewald). In one of Holiday’s illustrations you see Colenso’s arithmetic textbook. Like Anthony, also Carroll needed lots of mental work as an distraction from sceptical, blasphemous and unholy thoughts. Anthony probably found help in the scriptures which were sacred to him. Interestingly, the Reverend Dodgson used mathematics to resist the temptations.
I saw this math textbook in Holiday’s illustration since many years. Only recently that led me to the assumption (which probably always will be just an assumption) that Holiday might have placed that book into his illustration as a hint to how Carroll used math to keep his brain busy with “some real mental work” as a “most helpful ally” in his battle against the temptations which haunted him.
By the way: Possible references in “The Hunting of the Snark” to St. Anthony and to Darwin had been addressed by Mahendra Singh before I thought about that. Mahendra (who alluded to Matthias Grünewald’s painting himself) and John Tufail were among my most helpful scouts during my own Snark hunt.
2020-06-11, update: 2022-06-27
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.
2018-07-06, update: 2022-01-18
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.
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.
※ 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
2018-05-03, update: 2022-01-02
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
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.
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 Cranmer’s 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.
- Lewis Carroll, Eternal Damnation, in The Lewis Carroll Picture Book (1899, edited by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood), p. 345-355
- Lewis Carroll on Eternal Punishment, posted by “Nick”, 2008
- John Tufail, The Jowett Controversy – Understanding Carroll’s Philosophy, 2010
- John Tufail, The Philosopy of Lewis Carroll, before 2008?
- User “pog” in The Evangelical Universalist Forum: List of those of who reject traditional hellism, 2013
- About articles in the Knight Letter № 100 (by Goetz Kluge, LCSNA 2018) and The Carrollian (by Rev. Karen Gardiner, July 2018, № 31, p.25~41)
2017-12-25, updated: 2021-12-29
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.
- Ecumenical creeds (Wikipedia)
- How Old Are Christian Doctrines?
- Ecumenical Christian Creeds
- List of Christian creeds (Wikipedia)
(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
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.
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.
2020-09-24, updated: 2021-12-16
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:
- The Bellman, their captain.
- The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
- The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
- The Broker, to value their goods.
- 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.
- The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend with the lace-making animal.
2017-11-06, updated: 2021-11-22
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.
2017-08-28, updated: 2021-11-20
- [main image]: John Martin, The Bard (ca. 1817); by GIMP: contrast enhanced in the rock area & light areas delated.
- [inset] Henry Holiday (engraver: Joseph Swain), Illustration (1876) to the chapter The Beaver’s Lesson in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, detail
Bycatch (found in 2013) from my Snark hunt:
- [left] from Maurits Cornelis Escher’s Cimino Barbarano, 1929.
- [right] from John Martin’s The Bard, ca. 1817.
2017-09-26, update: 2021-08-26
Also in this issue, Goetz Kluge makes the case that a seventeenth-century engraving may have influenced Henry Holiday’s last illustration for The Hunting of the Snark. Goetz’s excellent blog about all things Snark is at http://snrk.de/
Preface to the Knight Letter № 100, LCSNA, 2018
On pages 55~56 you find a few lines which I wrote about the Baker and Thomas Cranmer in The Hunting of the Snark.
There also is an accompanying web page.
In the end, the Baker met the Boojum. As an allusion to Thomas Cranmer, the hero in Carroll’s Snark tragicomedy had been named “Baker” and also got some “hot” nicknames. Carroll went to the limits of black humor: The Baker got baked.
Incidentally, in parallel to my little note (p. 55~56 in the Knight Letter № 100) on the Baker’s hot names and on Henry Holiday’s pictorial reference to Thomas Cranmer’s burning, a paper «Life, Eternity and Everything, Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll» suggesting textual references from The Hunting of the Snark to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles has been published in The Carrollian (July 2018, № 31, p.25~41), a journal of the Lewis Carroll Society in the UK. The author, Karen Gardiner, is an Anglican priest. She also addresses the objections of Revd. C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) against the dogma addressed by Article № 42 of Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles.
Angus MacIntyre (1994), myself (2010, 2015, 2015), Mary Hibbs (2017), as well as Karen Gardiner (2018), we all independently from each other suggested that there are such references to Thomas Cranmer and his Forty-Two Articles (the Baker’s forty-two boxes). We arrived there coming from different starting points and different backgrounds. As for me, I initially just looked for Lewis Carroll’s (C.L. Dodgson’s) textual references as guidance for finding pictorial references in Henry Holiday’s illustrations.
2018-07-28, update: 2021-08-09
But perhaps Holiday’s ruff – and the pose of the Fit Five drawing – was inspired by the Elizabethan drama inherent in Millais’ Boyhood of Raleigh, (1869).
Louise Schweitzer, One Wild Flower (2012)
If you want to be on the safe side, just claim that the meaning of the Snark is elusive. But to the more courageous readers I recommend Louise Schweitzer’s doctoral thesis One Wild Flower.
2017-09-04, update: 2021-03-05
UofG Fantasy @UofGFantasy, Apr 13, 2020
This is worth a follow: a twitter account that offers astonishing insights into Henry Holliday’s illustrations for The Hunting of the Snark. Turns out there are dozens of visual gags in them, detectable only by the enlightened!
My bragging is not perfect. I accidentally deleted the Tweet which earned me the recommendation by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic (University of Glasgow). But luckily the Internet doesn’t forget.
(Firefox theme: Dark Snark)
We have holiday in Bavaria today. For me that’s a good occasion to re-read John Tufail’s “Illuminated Snark” (2004).
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
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.)
EDWARD VI 1537-1553 was the long-awaited heir of King Henry VIII, the object of his father’s life long policy, to secure the Tudor dynasty.
His religious education was in the hands of Thomas Cranmer.
One result was Edward’s complete & thorough conversion to Protestant Reform. pic.twitter.com/z3NAidGbpq
— SPIRITUAL LIVES (@ken_kalis) December 21, 2019
— In Our Time (@BBCInOurTime) March 21, 2019
The Revd. C.L. Dodgson under his pen name "Lewis Carroll" wrote "The Hunting of the Snark". It also is about Thomas Cranmer. The illustrator Henry Holiday gave us quite clear hints: https://t.co/nSx3ValV65
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
About references from "The Hunting of the Snark" to Thomas Cranmer:
※ Angus MacIntyre (1994),
※ Goetz Kluge (2015 https://t.co/zMvRzqMjvO, 2018 https://t.co/BFTGACMfFA, @Bonnetmaker)
※ Mary Hammond (2017, @Hg4words)
※ Karen Gardiner (2018, @KarenGardiner19) pic.twitter.com/eAaCXDhmt0
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 17, 2019
03 (comment to 02)
"Edward VI and the Pope: An Allegory of the Reformation." (NPG London)
In this 16th century anti-papal propaganda painting Henry VIII is on the left side. Thomas Cranmer is 2nd from left in the upper row on the right side.
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
In one of his illustrations (https://t.co/4vu78zj7Jr) to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark", Henry Holiday alluded to the painting "Edward VI and the Pope".
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
I think that also in another illustration (https://t.co/8RYeUCHtTn) to "The Hunting of the Snark" with a depiction of the Baker's 42 boxes (Cranmer's 42 Articles?), Holiday alluded to the depiction of iconoclasm in "Edward and the Pope".
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
Margaret Aston wrote a wonderful book on the painting too. The King and the bedpost
— Justin Champion (@monarchomach) March 23, 2019
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
And the Bedpost ended up in "The Hunting of the Snark" as well. I think that Henry Holiday alluded not only to the "Edward VI and the Pope" painting but also to the painting to which "Edward VI and the Pope" alluded.
There perhaps is an chain of allusions. https://t.co/f7SReLHeXJ pic.twitter.com/fz0esGdShS
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
Correction: … the print to which "Edward VI and the Pope" alluded …
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 24, 2019
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) March 23, 2019
by Mary Hammond, published on Nov 7, 2017. There also is an essay: Mary Hammond, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark Explained.
Mary Hammond’s interpretation of course is not the first Snark interpretation. First hints on what the Snark could be about had been given to us by Henry Holiday and Philo M. Buck. And there is an excellent chapter on Carroll’s tragicomedy in Louise Schweitzer’s One Wild Flower. Oliver Sturm’s Die Jagd nach dem Schnatz is a German translation, which also contains an attempt to explain the Snark. And there is a Snark chapter in Klaus Reichert’s Lewis Carroll: Studien zum literarischen Unsinn. Reichert is another German Snark translator.
Among the interpretations known to me, Mary Hammond’s interpretation is the first one where Eternal Damnation is seen as one of the more important issues to which Lewis Carroll might have taken reference in The Hunting of the Snark. In Carroll’s poem, the Baker‘s Forty-Two Boxes led me to the same conclusion earlier.
In my correspondence with Mary Hammond (a pen ame of Mary Hibbs) she also told me about what in her view “…jum” in Boojum could stand for: Search for jumble in the chapter Of Reason in John Locke‘s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689).
I too associate Boojum with the vanishing of reason – which too often is the beginning of violence. Yet, I’ll probably never know, whether my association is similar to what the Boojum meant to Carroll.
549 “It’s a Snark!” was the sound that first came to their ears,
550 And seemed almost too good to be true.
551 Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
552 Then the ominous words “It’s a Boo-”
553 Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
554 A weary and wandering sigh
555 That sounded like “-jum!” but the others declare
556 It was only a breeze that went by.
There now is a new paperback edition of Untangling the Knot: An Analysis of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, 2019-10-06, by Sandra Mann (besides Mary Hammond another pen name of Mary Hibbs). She also sent me an additional article about a possible reference to Bishop Reginal Heber (1783-1826). See also: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lewiscarrollresources/permalink/2241199999492366/
2020-02-12: Untangling the Knot in PDF, 2018
2017-11-17, updated: 2018-12-02.
The drawing depicts Dante Gabriel Rossetti lamenting the death of his second wombat. Mary Hibbs (pen names: Mary Hammond and Sandra Mann) made me aware of the image and of the possibility that the Beaver in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark could have been a reference to Rossetti’s wombat.
The fame of Rossetti’s Wombat is lasting much longer than that poor animal itself, after having been transported for its short life from Australia to Chelsea. But there also was a “Canadian marmot or woodchuck” in Rosetti’s estate in Chelsea, where he moved into the Tudor House in 1862. Actually, Rosetty had two wombats. We also learned from Angus Trumble (Rossetti’s Wombat: A Pre-Raphaelite Obsession in Victorian England, 2003-04-16) that Rosetti had a little zoo in his garden aas well as friends living in his big house like the “deeply unattractive poet and semi-professional sadomasochist Algernon Charles Swinburne — who liked to slide naked down the banisters giest”. I guess that Rosetti’s mini-zoo was kept not even semi-professionally, but together with his friends and his dormouse, Rosetti surely was well prepared for mad tea parties. (See also: G.A.H.! (Gardner’s Annotations Hyperlinked) – The Dormouse and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Wombat, LCNSA.)
In The Hunting of the Snark, the Beaver was the Bellman‘s pet and became the Butcher‘s friend. Can anything from the real world be associated with that Beaver-Bellman-Butcher triple? This might expand my Snark matrix, a matrix with elements from The Hunting of the Snark in its rows and elements from the real world in its columns.