When the crew of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark is making preparations for seeking that impossible creature, we read that “the Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade”. This action is so outlandish that the editor and commentator (Martin Gardner) remarks ad locum: “Why in the world were they sharpening a spade?” (Gardner 2006: 44.)
Source: The Semantics and Semiotics of Sharpening a Spade: A possible Explanation of Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, Line 273; by Ezequiel Ferriol, 2017
Sharpening a spade is not outlandish. I saw farmers and gardeners doing that. Sharpening the spade before digging makes work easier. I think that Gardener simply asked what the Boots and the Broker wanted to do with a spade.
Quite probably the Boots and the Broker sharpened a spade because they were going to dig.
https://ashortspell.com/2017/12/14/the-hunting-of-the-snark | lewis-carroll-in-nspel-including-the-original-illustrations-by-henry-holiday/
“Jst ɖ ples fr a Snarc!” ɖ Belmn craid,
Az h landd hiz cru wɖ cer,
S’portñ ć man on ɖ top v ɖ tîd
Bî a fngr intwînd in hiz her.
“Jst ɖ ples fr a Snarc! I hv sd it twîs.
Ɖt alon śd incurij ɖ cru.
Jst ɖ ples fr a Snarc! I hv sd it ʈrîs.
Ẃt I tel y ʈri tîmz z tru.”
As for The Hunting of the Snark, I think that this is the most important finding of my Snark hunt.
Usually elements borrowed by Henry Holiday from other artists are inconspicuously integrated into Holiday’s illustrations. Here is an exception. The monstrance-shaped tree is just a small element in John Martin’s The Bard. In Holiday’s illustration it is more prominent.
Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876) has been published “with nine illustrations by Henry Holiday”. But there are ten illustrations. One possible explanation: The Ocean-Chart (aka the Bellman’s map) has been made neither by Henry Holiday nor by Joseph Swain, but by a typesetter.
In the more recent British history, the map has been used by Britain’s contemporary Bellmen before 2016-06-23 to present their understanding of the impact of the Brexit to the rest of the crew. Admittedly, by now the majority of Britains understand the trouble they put themselves into. But as pride and face-saving of course is much more important than something profane like a healthy economy and rational thinking, that map won’t be updated.
The Butcher reasoning with the Beaver.
This is the illustration (partially inspired by various works of other artists) to the chapter The Beaver’s Lesson.
(Bycatch from my Snark hunt: Doré probably recycled Doré.)