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.
2018-02-18, update: 2019-01-05 (Thomas Gray)
Artists, who have played with their own paredolia first, know how to play with the pareidolia of the beholders of their works.
I incidentally found this in December 2017 as bycatch from my Snark hunt:
2017-12-23, updated to 2019-01-01 just for the heck of it
In July 2018, the members of the LCSNA (Lewis Carroll Society of North America) received the 100th Knight Letter.
A friend told me that the caterpillar (here without hookah) on the front page is a Hickory Horned Devil.
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.
Incidentally, in parallel to my little note 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 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. So Karen Gardiner (2018) and I (2014, as well as Angus MacIntyre in 1994 and Mary Hibbs in 2017) all were lead by Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark and the Baker’s forty-two boxes to Thomas Cranmer – coming from different starting points and different backgrounds.
Original Date: 2018-07-28.
Date change: 2018-12-30 in order to move the post to the top.
Reason: To me this post was the most important post in 2018.
A Snark article in the Knight Letter
(with lots of help from Chris Morgan and Mark Burstein)
Source: Knight Letter (ISSN 0193-886X), Fall 2017, Number 99
When I wrote this article, I failed to mention that already in 1973 Elizabeth Sewell pointed out in The Field of Nonsense that a line in Carroll’s poem has a similarity to a line in a limerick by Edward Lear (MG058). I am sorry for that.
I posted my article online with permission of the Knight Letter editors. In the online copy, I fixed the wrong URL kl.snr.de. It’s kl.snrk.de. Furthermore, four additional images have been attached to my online version.
2018-02-09, update 2018-12-30: Reference to Elizabeth Sewell
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.
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.
2017-08-28, updated: 2018-12-30
There is no tenth member in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. I think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. Let us take them 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.
9 or 10 hunters? | Care and Hope | The Snark
2017-11-06, completely rewritten: 2018-11-07, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21
[The New Belfry of Christ Church, Oxford] is 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 “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.
2018-05-24, edited: 2018-06-25, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21
2018-10-03, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21
In June 2018, Karen Gardiner suggested that in The Hunting of the Snark, Carroll/Dodgson addressed the Article 42 in Thomas Cranmer‘s Articles.
Gardiner’s paper (Life, Eternity, and Everything: Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll, July 2018, p.25~41 in THE CARROLLIAN, No. 31) also was based on her knowledge as an Anglican Priest.
My approach to a possible reference in The Hunting of the Snark to the 42 Articles was different. 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, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21
As I reported in the Associations Blaster (2014-03-08), Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Henry Holiday kept a Snark as a pet. They fed 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 in Colorado planting greens became legal and affordable enough to breed Snarks again. I assumed then that we would see more of these beasts in the future.
Since I predicted that in 2014, more and more biotopes for Snarks had been created, not only in Colorado. The top of the tide seems to have been approached in 2017, when the White House too became a habitat especially for those Snarks, who were able to quickly adapt to such a challenging environment. In order to survive there, Snarks now are born as Boojums right away.
Luckily, there still are regions where most Snarks just are Snarks (Audio):
“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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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 fifth is ambition.
It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
※ 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!”)
Among the forks mentioned above (used to hunt the Snark and carried by this landing crew of a naval expedition) is a tuning fork. Charles Darwin used a tuning-fork to let spiders dance and, for dissection (don’t tell the spiders), lace-needles together with his microscope. And, just in case that the maker of the Ocean Chart missed something, a telescope can be quite helpful.
2017-09-18, edited: 2018-08-26, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21