2017-09-19, updated: 2018-11-15
2017-09-19, updated: 2018-11-15
This is about Henry Holiday’s illustration to the final chapter of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, published more than 140 years ago. This also is about Thomas Cranmer. He and the Baker (the ambivalent hero in The Hunting of the Snark) perhaps hoped that after having left their 42 articles behind, the Boojum won’t get them.
The Hunting of the Snark needs to be read at least twice. The book is an excellent example for crossover literature: Children read it as a nonsense story. It is “dark”, but funny nevertheless. However, mature readers (at age hundred-forty or so) might feel, that it ends with a reference to the burning of Thomas Cranmer in 1556.
The image serves to compare two illustrations:
The rotated detail from Henry Holiday’s illustration neither is a “claw” nor a “beak”. I assume that it depicts a fire. And there is a hand in both fires. Carroll and Holiday almost too successfully made sure that the readers of The Hunting of the Snark don’t understand that too early.
[…] Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson offers a more convincing explanation. […] He must have known about Thomas Cranmer’s 42 Articles […]
William Hartston probably wrote his article with his tongue in the cheek (which is the safest thing you can do when writing about Douglas Adams’ and about C. L. Dodgson’s (Lewis Carroll’s) “42”). It was about an article by
Ellis Hillman, 64, the founder of the Lewis Carroll Society (and president of the Flat Earth Society in his spare time)
in the journal Chapter One of the Alliance of Literary Societies.
But thanks to the creativity of Lewis Carroll and Henry Holiday there really might be textual and pictorial references to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 Articles in The Hunting of the Snark.
What is the context? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Shenton, based on p. 274 in Christine Garwood, Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea, 2008:
[…] But as [Samuel Shenton’s International Flat Earth Research Society] was dying [in 1969], he found the successor he had been looking for: Ellis Hillman, a lecturer and member of the Greater London Council, agreed to be president of the IFERS, with the encouragement of Patrick Moore. Lillian Shenton was suspicious of his motives (he was developing a post-graduate course on the development of ideas about the shape of the earth) and in the event he did little for the society. […]
[…] Initially Hillman, who was frank about never having believed in the earth to be flat, was reluctant to accept Shenton’s offer and recalled contacting Patrick Moore to ask his advice. According to Hillman, Moore was encouraging: “For God’s sake, keep it going,” he allegedly exclaimed, “we must have heretical people in the world of astronomy.” Besides Moore’s enthusiasm, there was a second persuative factor: at the time Hillman was planning a postgraduate course on the development of ideas connected with the shape of the earth and he believed it would assist his academic research to accept Shenton’s offer. […]
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 (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
I assume, that Carroll’s “forty-two” serves as a reference to Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles and the last article hierin about eternal damnation. As far as I understand, eternal damnation was a controversial issue in the era of the Oxford Movement, and the Rev. C. L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) objected to the belief in eternal punishment in 1897 in a manuscript. The controversy seems not to have ended yet.
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 an 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.
As for The Hunting of the Snark, I think that this is the most important finding of my Snark hunt.