De Morgan’s Snark

The tweet below has a link to

This week, we're celebrating De Morgan's tiles.

Our volunteer, Vanessa, has spent this week painstakingly researching the archives to prove which Snark came first, the De Morgan tile or the Lewis Carroll poem!

Find out on our blog

— De Morgan Collection (@DeMorganF) September 1, 2020

10 Assumptions About The Hunting of the Snark

Annotations to “10 Interesting Facts About The Hunting of the Snark (Rose Theatre, 2017-09-21)

  1. One out of several (but perhaps less important) reasons to write the Snark might have been that Carroll wrote his tragicomedy The Hunting of the Snark to bring much needed escape and light while nursing his seriously ill godson and cousin Charlie Wilcox who eventually died from tuberculosis.
  2. Part of the Snark ballad is Carroll’s story that he was walking on a hillside near Guildford, alone, one bright summer day (1874-07-18 , allegedly not so bright in reality), when suddenly there came into his head one line of verse — one solitary line — “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.” With more that 500 lines the book was published in 1876. He ended up with more chapters (fits) than initially planned. This of course also affected the illustrator Henry Holiday and the engraver Joseph Swain. The sequence of making the illustrations is described in the centennial edition of The Hunting of the Snark published by William Kaufmann in 1981.
  3. Carroll left the meaning of the Snark deliberately vague refusing to answer questions about its meaning. He stated that whatever good meanings are in the book, he was glad to accept an of them as the meaning of the book. The best that in his viev he had seen was by a lady (she published it in a letter to a newspaper), that the whole book is an allegory on the pursuit of happiness.
  4. The poem was published on April 1st 1876 (the date chosen being April Fools Day and before Easter, which was a good time to sell the book). The first print was 10,000 copies and the book has rarely if ever been out of print since.
  5. Unlike Carroll’s many other fantastical creatures, we never see the Snark and its appearance remains a mystery. His lifelong friend, the famous illustrator Henry Holiday proposed something which to Carroll was a “delightful monster“. But Carroll nevertheless refused to allow his lifelong friend to include his drawing of a Boojum turned Snark in the original edition. The Snark only was allowed to applear in the Barrister’s dream.
  6. Snarks are harmless. You even may fetch a Snark home, but keep the greens ready.
    WARNING: If a Snark turns into a Boojum and you get too close to one, you will “softly and suddenly vanish away.”
  7. The Bellman is an expert on Snarks and knows how to describe Snarks.
  8. The Jubjub appeared in Carroll’s Jabberwocky. Some think that the Jubjub might be a pun on the word jug-jug, an English word expressing one of the notes of a nightingale. I believe (and may be wrong with that) that the noisy beast has something to do with jubjubbing chronometers
  9. Acording to the Rose Theatre, Snark clubs dedicated to ‘the glorification of the Snark and its creator’ still flourish and meet to recite the poem. The band of declared Snarkists included W.H. Auden, Willa Cather, John Galsworthy, A.P. Herbert, Elspeth Huxley and C.S. Lewis.
  10. Some believe that the Baker might be a self-deprecating self-portrait in which Carroll pokes fun at his well-known forgetfulness. I don’t think so. The Baker has 42 boxes of luggage. I think he forgot them like Thomas Cranmer forgot his Forty-Two articles for a while. Incidentally, Carroll was 42 years old when he wrote Snark.

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, update: 2019-12-29

Where Gardner went too far

In the introduction to The Hunting of the Snark (Penguin Classics edition, 1962, 1974,p. 17), Martin Gardner wrote:

How well the academician Holiday succeeded in producing grotesques for the Snark (it is the only work of Carroll’s that he illustrated) is open to debate. Ruskin was certainly right in thinking him inferior to Tenniel. His drawings are, of course, thoroughly realistic except for the overzize heads and the slightly surrealist quality that derives less from the artist’s imagination than from the fact that he was illustrating a surrealist poem.

I think that Gardner certainly was wrong. And Ruskin certainly was wrong as well. But, of course, that is open to debate.


The Birthday of Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder

Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder was born on 1636-01-19.

It were Henry Holiday's illustrations to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" which introduced Marcus Gheeraets' art to me.

— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) January 19, 2019



Could Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger have inspired Henry Holday, when Holiday designed the front cover to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" (1876)?

— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) January 20, 2019


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