10 Interesting Facts About The Hunting of the Snark

Thu 21 Sep

Continue reading to find out some things you might not know about the Lewis Carroll poem...

  1. Carroll wrote Snark to bring much needed escape and light while nursing his seriously ill godson and cousin Charlie Wilcox who eventually died from tuberculosis. 
  2. Snark was written backwards. While Carroll was walking in the hills, the final line of the poem “For the Snark was a Boojum you see” arrived like a thunderbolt from his imagination and the rest of the 141 stanzas would take him six more months to complete. 
  3. Carroll left the meaning of the Snark deliberately vague refusing to answer questions about its meaning until finally he admitted that it was intended to be a parable about the search for happiness.
  4. The poem was published on April 1st 1876 (the date chosen with care being April Fools Day). 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, he even refused to allow his lifelong friend, the famous illustrator Henry Holliday to include his drawing of the Snark in the original edition.
  6. Some Snarks are harmless and others are the fearsome Boojums which can “softly and suddenly vanish you away.”
  7. The Bellman is an expert on Snarks and tells us that you can hunt a Snark with thimbles, you may hunt it with forks and hope; you may threaten its life with a railway-share; or charm it with smiles and soap.
  8. The Jub Jub bird appeared in Carroll’s Jabberwocky. The Jub Jub bird is a pun on the word jug-jug, an English word expressing one of the notes of a nightingale.
  9. 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. The Baker is believed to be a self-deprecating self-portrait in which Carroll pokes fun at his well-known forgetfulness. The Baker has 42 boxes of luggage and Carroll was 42 years old when he wrote Snark. 

The Hunting of the Snark will be at the Rose from Tue 24 - Sat 28 Oct. Click here for more information.

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