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This site shows all the various British illustrated editions of 'The Hunting of the Snark' the epic nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, there are a few from other countries if of note. Below is the cover of the first edition of 'The Hunting of the Snark'. It was published in 1876 by Macmillan London and contained nine illustrations by Henry Holiday. 10,000 were published, usually with 'An Easter Greeting' loosely inserted. There was also a smaller format American edition in 1876 reproduced by photo-lithography published by James R Osgood, Boston.
 
Holiday said he would not draw a picture of the Boojum but one can just be seen in the picture on the next page. He also supplied a picture of the Snark but Carroll refused to include it writing that 'it was a beautiful beast but that he had made the Snark strictly unimaginable and desired him to remain so'.
 
 

 

After crossing the sea guided by the Bellman's map—a blank sheet of paper—the hunting party arrive in a strange land. The Baker recalls that his uncle once warned him that, though catching Snarks is all well and good, you must be careful; for, if your Snark is  a Boojum then you will softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again. With this in mind, they split up to hunt. Along the way, the Butcher and Beaver -previously mutually wary for the Butcher's specialty in preparing beavers- become fast friends, the Barrister falls asleep and dreams of a court trial defended by the Snark, and the Banker loses his sanity after being attacked by a frumious Bandersnatch. At the end, the Baker calls out that he has found a Snark; but when the others arrive he has mysteriously disappeared 'For the Snark was a Boojum, you see'.
 
Lewis Carroll once wrote: "Periodically I have received courteous letters from strangers begging to know whether The Hunting of the Snark is an allegory, or contains some hidden moral, or is a political satire: and for all such questions I have but one answer, I don't know!". According to Gardner in the 'Annotated Snark', there are more than three such denials on record. By the Bellman's rule-of-three, it follows that if the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson said he did not know what the unimaginable something is, then he really did not know.

Malcolm Easton

Published by OUP in 1939

 

For further infomation you should consult; Williams et al (1979) 'The Lewis Carroll Handbook' Dawson, Kent and The Hunting of the Snark; An Exploration and a Checklist by Selwyn Goodarce, Artists Choice 2006
 
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