Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fit the First, Page Two and Three as a Spread (The Meaning of the Snark)

Pages 2 and 3 in their final layout, type included. No hand lettering, for now I'm using ITC Garamond Condensed by the great Tony Stans, a classic ITC face (which also dates the artist for those who keep track of such things). I must also mention that the display fonts used on the opening Fit the First Page are Selfish and Downcome, designed by a very talented Brazilian, Eduardo Recife. His work is rather good and can be found here. Truthfully, the ITC font is a minute shade too light, too phototype. If I could find a compressed bodycopy, as tight and legible as ITC GC and a darker color to balance my linework, with the same Victorian, slightly faux-letterpress aroma of Recife's work, I will change the Garamond.

The initial conceit of the Snark is properly launched. The theatrical, self-contained staginess of the Snark, its insistent play-acting, makes a stageboard and footlights opening motif inescapable. Carroll loved messing about with boats and amateur theatricals both, I have chosen the most economical means to effect both modes of transportation. The play's the thing, damn the torpedoes!

And now, it's time to ask: what does it all mean? What's with this Snark, was Lewis Carroll embarking on some psycho-Freudian, hypo-ontological, extra-existential crypto-quixotic crusade? If a college freshman searching for inspiration for a theme paper on the Hunting of the Snark were to consult these pages, what would I tell him? Should I confide to him or her that the Snark's meaning can be approximated best by regenerating all 5,065 words of the original text into a matrix roughly congruent in morphology, syntax and grammar to the original, the generation process beginning on or about July 18, 1874? And will the resulting text file provide an optimized WYSIWYG explanation of the meaning of the Snark, assuming of course that one has not yet taken religious orders but that one does have minimal pedagogical experience in college-level mathematics (also assuming that one "reads" the resultant codex with a false recursive memory of having composed it oneself whilst seeing it for the first time)? Must I also hint that the physical location of this generation process is unimportant, that anywhere in the rain while wearing scratchy woolens and mudcaked wellingtons will do? Questions, questions, nary a hint of an answer! Take heart, all ye who yearn for answers , such questions — like laughter — are probably doomed to disappear.

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