Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fit Three, Page 19, Panel 1 … having placed in my mouth sufficient boojum for three minutes’ chewing

"My father and mother were honest, though poor —"
Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark —
We have hardly a minute to waste!"

Achtung bibliophiles! Avoid any authors unwilling to suffer their own characters’ fate. Eschew the likes of Samuel Beckett and whomever was behind the Book of Job, spurn the fictions of Dante and the Marquis de Sade, and turn instead to more generous raconteurs such as Lewis Carroll. Carroll’s sudden referral to childhood in this stanza provides some therapeutic respite to the Baker’s boojum-anxiety complex.

The Baker has responded positively to this authorial auto-suggestion and has infantilized both himself and his parents into an easily digestible and perfectly oedipal size, as we can see above in this fine drawing. I will not tell you which of the several nursery room objects are the Baker’s parents, I’ll leave that to you to work out! Just place one after another into your mouth whilst cooing and gurgling.

The more indolent reader might be wondering how this authorial auto-suggestion works. In short, the Baker "hears" his author’s narration and description, etc., as a voice inside his head. Naturally, he has told no one else of this phenomenon. Please note that I have chosen to provide the Baker with the physiognomy of Lewis Carroll himself and thus created an epistomological escape hatch (or trap door) of sorts for the Baker, bless his farinaceous heart.

With all this in mind, the Baker is enjoying a rich and satisfying internal life these days. He goes through the motions of a Snark hunt with his fellows whilst simultaneously believing himself to be a 42-year old Oxford mathematics don plotting the destiny of a hermetic and even pseudo-gnostic Snarkian Multiverse (similar in nature though larger in scope to Le Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius) which revolves and devolves and evolves solely and utterly upon a nonexistent entity which only he can comprehend — and which only he, the Baker, will apprehend!

The infinite melancholy of a long-ago summer’s day in Guildford, compressed into the infantile desire to say-that-which-is-not and to-read-the-thing-that-is-not … this Snark could be bounded in a nutshell and still count himself king of infinite space! It’s all child’s play for the talented Mr. Carroll.

NB. The erudite Bradshaw of the Future has returned to his etymological Snark hunt and has bagged several splendid specimens, worthy of your perusal! The antecedents of Snark ramify themselves endlessly, it seems, but I know that BOTF will not be put off by their unusual habits and foreign customs, so alien to our modern ways … sniggering in public, sniting on the bus, snirting other snarks in mixed company, etc. Just look the other way and don’t make eye contact, you know how they are …


  1. I hadn't realised till now that Carroll actually inverts the usual sentence. I mean, one would expect Mi parents were poor but honest, and not the opposite... so much for social and linguistic expectations.

    Moreover, I didn't expect finding the couples Becket/Job, Dante/Sade sharing the same sentence (and almost the same ethos), but, of course this is practical (proto)surrealism in the practice, and everybody knows about the fateful encounters that take place on the operating tables, if my memory does not betray me...

    This been said, I must said that I am thoroughly enjoying any new entries in this remix/revisiting of the poem...

  2. There are so many odd details in the Snark, each must be hunted down and brought back to camp for further study.

    I've always thought Dante a genuine protosurrealist. The whole idea of torturing people forever while flying souls make aerobatic formations and debate scholasticism, it's pretty freaky stuff. The connection with de Sade is unpleasant, both of them liked "to watch" …

    I guess this is a remix, maybe now my daughter will start tuning in, now that we're getting hip!