Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Fit the Fourth, Page 23 … Thy Snark, great Anarch! Lets the curtain fall and Universal Darkness buries All
After a successful hunting, one is always left with the remains of the dead, even in Lewis Carroll’s genteel, literary world. In this, the frontispiece to Fit the Fourth, we see the remains of a particularly jolly hunting, stuffed and mounted upon the wall of a certain someone’s hunting lodge.* The Bellman looks particularly splendid and lifelike and for those of us who keep track of such matters, the Snark-is-Eye Leitmotif can be discerned through the looking glass.
Certain folk say that is in bad taste to speak ill of the dead. Others look askance at their being stuffed and mounted upon a wall. Still others abhor those other who look askance. I place myself in the rarefied category of those who loudly proclaim that if the dead are too lazy to do anything for themselves it’s their own look-out and certainly not the business of the government! Harrumph!
Look, look there, at that uppermost head in the middle … why, it’s the Boots-cum-Charles-Darwin … what grotesque sense of humor put him there? Was it one of those Literary Darwinists? — they’re all the rage now! Lurking behind every poem and novel and feuilleton, we find these semiotifetishians who ascribe the most salacious evolutionary motives to every author — and yes, every reader! Oh the times, oh, the customs, when the reader is being read, the author is being authored, and yes … the hunter is being hunted!
I could go on like this for some time now but all this thinkery-inkery is really a bit taxing; I‘d rather be outside in the fresh autumnal air, grouse-hunting from a helicopter or seal-clubbing till midnight or whatever it is that we must do for sport in these oddly unimaginative antinomian times.
Nota bene! The Lewis Carroll Society of North America has very kindly invited me to give a talk about this version of the Snark at their next meeting in NYC, October 25th, 2008. For further details, download the indicated PDF in the Meeting Section of the LCSNA site. The event has several other very interesting speakers scheduled and promises to be a rare treat for all concerned. As for myself, I am having Gussie Fink-Nottle-type anxieties of the Market Snodsbury Grammar School+cheap gin+orange juice species, but I'm sure that the good people of the LCSNA know what they're doing under the circs.
*The reader should note that this is the only time in 140 years that an illustrator has dared to depict the interior of a Snark’s lair. Note the threadbare furnishings, cheap wooden flooring and fusty curtains — economy is certainly our Snark’s watchword! I have heard it said that he was once a Park Avenue Snark but now prefers to be known as a Small Town Snark. So be it, one must trim one’s sails to whatever flatulence is being emitted from the Body Politic!