Thursday, November 4, 2010

He blew his mind out in a snark …



The faux-Ibsenian dollhouse of the last stanzel is now revealed to be part of the furnishings of the young Baker’s nursery, a nursery in which he lies motionless whilst Lewis Carroll, the presiding Demiurge of the Snarkian Multiverse, fills his young empty, toasted-cheese head with anapestic nightmares. In this case, Carroll is speaking through his convenient mouthpiece, the Bellman, who is indulging in a fit of parenthetical crying.

How exactly does one cry in a parenthesis?

We find that the Latin origins of this bracing species of crying game stem from the literary compulsion to add another letter to a word's syllable. In this case, the Bellman’s cri de cœur is referring to the soapy, hopey, forky, smiley capture of a Snark, a word which can demi-parenthesized into a rapture, the very same rapture which had earlier elicited a similar bit of crying from the Beaver :

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
Could atone for that dismal surprise!

Of course, to return back from Baker to Beaver requires a double parenthesis with the addition of the letters « e » and « v » to their respective syllables.

Well-oiled Carrollians will nod knowingly at all this, for all these parenthetical letter substitutions bear an uncanny resemblance to the Carrollian game of Doublets. The more gritty sort of Carrollian will yip in fear when they realize that they’ve been lured into a sharp bit of double recursion, a sort of verbal moebius strip running though this particular segment of the Snarkian Multiverse leading them from rapture to capture to Beaver to Baker.

No wonder the Baker has to lie down, it’s all a bit mind mangling, living the Carrollian method.

NB. Set aside your forks and hope, dab yourself with smiles and soap and hurry to the Fall 2010 meeting of the LCSNA at the New York Institute of Technology this Saturday, November 6th. Edward Guiliano, Adam Gopnik, Oleg Lipchenko and Jenny Woolf are some of the featured speakers. Armed with freshly minted copies of my Snark (available at a discount for members), I will be joining several of these authors in a book-signing frenzy of anapestic proportions … more details here.

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
• And did those snarks in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green?