Sunday, January 9, 2011
Deep in the wierdings of The Hunting of the Snark, in the very nerve center of Fit the Fourth, a snippet of Old English verse charm has popped up unexpectedly …
This infamous Snarkic Galdor of thimbly-forky-soapy-hopes makes its first appearance in our poem at this point … we should note that this verse charm is not designed to repel but to attract Snarks. Hence, it is a form of white magic.
The white magic of paper is nicely balanced here by the black magic of ink, combined into a drawing which depicts the Baker being employed as human bait to attract the Snark.
Human sacrifice was also a popular habit of Old English (or Celtic, really) daily life. The druids seemed to think highly of it and we must admit that Lewis Carroll may have been reenacting this grim custom of his ancestors by using the Baker as human prey for his Snark.
So much of this poem harks back to the half-forgotten tropes and patterns of Old English verse and the Baker is very much the sacrificial hero-victim that all such poems require. The fact that he’s going to be annihilated by a bit of genuine Nonsense gives it all such a striking air of modernist irony, don’t you agree?
Oh, I’m sorry … I forgot … we’re all postmodernists here. In that case, just look at the pretty picture and let your mind go fashionably blank. Something will happen … eventually …
Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
• Cogito ergo snarquo