Melville House is the publisher of my GN version of The Hunting of the Snark, which
makes perfect sense when one considers that their eponymous hero, Herman Melville, knew a
thing or two about fruitless quests for annihilating animals.
Melville chose to clothe his Boojum in the blubbery lineaments of the
fat, white whale, Moby Dick, and he also made certain that the whale's pursuers got a
snootful of insane, nonsensical, contradictory ravings from their
leader, Cap'n Ahab. In these critical matters, it's quite obvious that
Melville was plundering Carroll's Snark in a classic example of what literary scholars call Anachronistic Plagiarism.
the less, I'm in a forgiving mood today, and so
we'll put aside these petty insinuations concerning the Second Greatest
American Novel and move on to the far more pressing matter of Snarkian
Ontology, exemplified here in the unassuming person of the Boots, seen
above. Carroll makes little mention of this rather pedestrian character
except for some perfunctory business with a spade in Fit the Fourth, and
some commentators have even insinuated that the Boots did not really
exist or that he might have been the actual murderer of the Baker,
sharing as he does a "Boo" with the dreaded Boojum.
To all that I
say phooey. However, drawing phooey is a bit trickier and it was only
after considerable research by my crack team of crack-head researchers
that we came up with a solution to all of the above: the Boots was
was probably present at the infamous 1860 debate on Darwinism between
T.H. Huxley and Soapy Sam Wilberforce; we know that he owned and read
Darwin's works; we even know that he and Darwin corresponded but we are
uncertain as to the Great One's exact opinion on Natural Selection.
Carrollians suspect that he disapproved of this logical undoing of the
basic tenets of all revealed religions on mainly philosophical grounds.
Carroll's faith was unshakeable and more importantly, the Master of
Nonsense certainly would have understood the difference between Faith
and Logic as far as religions go, a simple mental operation which still
seems beyond the limited cognitive abilities of many noisy commentators
upon the subject today (so much for evolution, eh?). What might have
perturbed Carroll could have been the spectacle of publicly quarreling
over such private matters, and hence, our choice of Darwin as the Boots.
Darwin and the Boots lurk in the shadows of Victorian England and the
Snark alike. The former utterly and categorically demolished the
logical basis of organized religion almost apologetically, the
latter utterly and categorically demolished the logical basis of
Carroll's Snark almost apologetically. Both belief systems of religion and Snark are solely premised upon revelations, the verbal revelations of a god or a poet who presents us with a priori
facts about the fictional Multiverses they have created. Carroll's
colorless, practically blank persona of the Boots is a dead giveaway
that there really is nothing going on here, that the Snark is just a sound and fury signifying nothing.
and poetry alike shun vacuums, they make such an ontological mess of
things and clever, up-to-date gods and poets alike eschew 'em. There's
nothing worse than Nothing in the midst of your Something, it's a dead
giveaway that you really are up to Something and that's the very last
thing you want your acolytes and readers to suspect. Fictional
suspension of disbelief and all that, don't you know.
there's something going on here, as usual. I'll leave it to the Carroll
boffins to sort out the sticky details of all of the above revelations,
for now, just take my word for it.