The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark cover
The Hunting of the Snark
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This slim, handsome hardcover would make an excellent gift for a Lewis Carroll fan.

Although I’m very familiar with Carroll’s best-known work, I hadn’t previously read this nonsense poem. After a reprinted two-page preface by Carroll comes the illustrated poetry. Every four to eight lines is accompanied by a fancifully Dali-esque panel, done in a wonderfully old-fashioned art style, as though Edward Gorey was making woodcuts.

Artist Mahendra Singh has written about his adaptation online, accompanied by art samples. The book includes an afterword by Singh, an editor for the journal of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, about the history and meaning of the poem and his work with it, including his Surrealist influences. I’m not sure I understand it any better, but that seems to be the point — nonsense as mind-altering influence. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

4 Responses to “The Hunting of the Snark”

  1. SKleefeld Says:

    A classic! I actually named the last band I was in “Agony in 8 Fitts” after the book. Thanks for alerting me to this.

  2. Radha Sen Gupta Says:

    A classic indeed!! I hope it is available in India. It will be a sure sell.

  3. mahendra singh Says:

    Thank you, Johanna. And I would like to inform Radha that I loosely set Fit the Seventh, the Banker’s Fate, in Old Delhi, near the Red Fort … where the Bandar snatches!

  4. Goetz Kluge Says:

    You can enjoy Mahendra’s Snark without his blog, but the blog (you mentioned the “art samples”) adds value to the book. I think, Mahendra followed the tradition of many earlier artists in challenging the beholders of his illustrations with references to other works of art. Some references are obvious, some are not, and some references are explained in his blog. With that “mixed media” approach (which became available to artists and their audience only in the late 20th century) Mahendra manages to hint to the conundrums in his illustrations without spoiling the fun.




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