Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark

(1323 words)
  • Roger Lathbury (George Mason University )
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 11: Theory, Philosophy, Concepts: History of Ideas and Science.

The Hunting of the Snark, a 141 quatrain nonsense poem in eight cantos by Lewis Carroll, the pen name of Charles L. Dodgson (1832-1898), is a satirical ballad. It was first published by Macmillan and Company in London in 1876. A crew of ten men—a barrister, a boots (bootblack), a bonnet maker, a hood maker, a broker (a stockbroker or perhaps simply a salesman), a billiard marker, a beaver, a banker, and a baker—are engaged by their nominal leader, the Bellman, to travel across the ocean in search of a Snark. Much of the poem describes the foibles of the crew as they prepare to encounter the creature. The Bellman explains that there are different kinds of Snarks, one of which is a Boojum, a terrifying, dangerous variety. …

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Lathbury, Roger. "The Hunting of the Snark". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9728, accessed 09 October 2015.]