[Evertype]  The Hunting of the Snark Home

The Hunting of the Snark,
(๐œ ๐๐ฒ๐‘Œ๐ป๐ฎ๐‘ ๐ฒ๐‘‚ ๐‘„ ๐๐‘Œ๐ช๐‘‰๐ฟ)
An edition printed in the Deseret Alphabet

The Hunting of the Snark

By Lewis Carroll
Foreword by John H. Jenkins

First edition, 2016. Illustrations by Henry Holiday. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBNย 978-1-78201-153-8 (paperback), price: €9.95, ยฃ7.95, $10.95.

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โ€œ๐Œ ๐‘…๐ฏ๐ผ ๐ฎ๐ป ๐ฎ๐‘Œ ๐๐จ๐บ๐‘‰๐ญโ€”๐Œ ๐‘…๐ฏ๐ผ ๐ฎ๐ป ๐ฎ๐‘Œ ๐”๐ฒ๐ฝโ€”
๐Œ ๐‘…๐ฏ๐ผ ๐ฎ๐ป ๐ฎ๐‘Œ ๐–๐ฒ๐‘‰๐‘‹๐ฒ๐‘Œ ๐ฐ๐‘Œ๐ผ ๐˜๐‘‰๐จ๐ฟ:
๐’๐ฒ๐ป ๐Œ ๐ธ๐ฌ๐‘Š๐จ ๐‘๐ซ๐‘‰๐‘€๐ช๐ป (๐ฐ๐‘Œ๐ผ ๐ฎ๐ป ๐‘‚๐ฏ๐ฟ๐‘…๐ฒ๐‘† ๐‘‹๐จ ๐‘‹๐ฒ๐ฝ)
๐œ๐ฐ๐ป ๐€๐‘๐‘€๐‘Š๐ฎ๐‘‡ ๐ฎ๐‘† ๐ธ๐ถ๐ฒ๐ป ๐ท๐ญ ๐‘…๐น๐จ๐ฟ!โ€


โ€œI said it in Hebrewโ€”I said it in Dutchโ€”
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!โ€

The Hunting of the Snark was first published in 1876, eleven years after Aliceโ€™s Adventures in Wonderland and four years after Through the Looking-Glass. It is a masterยญpiece of nonsense and is connected to Through the Looking-Glass by its use of vocabulary from the poem โ€œJabberwockyโ€.

The Hunting of the Snark is a strangely dark poem, and some critics believe that its themesโ€”insanity and deathโ€”are rather too adult in nature for childrenโ€™s literature. We know, nonetheless, that Lewis Carroll intended the poem to be enjoyed by children: he dedicated the book in acrostic verse to his young friend Gertrude Chataway, and signed some 80 presentation copies to other young readers. Many of those inscriptions were in the form of an acrostic based upon the name of the child to whom the book was presented.

Part of the pleasure of reading this book is in the inevitable musing about what it means. Its author, often asked to explain his work, invariably replies that he does not know. In his splendid book The Annotated Hunting of the Snark, Martin Gardner cites several such replies by Carroll:

  • For all such questions I have but one answer: โ€œI donโ€™t know!โ€
  • Of course you know what a Snark is? If you do, please tell me: for I havenโ€™t an idea what it is like.
  • โ€œWhy donโ€™t you explain the Snark?โ€ โ€ฆ Let me answer it nowโ€”โ€œbecause I caโ€™nโ€™t.โ€ Are you able to explain things which you donโ€™t yourself understand?
  • As to the meaning of the Snark? Iโ€™m very much afraid I didnโ€™t mean anything but nonsense!
  • I was walking on a hillside, alone, one bright summer day, when suddenly there came into my head one line of verseโ€”one solitary lineโ€”โ€œFor the Snark was a Boojum, you see.โ€ I knew not what it meant, then: I know not what it means, now; but I wrote it down: and, sometime afterwards, the rest of the stanza occurred to me, that being its last line: and so by degrees, at odd moments during the next year or two, the rest of the poem pieced itself together, that being its last stanza.

Wellโ€ฆ the author has told us more than thrice. So it must be true. It is therefore open to readers of the poem to decide the question for themselvesโ€ฆ

The Deseret alphabet was developed in the mid-19th century by the board of regents of the University of Deseret (later the University of Utah) under the direction of Brigham Young, second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was intended to help make learning to write English easier. This wasnโ€™t very successful, though the alphabet does have interesting phonemic features, as well as being a fascinating part of Mormon history. This edition of Aliceโ€™s Adventures in Wonderland is written entirely in that same alphabet, with fonts specially designed by John H. Jenkins and and myself.

I would like to thank John Jenkins for his transcription of the text into the Deseret alphabet.

Michael Everson
Portlaoise, 29 February 2016


HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2016-02-29

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