The Hunting of the Snark
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
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The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll’s classic masterpiece of nonsense verse, takes the reader on a wonderfully witty and inventive hunt for the ever-elusive Snark. The tantalizing mysteries of the poem are here perfectly matched in these brilliant new illustrations by artist Mahendra Singh, who has created a visual treasure hunt, full of riddles, puns, and allusions.
When asked what his poem meant, Carroll would always reply that he did not know. But, on one occasion, he did write to friends that perhaps “…the whole book is an allegory on the search for happiness.”
“To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope,
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!”
Oxford University mathematics professor Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832 – 1898), under his pen name Lewis Carroll, created some of the most brilliant, original and uniquely inventive literature in the English language. He is most famous for three magical works: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and the witty, whimsical and ever-elusive The Hunting of the Snark.
When pressed to explain the meaning of The Hunting of the Snark, Carroll invariably replied that he did not know. “I’m very much afraid I didn’t mean anything but nonsense!” he wrote in a letter to friends, “Still, you know, words mean more than we mean to express when we use them: so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer meant. So, whatever good meanings are in the book, I’m very glad to accept as the meaning of the book. The best I’ve seen is…that the whole book is an allegory on the search for happiness. I think that fits beautifully in many ways.”
About the Artist
Mahendra Singh is an illustrator and longstanding Lewis Carroll aficionado. He is a member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America and an editor for their journal, the Knight Letter. For Singh, creating the illustrations for The Hunting of the Snark "has been a labor of love—fitting Lewis Carroll into a proto-Surrealist straitjacket with matching Dada cufflinks."
"Delightfully surreal...save this book for the brightest and most adventurous young word-worms on your holiday shopping list...Singh's daring illustrations will appeal to older children eager to leave the world of candy-colored cuteness behind."
"At last, the legend of the brave, if peculiar, companions who set out to bag a snark (arming themselves "with forks and with hope") gets lavish treatment from [Mahendra] Singh....These may be the fittest illustrations ever created for Carroll's distinctively Victorian nonsense concoctions."
—Laura Miller, Salon
"[C]hallenging and delightful."
—Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"It is not children who ought to read the words of Lewis Carroll."
"Singh's black-and-white surrealistic treatment of Carroll's classic poem is perfect...takes the ideology of Carroll's nonsense to new visual levels. Far beyond a simplistic, literal depiction of the poem, each panel is thoughtfully created, filled with puzzles, jokes, and allusions."