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Thread: Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark

  1. #1
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    Jul 2017

    Default Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark

    The following four lines are an excerpt from Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark:
    The crew was complete: it included a Boots—
    A maker of Bonnets and Hoods—
    A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes—
    And a Broker, to value their goods.
    In his illustrations to Carroll's long Snark ballade, Henry Holiday depicts
    1. the Bellman,
    2. the maker of Bonnets and Hoods (you see only half of his face),
    3. the Barrister,
    4. the Broker,
    5. the Billiard-marker,
    6. the Banker,
    7. the Beaver,
    8. the Baker,
    9. the Butcher.

    Thus, nine members of the crew are visible. There is no Boots. A Boojum turned Snark is not depicted either (and about the Snark you can't be sure, because you "see" it only in the Barrister's dream), but later Holiday explained the reason for the missing Boojum. The missing depiction of the Boots is no issue explained by Holiday.

    In the preface to The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll spends quite a few lines on portmanteau words. (The term "portmanteau" was used by Humpty Dumpty to describe such words already before Carroll wrote the Snark.) Could "a Boots — A maker of Bonnets and Hoods" be an introduction of a boots, who is a maker of bonnets and hoods? Could Boots be a portmanteau for maker of Bonnets and Hoods?

    In all writings about The Hunting of the Snark, the Boots and the maker of Bonnets and Hoods are treated as different persons. If that is so, there would be
    1. the Bellman,
    2. the Boots,
    3. the maker of Bonnets and Hoods,
    4. the Barrister,
    5. the Broker,
    6. the Billiard-marker,
    7. the Banker,
    8. the Beaver,
    9. the Baker,
    10. the Butcher.

    However, how can we be sure that the crew has ten members? By telling it at least three times?

    I am not asking you to make a statement whether the crew has nine members or ten members. I think that both statements are possible. But do you think that for one of them there is a higher probability that it is true than for the other one?
    Last edited by Why; 18-Jul-2017 at 04:59. Reason: Final question added

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