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Lewis Carroll's the Hunting of the Snark

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,033 ratings  ·  485 reviews
This Centennial Edition is newly annotated by Martin Gardner (author of The Annotated Alice) and also represents the first collected trade edition of all of Holiday's original sketches and drawings for this Lewis Carroll classic. It is further augmented and enhanced by a complete facsimile of the first edition, a special essay about Holiday and his designs by Dr. Charles M ...more
Hardcover, A Centennial Edition, 129 pages
Published November 20th 1981 by William Kaufmann Inc. (first published April 16th 1876)
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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Absolute nonsense, which is to be expected with Carroll. I love how his writing brings me back to being a kid again. Obviously loved it!
The narrative poem is great fun, albeit not as startlingly so as the more famous Jabberwocky. However, I was given this because it’s the 1941 version illustrated by Mervyn Peake, my favourite author, whose illustrations I also love (see my Gormenghast-related shelf, HERE). My rating is for the combination of words and pictures.

You could analyse the meaning of this poem ad infinitum, including whether it has one - or needs one. I expect people have, and that they enjoyed doing so. However, I jus
"You must read this book!" the Reviewer cried,
As he searched for a suitable rhyme
But as long as he stole more than half of the words
He was sure he would get there in time.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)
In Carroll's prescient fable, the Bellman's crew, evidently the Conservative Party, set out on an ambitious voyage guided by a completely blank map. They are convinced that, if only they can find the right way to troll the opposition, their fortunes will be assured. But all too late they discover that the longed-for Snark is in fact a BoJo.

[Is this right? - Ed.]
Well, I gave TV a chance today. However, I found Titanic, Terminator 3, reality shows and other stuff, so, those aren't real options for me. I have no sitcoms to watch right now. Although, I'm kind of tired of watching the same sitcoms/tv series all the time. There's nothing new now. Once Upon a Time is on, so that's a good background sound. What to do on a Saturday afternoon? Yes. Let's find something out of the ordinary to read. And what did I find? A brilliant, typical Carroll nonsense poem. ...more
Jo (The Book Geek)
The hunting of the snark, is something that ideally, should definitely be devoured in one sitting. This poem is a poem made of wit, but at the same time, it's pure nonsense. But the nonsense, I think, is what makes it so damn good.
I am a huge Alice in wonderland fan, but I had never gotten round to reading this. The poem is split into eight parts, and is titled, "An agony in eight fits" Now, the title is attractive in itself, regardless of the contents. Only Lewis Carroll would use such a title!
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lewis Carroll doesn't really need an introduction. Having brought us the fantastic world of Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, he is not only one of the most well-known authors of classic children's literature, but must have been one of the most inventive and imaginative people on the planet.

Apart from his novels, he also wrote this poem. I must admit to not having known about it. It was during my visit to Munich where I met Chris Riddell that I found out about The Hunting of the Snark since th
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I picked up at the Tate last week in Liverpool. More of the Tove Jansson nostalgic illustrations and a beautiful edition which sat happily in my hands last night as I read it aloud in bed. Thank God i live alone. The wonderful tumble of Carroll's rythmic pulsing verse is such fun to burble out and some of the verses made me smile out loud

'He thought of his childhood, left far far behind-
That blissful and innocent state-
The sound so exactly recalled to his mind
A pencil that squeaks o
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"For the Snark WAS a Boojum, you see."

Technically the above quote is a spoiler, but I'm not going to tag it. It makes the exact same amount of sense in context that it makes out of context, which is to say none. And that is precisely what Carroll intended.

This "agony in eight fits" follows a group of adventurers - including a bellman, a banker, a butcher, and a beaver with a gift for sewing - braving the high seas and uncharted lands to find a beast (or bird, the text doesn't exactly clarify)
Mahendra Singh
Great poem but the illustrator is a debauched, discombubulated fool whose asemic scribblings and ink-blottings cannot stand up to even the most puerile graphical ravings of a den of opium-besotted thuggees, or even the currently uber-hip artiste visually polluting the cover of the New Yorker. Which ever one's worst, that's the one that this artist is worserer than.

Frankly, I think there's something funny about the whole business and I wouldn't be surprised if there's prison time and/or stiff fin
This was fun to listen to. Whimsical & used for many references today, it's worth the 30 minutes. I didn't listen to this edition, but this one is free. Mine was too since it was from the library. Narrated by Pierre Moreau. I see there is one narrated by Boris Karloff. I'm going to look around & see what others I can find. Definitely recommended!

The Wikipedia entry is worth reading, too.
The rhyme and verse are very pleasing. I like L.C. with his wide-grinning cats that disappear, jabberwocky, bandersnatch, and all, and so now it is on to this mysterious creature.
I had to reread the last part a few times, but it seems this creature has a special ability not mentioned. Some are perfectly safe in its company and some, are not.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for both content, Lewis Carroll's sublimely weird nonsense epic about an ill-fated hunting mission by a group of bizarre characters, and edition, which contains Martin Gardner's playfully brilliant introduction, extensive annotations, and appendices. Carroll says of his eight fits of Snarkdom that there is no real symbolism- the Snark is just a Snark. Or more precisely, a Boojum. Numerous scholars have pooh-poohed this, arguing that no Victorian writer can understand how he is influen ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mervyn Peake's illustrations for The Hunting of the Snark emphasise the absurd and grotesque elements of Carroll's verse, whilst those of Jansson its otherworldly and hauntingly ethereal aspects. Although Peake is just a shade ahead for me, I do love Jansson's take on this classic piece of nonsense. ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, ebook
Well, that was entertaining. I’m sure there is a lot of subtext that I’m missing, but just the perfect rhyming verses were fun to read. Not as many nonsense words as Jabberwocky, but a similarly silly poem.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the epitome of nonsense verse and the measure by which I compare all others. The verse is beautifully and nimbly handled without sacrificing the humor or the nonsense.

My version has Martin Gardner's annotations which are helpful, but not necessary. Nonsense isn't supposed to make sense!

I highly recommend this book for adults, children, and pets. It is one of my favorite books that I've re-read several dozen times.

(Added note: Boris Karloff has an excellent reading of this that is avail
John Hatley
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent "nonsense poem" by Lewis Carroll deserves all of its cult status and then some! This particular edition includes brilliant surrealistic illustrations by Mahendra Singh.
It is a perfect (necessary?) companion to his other classics "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass".
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this because of multiple chapter epigraphs from the poem in The Gray House, by Mariam Petrosyan. Glad I did, I wouldn't have otherwise, I don't think. It's cute, funny, silly, the source of nonsense words we still use today, and quick! ...more
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not this particular edition (which is cooler than the first one I read). I c9ollected various Carroll editions, so actually, I don't know which one I fell in love with first. ...more
Amy (Other Amy)
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land;
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

The map, of course, is blank. Much of this poem is absence, but where The Jabberwocky fills absence with vague nonsense that somehow expands to suggest a world of dread, the story of the snark simply isn't, until it is, and that was not enough to carry the thing for me. However, this is a fun read, and as I'm turning it over I fin
Thomas Ray
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll, 1876. Online here:

"I said it in Hebrew—I said it in Dutch—

⁠I said it in German and Greek:

​But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)

⁠That English is what you speak!"

Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best, and certainly the only, nonsense epic poem I've ever read. Found this at Lit. Fest in Chicago, only $8. A steal. I infer that an annotated version of anything is based on scholarly research, so it's funny to me that such a sensical approach was taken to analyze something so nonsensical. But hey, what's more nonsensical than that? It is insightful though, with the illumination of his portmanteau terms, late 19th century vernacular, and such. Did I mention I love this poem? It is hilario ...more
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In which a Hemulen and other residents of Moominvalley venture in quest of a Snark -- but only if you read the edition with Tove Jansson's illustrations. ...more
Petruccio Hambasket IV
I haven't read a single damn thing in 2018, so I figured a lighthearted and simple tale was the right thing to get into to. Not only does the "Hunting of the Snark (An Agony In Eight Fits)" not fulfill either of my two wishes, it has plagued me with deep and melancholy thoughts. Disquiet wraps every portion of this adventure and nothing is truly okay (logically, spiritually, mathematically, and so on). It is undoubtedly a great tragedy: but I cannot for the life of me pinpoint exactly about what ...more
Ed Erwin
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor, poetry
Not as snarky as I expected. ;)

The poem is great fun. So are the illustrations. The annotations help and are only occasionally excessive.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
Than the Witnesses ever had said!

To be clear: I read "The Annotated Snark" by Martin Gardner, 1962 edition. Goodreads lumps this into the same "book" as "The Hunting of the Snark".
Niki (nikilovestoread)
Any time I pick up something by Lewis Carroll, I expect to read something fun, quirky, and full of nonsense. The Hunting of Snark definitely fits in with my expectations. The illustrations by Chris Riddell add an extra layer of fun to this classic poem. My kids and I had so much fun reading it. Fans of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass will love The Hunting of the Snark. ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry
Just did a dramatic reading of this for my cat. As you do. She curled up and went to sleep. Compliment?

I absolutely adore this poem, and when this edition caught my eye on the shelf while doing some tidying I felt it was time for another reading. I'd love to record this to video someday, so I consider reading it aloud for my cat as rehearsal. Yeah.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Simply put, Mr. Carroll at his finest.
One of the greatest works of nonsense ever.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A nice bit of nonsense. Great illustrations by Mervyn Peake in this edition.
This review is not of The Hunting of the Snark as it was originally written by Lewis Carroll but rather of the 1962 edition of The Annotated Snark, which has an introduction and notes by Martin Gardner. The full title as it appears on the book jacket and on the title page is The Annotated Snark: The full text of Lewis Carroll's great nonsense epic The Hunting of the Snark and the original illustrations. The title page adds "by Henry Holiday." Both also state "With an introduction and notes by Ma ...more
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Victorians!: The Hunting of the Snark 5 48 Feb 25, 2018 12:55PM  
Lewis Carrol : The Hunting of the Snark 6 11 Dec 16, 2014 09:49AM  

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The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer.

His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky", all considered to be within the genre of literary nonsense.


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