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The Hunting of the Snark : An Agony in Eight Fits (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140434917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140434910
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,651,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Hunting Of The Snark
The Hunting Of The Snark: Dedication
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

About the Author

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a man of diverse interests - in mathematics, logic, photgraphy, art, theater, religion, medicine, and science. He was happiest in the company of children for whom he created puzzles, clever games, and charming letters.

As all Carroll admirers know, his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), became an immediate success and has since been translated into more than eighty languages. The equally popular sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, was published in 1872.

The Alice books are but one example of his wide ranging authorship. The Hunting of the Snark, a classic nonsense epic (1876) and Euclid and His Modern Rivals, a rare example of humorous work concerning mathematics, still entice and intrigue today's students. Sylvie and Bruno, published toward the end of his life contains startling ideas including an 1889 description of weightlessness.

The humor, sparkling wit and genius of this Victorian Englishman have lasted for more than a century. His books are among the most quoted works in the English language, and his influence (with that of his illustrator, Sir John Tenniel) can be seen everywhere, from the world of advertising to that of atomic physics.


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Customer Reviews

It makes a fun read!
J. Zartman
I have always loved Lewis Carroll's nonsense, both the prose and the poetry and The Hunting of the Snark is one of the best long nonsense poems there is.
I loved it and suggest all Lewis Carroll fans read it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of Lewis Carroll, but somehow was unaware of the existence of an edition of "The Hunting of the Snark" with annotations. As someone who tremendously enjoys Martin Gardner's "Annotated Alice," I heartily recommend this book to like-minded readers. Gardner's annotations and introduction set the stage for the reader, putting the composition of the poem in its proper context in Victorian England, and in Lewis Carroll's life. And as with "Annotated Alice" the annotations are fascinating and amusing in their own right. "The Hunting of the Snark" is one of Carroll's lesser-appreciated (or at least lesser-known) works, and this paperback is an excellent introduction.
I noticed some confusion in the Amazon listings for this book, so let me clarify that the edition with Gardner's annotations is the paperback, and for illustrations it contains reproductions of Henry Holiday's original woodcuts from the 1800's. There are only eight pictures, and these are in old-fashioned style which may turn off some modern readers. This edition does not contain the illustrations - listed in the review of the hardcover editions - by Jonathan Dixon, nor the illustrations by Mervyn Peake also listed as available in hardcover from Amazon.
To Snark fans, though, I would unhesitatingly recommend both those editions as well. Dixon's is little-known, but excellent, the most profusely illustrated Snark, with pictures on every page in lush, gorgeously detailed and humorous pen and ink. It may still be available through the website of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, who published it in a small edition. Peake's drawings are also in beautiful black and white, and capture his own rather dark, quirky "Gormenghast" take on the poem. (A good companion, too, to the recently released editions of "Alice" with Peake's drawings.)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By cameron-vale on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This edition of Lewis Carroll's hilarious and haunting nonsense poem was originally published as THE ANNOTATED SNARK in 1962. Featuring Henry Holiday's original 1876 illustrations and a plethora of critical supplementary material, this is certainly the best edition of the poem currently available. Martin Gardner, who is perhaps best known for his ANNOTATED ALICE books, provides copious informative notes, many of them intended tongue in cheek, that explicate the myriad mysteries of Carroll's enigmatic sea voyage. Particularly noteworthy is Gardner's inclusion, as an appendix, of A COMMENTARY ON THE SNARK, a wonderfully loony "explanatory" essay by one Snarkophilus Snobbs that manages to brilliantly parody and demolish any attempt to provide solemn scholarly commentary on Carroll's silly but strangely disturbing work. Nonetheless, in his introduction, Gardner takes the time to offer brief descriptions of some of the more notable serious attempts to "force the whole of the SNARK into one overall metaphorical pattern." We'll never know exactly what was going through Carroll's mind when he created this epic journey--especially since the author himself claimed that the poem was devoid of any meaning--but the many efforts to explain it away are often ingenious and entertaining.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
One of the most unusual poems ever written, "The Hunting of the Snark" is the uncontested masterpiece of nonsense verse. The verbal richness and flexibility of the English language are exploited to the utmost in this riotously funny, formally perfect, and delightfully absurd narrative poem about a strange assortment of characters out to hunt a fearsome creature known, among other things, for its habit of getting up so late that it breakfasts af five-o'clock tea and dines on the following day. No review can do justice to a work as original and extraordinary as this one, written more than a century ago to entertain Victorian children, but read now mostly by grownups. This is the very pinnacle of British humor, soaring far above even Monty Python's most inspired moments.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on August 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Lewis Carroll is brilliant in this piece. First of all the poetical music is perfect, absolutely perfect, and yet the words don't mean much. Many of these words are not even to be found in any dictionary. Be it only for the music, this piece is astonishingly good. But the piece has a meaning. I will not enter the numerical value of the numbers used in the poem : 3, 42, 6, 7, 20, 10, 992, 8, and I am inclined to say etc because some are more or less hidden here and there in the lines. Hunting for these numbers is like hunting for the snark, an illusion. But the general meaning of the poem is a great allegory to social and political life. A society, any society gives itself an aim, a target, a purpose and everyone is running after it without even knowing what it is. What is important in society is not what you are running after or striving for, but only the running and the striving. Lewis Carroll is thus extremely modern in this total lack of illusions about society, social life and politics : just wave a flag of any kind, or anything that can be used as a flag and can be waved, in front of the noses of people and they will run after it or run in the direction it indicates. They love roadsigns and social life is a set of roadsigns telling you where to go. Everyone goes there, except of course the roadsigns themselves who never go in the direction they indicate. Lewis Carroll is thus the first post-modern poet of the twenty-first century. He just lived a little bit too early.
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