Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits

Author: Lewis Carroll
Illustrator: Oleg Lipchenko
Poem Written: 1874
Edition with these Illustrations Published: 2012
Publisher: Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

The Story

The Hunting of the SnarkFrom the inside cover:

One of the most well-known creations by world-famous master of nonsense Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark is a poem whose meaning has proved as elusive as its mysterious character. Even Carroll confessed to not knowing who the Snark is or what the poem is about. But one things about this much-scrutinized work of literature is perfectly clear: this tale of high adventure and great wit is sure to delight readers of all ages.

Oleg Lipchenko’s spectacularly illustrated interpretation of this unabridged classic takes readers on a dream-like journey through Carroll’s nonsensical imagination. A fantastic gift book and collector’s edition, The Hunting of Snark is a volume that belongs in the library of every literary adventure.

The Response

I’m not one for poetry at the best of times. At the worst of times, I find it rather pretentious. But the fact that Lewis Carroll wrote this made me realize that this would not be the ordinary poetry that I am not too fond of. In fact, with Lewis Carroll as the writer, I knew I would be greeted with only the highest quality nonsense that one could hope to find in printed work anywhere. And this book certainly provided that.

This poem tells, as described by Sidney Williams and Falconer Madan in Handbook of the Literature of the Rev. C.L. Dodgson, “with infinite humour the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.” I don’t think there is a way that I could every possibly describe this better than that.

While the poem itself was truly a delight to read, I absolutely adored Lipchenko’s illustrations, and think that they added so much more to the poem. They are beautiful and evoke the nonsense and beauty and madness that Carroll’s poem brings to mind perfectly. And I could definitely spend much more time just exploring everything in the illustrations than I could with reading this poem.

This wouldn’t be up everyone’s alley. Anyone who has no time for nonsense wouldn’t enjoy this, but seeing as it’s always nice to have a quick escape for the serious logical world, I quite thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Bottom Line

I am definitely keeping a copy of this on the shelves, and will be revisiting it time and again, even if only to look at the lovely illustrations!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:57 am January 21, 2013.
Category: Children's Storybooks
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