Friday, April 5, 2013

Shun a Colander, it's the Wok of Pottery!

Hollander's The Work of Poetry is definitely for a very specific sort of person. The sort who has read all of the "canonical" works of English literature from the 18th century onwards. Not being one of these people, I find myself lost and uncertain from time to time. He makes no concessions for people who aren't familiar with what he writes about - he just goes straight ahead and into his point.

Sometimes, in fact, he barrels onwards to such a degree that it seems like he never announced his point at all.

In the chapter dealing with Lewis Carroll and the nonsense romance, for example, he mentions the idea that The Hunting of the Snark is really about looking for the Absolute. But he never introduces this idea, never explicitly.

It's enough to make you feel like a frantic March Hare. Though sometimes curious points flash out from the hedge-thick text like Cheshire grins.


  1. Only *reading* the Snark may not have helped Hollander to get the full picture.

    Regards from Munich

    1. Hollander makes a brief mention of Tenniel's illustrations for 'Alice in Wonderland,' but says nothing about those for the Snark. Judging from those images behind the link, though, he may have indeed missed the full picture.

      Thanks for the link to your image comparisons, the idea that an 19th century artist would reference a 16th century one is fascinating.