The Hunting of the Snark, An Agony in Eight Fits - with - An Easter Greeting - Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], Henry Holiday (illustrator) 1876 - Macmillan and Co., London - First Edition, Presentation Binding one of 100 in red With the small four page pamphlet 'An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves Alice' dated Easter 1876, loosely inserted

‘Just the place for a Snark!’

A bright copy, and internally spotless –one of 100 in the deluxe presentation scarlet cloth binding, personally commissioned by Dodgson – of the author’s magnificent nonsense verse, the tale of the Bellman and his crew’s strange voyage in search of a Snark, and featuring an unlikely cast of characters drawn from his other works,
Jabberwocky and Through the Looking Glass Wonderfully illustrated with nine imaginative woodcuts by Henry Holiday.

‘The Hunting of the Snark is a poem over which an unstable, sensitive soul might very well go mad.’ - Martin Gardner, The Annotated Snark.
  Originally published in March 1876, in an edition of 10,000 copies issued in buff cloth illustrated and lettered in black. Dodgson commissioned a number of copies for special presentation, which were bound in gilt illustrated cloth of various colours: scarlet, light blue, dark blue, light green, dark green, and white. According to a letter Dodgson wrote to his publisher, Macmillan, he ordered ‘100 copies in red and gold, 20 in dark blue and gold, and 20 in white vellum and gold’, but other colours have been recorded including light blue, light green, and dark green.

Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), which he adopted when publishing his famous children’s novels and nonsense verse. The son of a Cheshire parson, Dodgson grew up in a large family which enjoyed composing magazines and putting on plays. In 1851, he went to Christ Church, Oxford. By 1855, he was a fellow (which necessitated celibacy), lecturing in mathematics. He occupied a tower in the college for the rest of his life. He wrote many books on mathematics and logic, and enjoyed inventing puzzles and games and playing croquet.

His love of paradox and nonsense and his fondness for small children led to the writing of
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), a story which he began while rowing Lorina, Alice, and Edith, the three small daughters of the College Dean H G Liddell, up the Thames for a picnic near Binsey. A sequel, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, appeared in 1871. Interviewed when she was old, Alice remembered him as tall and slender, with blue/grey eyes, longish hair, and ‘carrying himself upright, almost more than upright, as if he had swallowed a poker’. He published Phantasmagoria and Other Poems in 1869, The Hunting of the Snark in 1876 and Sylvie and Bruno in 1889.

Dodgson wrote and received ‘
wheelbarrows full’ of letters (a letter register he started in his late 20s and kept for the rest of his life records more than 98,000 sent and received). Many of these were on religious and political issues while others were full of light-hearted nonsense. He excelled in artfully staged photographs, many of children in costumes and others of friends, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He died, aged 65, of pneumonia.

Henry James Holiday (1839-1927) was a a painter, illustrator and stained glass artist born in London. ‘As an illustrator, Holiday’s fame rests on the drawings of for Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, 1876, which show a weird intensity of detail which is among the most disturbing aspects of Victorian literature.’

References: Williams, Madan, & Green,
The Lewis Carroll Handbook, 115. British Library. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Houfe, The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914, 342.

Duodecimo (12.8 x 19 cm). pp. xi [3] 83 [2] [1 (publisher’s advertisements)]. Original scarlet cloth, elaborately illustrated in gilt to covers, dark grey-green coated endpapers, all edges gilt. With small binder’s sticker ‘Bound by Burn & Co’ to rear endpaper (all copies of the presentation binding appear to have had this). Pamphlet (13.2 x 8.9 cm) four page, single fold on watermarked paper (showing the ‘E To’ and ‘F’ of ‘E. Towgood Fine’).
  Condition: Fine in very good cloth, darkened spine with wear to edges and ends, very light overall soiling. Pamphlet fine.   Ref: 109440   Price: HK$ 25,000