The Hunting of the Snark, An Agony in Eight Fits - Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], Henry Holiday (illustrator) 1876 - Macmillan and Co., London - First Edition ‘Just the place for a Snark!’

A finely bound first edition 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.
  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 (binding size 18.3x12.3cm). pp. xi [3] 83 [2] [1 (publisher’s advertisements)] [2] [2] [2].
  Bound by Bayntun-Riviere in full red morocco, spine lettered in gilt, with single gilt filet panels, and spot tooling to raised bands, covers with gilt filet border, tooled edges and turn-ins, hand marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Original front and rear illustrated cloth covers bound in at rear.   Condition: Fine   Ref: 109879   Price: HK$ 6,000