Götz Kluge

Götz Kluge

Posted on 06/22/2013

Photo taken on June 18, 2010

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The Butcher and Benjamin Jowett

The Butcher and Benjamin Jowett
053· · The last of the crew needs especial remark,
054· · · · Though he looked an incredible dunce:
055· · He had just one idea--but, that one being "Snark,"
056· · · · The good Bellman engaged him at once.

· · · · · · · · · · · · (Lewis Carroll, from The Hunting of the Snark, 1876)

· · · · · · Need I rehearse the history of Jowett?
· · · · · · I need not, Senior Censor, for you know it.
· · · · · · That was the Board Hebdomadal, and oh!
· · · · · · Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow!

· · · · · · · · · · · · (Lewis Carroll, from Notes by an Oxford chiel, 1874)

Here the Butcher's face could be an allusion to Benjamin Jowett's face. Jowett was an Oxford contemporary of Lewis Carroll.

Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge
There also may be allusions to Benjamin Jowett in the Jabberwocky:

"[... the Jabberwocky] has also been interpreted as a parody of contemporary Oxford scholarship and specifically the story of how Benjamin Jowett, the notoriously agnostic Professor of Greek at Oxford, and Master of Balliol, came to sign the Thirty-Nine Articles, as an Anglican statement of faith, to save his job. [...]"
(Stephen Prickett (2005): Victorian Fantasy, Baylor University Press p113 ISBN 1-932792-30-9)

The Jabberwocky

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

You can read anything from that. I guess, that the Revernd Dodgson knew that.
5 years ago. Edited 3 years ago.
Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge
In contrary to Jowett, Dodgson didn't sign the Thirty-Nine Articles. I think, that in the Snark, Carroll/Dodgson and Holiday also addressed the Forty-Two Articles and anything else, you may think of - and what you think he may have thought of. That was his way to have fun with you (and me). It can be maddening:
After my Butcher/Jowett comparison I run into a page published by Art Neuendorffer. He discovered a resemblance between Henry Holiday's depiction of The Butcher in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark and Alfred E. Neuman. Neuendorffer wrote: "When Mad Magazine was sued for copyright infringement, one defense it used was that it had copied the picture from materials dating back to 1911." Incidentially, my first copy of the The Hunting of the Snark was an American edition published in 1911.

Did Henry Holiday's depiction of The Butcher serve as an inspiration to the creators of Alfred E. Neuman? Then Benjamin Jowett could be Neuman's Grandfather ;-). It is quite normal to look for examples and existing works of art when searching for inspiration for a new magazine. There are lots of pictorial allusions in Henry Holiday's Snark illustrations. Art inspires art.
3 years ago. Edited 3 years ago.