Götz Kluge

Götz Kluge

Posted on 07/01/2013


Photo taken on February 27, 2013


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Thomas Cranmer's 42 Boxes

The Baker's 42 Boxes

The Baker's 42 Boxes 

(From Lewis Carroll's and Henry Holiday's The Hunting of the Snark, 1876)

· · · · 021 · · There was one who was famed for the number of things
· · · · 022 · · · · He forgot when he entered the ship:
· · · · 023 · · His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
· · · · 024 · · · · And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

· · · · 025 · · He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
· · · · 026 · · · · With his name painted clearly on each:
· · · · 027 · · But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
· · · · 028 · · · · They were all left behind on the beach.

· · · · 029 · · The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
· · · · 030 · · · · He had seven coats on when he came,
· · · · 031 · · With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was,
· · · · 032 · · · · He had wholly forgotten his name.

· · · · 033 · · He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
· · · · 034 · · · · Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
· · · · 035 · · To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
· · · · 036 · · · · But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

· · · · 037 · · While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
· · · · 038 · · · · He had different names from these:
· · · · 039 · · His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
· · · · 040 · · · · And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

· · · · 041 · · "His form is ungainly--his intellect small--"
· · · · 042 · · · · (So the Bellman would often remark)
· · · · 043 · · "But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
· · · · 044 · · · · Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

· · · · 045 · · He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare
· · · · 046 · · · · With an impudent wag of the head:
· · · · 047 · · And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
· · · · 048 · · · · "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

· · · · 049 · · He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
· · · · 050 · · · · And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
· · · · 051 · · He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
· · · · 052 · · · · No materials were to be had.

My assumption is, that in Carroll's ballad the Baker does not stand for a single person. Rather, he represents curageous (and - once the intellect is small but the courage is perfect - often uncautious) searchers of truth. Put more simply: The baker represents an attitude (or a set of attitudes), e.g. the attitudes of a Corbinian or a Thomas Cranmer, a key figure in the history of the reformation in Europe.

2013-02-02: In Carroll's description of the Baker (see parts printed in boldface), there may be some allusions to someone who got burned. As for "Bridecake", Thomas Cranmer also was (along with Thomas Cromwell) quite a bit involved in the weddings (and divorces) of Henry VIII. The forty-two boxes carried the Baker's name as clearly, as the Anglican Forty-Two Articles are associated with Thomas Cranmer. Here both, the Baker and Cranmer, stand for quite ambivalent heroes. Carroll (Rev. Dodgson) did not subscribe to the later Thirty-Nine Articles.

By the way: Lewis Carroll didn't explain what the number 42 could "mean". And Douglas Adams insisted on having chosen the number 42 arbitrarily.

See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corbinian#Corbinian.27s_Bear

Comments
Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge
Source:
h30

One of Henry Holiday's sources?
42 Boxes meet the Iconoclasts

More on the 42 Articles:
Thomas Cranmer's 42 Boxes
4 years ago. Edited 3 years ago.